There are many small public gardens, green spaces and parks located throughout the Chautauqua Institution Grounds. We encourage you to visit these gardens as well as the lake shore and its many new ecologically sustainable changes that the institution has made to the shoreline landscape. The gardens listed below are numbered on the map. Here are a few of the highlights:

  1. THE ABORETUM – Established in 1915, it includes a wide species of trees with identification signs.  Of note, the birdbath was donated by Thomas and Mina Edison.
  2. BUTTERFLY GARDEN – Located near the South Gate it features perennials and annuals known to attract butterflies.  Even the tree boarder behind the garden allows for a complete habitat for the various stages of butterfly development.
  3. CLSC ALUMNI PERENNIAL GARDEN – Sun loving flowers like Bee Balm, Irises, Day lilies and shade loving ferns and Rhododendrons flourish behind the building and to the Cookman street side. 
  4. WISSEL GARDEN – Located next to the Youth Activity Center with a lovely view of the lake, this area is full of native sun loving plants, flowers and grasses.
  5. OLIVER ARCHIVES – Viewed from the Massey avenue side this is a lovely sitting garden.  From the South parking lot behind the building you realize the garden duplicates as a green rooftop.  The plaque in front explains the design of this eco-friendly landscape.
  6. BISHOP’S GARDEN –  Situated on the original site of the tent platform home of Bishop John Heil Vincent, one of the cofounders of the Institution, this space is a hedge enclosed two level garden with fountain.
  7. PECK AVE RAIN GARDEN – is a storm water retention site to “catch” the rapidly descending water from storms and filter the sediments out before entering the lake.  The plants are chosen for their ability to absorb nutrients and pollutants quickly making cleaner water drain into the lake. 
  8. SMITH WILKES HALL – Gardens surround this 1924 lecture hall.  The small covered amphitheater is the home of the Chautauqua Bird, Tree and Garden Club. The bat sculpture was placed in the Night Garden in honor of Francesca Goodell Rappole who was a long time BTG president and supporter of preserving bat habitat.
  9. CARNAHAN JACKSON – is a garden of conifers, evergreens, and Japanese Maples planted in an Asian-influenced design surrounding a small decorative bridge.
  10. ROBLEE GARDEN – is located behind the Smith Memorial Library. A large Japanese Maple, Mountain Laurel, and Junipers can be found here as well as potted annuals. 
  11. DISCOVERY GARDEN –  features the four quadrants of landscaped trees and shrubs symbolic of the “four pillars” of Chautauqua: Education, Religion, Recreation and Art.
  12. MELVIN JOHNSON SCULPTURE GARDEN – is located directly behind the Strohl Art Gallery. This garden incorporates sculptures and installations by several contemporary artists on a rotating basis each summer. 
  13. RYAN KIBLIN STORM WATER MANAGEMENT PARK – Ms. Kiblin served as the Supervisor of Chautauqua’s Grounds, Gardens and Landscaping.  With the overall goal of improving the health of the environment and condition of the lake, this landscaped area was designed and built under her supervision up until her untimely death in 2014.  Please see the plaque posted to explain the reasoning behind the plants, structures, and porous surface paths that promote management of storm water.
  14. FLETCHER HALL RAIN GARDEN – was designed by landscape architect Dean Gowen. His work incorporates the use of the rooftop water runoff from the recital hall and the water running through the porous pavement to feed the surrounding plantings.  Please see the entrance plaque for further description of the rain garden special features.  
  15. PENNY’S GARDEN – Rebecca Penny who was the long-time head of the Piano Department dedicated this aromatic Rose garden to her parents. 
  16. CAMPBELL GARDEN –  Established in 1990, the late Mrs. Campbell’s private garden has formal perennial beds enclosed by hedges of Lilac and Winterberry with a field stone entrance. The upper shade garden features a Lily pond and vintage Rhododendrons. Both areas are now open to the public.