Article by contributor Bernadette Dostaler
Late June brings perfect New England early summer weather to Connecticut. The sun is strong, skies are blue with puffy clouds. June’s full moon is called the strawberry moon or the rose moon with good reason.
We spent a sunny June day strawberry picking in the morning at Rose’s Berry Farm in Glastonbury and the afternoon at the stunning Elizabeth Park Rose Garden in Hartford.
Rose’s Berry Farm was easy to navigate. We picked strawberries at the Hebron Avenue location. Parking is located in the fields next to a white tent. Customers chose a box size and pre-pay for their strawberries. We filled our box with about 12 pounds of bright red, sweet strawberries in about 30 to 45 minutes. The strawberries were excellent for dipping in chocolate!
The next stop was Elizabeth Park, the oldest municipal rose garden in the United States, and the third-largest rose garden in the country, with over 15,000 rose bushes. The park is on the National Register of Historic Places. In the 1890s, Charles Murray Pond, treasurer of the Hartford-New Haven railroad, and a Senator in the state legislature and Connecticut State Treasurer bequeathed his estate, Prospect Hill, to the city of Hartford to be used as a public park in memory of his beloved wife, Elizabeth Pond. The estate already had gardens, but in 1904 Theodore Wirth, park superintendent, laid out one of the garden’s most famous features, large curved arbors laid out in a geometric pattern, covered with climbing roses that created a formal rose garden.
Elizabeth Park also features many varieties of trees, tennis courts, outdoor concerts, plant sales, and many other events. It is a favorite location for wedding ceremonies.
In addition to the rose garden, there is a perennial garden and a cool and shady rock garden. A favorite is the American flag bed, a flat flower bed laid out to bloom as an American flag. Dining options at the park include the Pond House Cafe and the informal Snack Shack.