Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rose-Colored Glasses

The past week or so, I've been rushing back and forth to Hartford a lot. I took a minute out of my rushing to stop at the Elizabeth Park rose garden, the oldest municipally operated rose garden in America. It has over 800 varieties of roses, and it's part of a national program in which new roses are tested in select gardens before they go public. (Who knew?)

I'm not exactly a rose person, though I do like them. I'm more of a wildflower girl, I guess. But this rose garden pleases me, and not just because it's so pretty. I have a fondness for places with bad reputations. I lived in New York back when people still thought New York was scary. I lived in St. Louis when it was named "most dangerous U.S. city." Depending on how long a stint counts as "living," I lived in Israel once. In Connecticut, I've lived in Putnam, which is the butt of many jokes, and New London, which most people have heard of because it's the place that made the Supreme Court decide it's OK to just up and take your house for no good reason. I loved them all.

One perk of loving reputation-challenged places like that is bringing people there to see their reactions when they discover that the bad press is wildly exaggerated. That's what I kept thinking of in the rose garden: dropping someone in it from above and then telling them, five minutes later, "This is Hartford!"

By the way, Elizabeth Park is named after Elizabeth Pond, wife of 19th century super rich guy Charles M. Pond, whose land this was before he died and left it to the city. Because that's what super rich people did, once. (Super rich people of today, are you taking notes?)


  1. Elizabeth Park does have a wildflower field, but it's more of an observe-from-afar than examine-up-close thing. Hard to explain exact location. (I also prefer wild flowers to roses)

  2. Reading that you "have a fondness for places with bad reputations" immediately after you talk about Elizabeth Park's rose gardens nearly drove me through the ceiling. Elizabeth Park is universally loved! People from all around the region, from all socioeconomic levels and all backgrounds, stream in to enjoy the beauty of the park in just about every season. Be careful when you talk about my favorite park!

  3. I believe Johhna was talking about Hartford as a whole not Elizabeth Park. Elizabeth park is beautiful and well maintained. Other parts of Hartford not so much... It is not a fraghtening city in the least but does have a reputation of being one.

  4. I apologise for misspelling your name.



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