Gilding the Lily

by Mark Stash

It is getting to be that time of year again. ‘Tis the season for more outdoor activities and enjoying the warmer weather that makes the Finger Lakes Region one of the best around. The flowers are popping, the grass is green and the blue skies are becoming more frequent. As I write this I am experiencing a monsoon-like day in April, with the cold rain coming down and the wind blowing. But I keep in mind, April showers give us May flowers.

Speaking of flowers, this issue abounds in the beauty of those delightful plants. They represent rebirth and beauty and bring joy to all of us. Right off the bat, the cover of this issue showcases the flowers that Jenny Marks grows, a cut flower farmer in the Clifton Springs. Trademarks Flower Farm grows specialty rare and heirloom flowers that aren’t commonly seen in floral outlets. Jenny is filling a niche that is going well for her business. Read more about this amazing flower farm on page 92.

Lauren Chamberlain is a Keuka College student that has been contributing to this magazine for almost a year. While enjoying her summer vacations, she also worked part-time at Genrich Garden Center in Irondequoit. The business has been a local fixture since the 1960s, and family members Deborah and Stephanie have since taken over the business and it is flourishing, along with their plants and flowers and flower arrangements. Lauren tells us more about this garden center starting on page 20.

Did you ever take a walk along a path or a woodland and see plants that make you wonder if they’re edible? Illustrator and nature-lover Corinn Marriott showcases various plants on page 54 that certainly can be edible. Her incredible detailed illustrations showcase a variety of mushrooms, wildflowers and ephemerals (a plant with a very short life cycle or very short period of active growth) that may become part of your next meal. And if you do take this step, please be extra careful and double-check against other plant field guides. And don’t forget to forage responsibly. Exploring on private property without permission is a no go.

You may be asking, what else is there to do besides communing with nature through plants and flowers? Well, writer and photographer Derek Doeffinger has the perfect solution (page 48), especially when looking for things to do with out-of-towners visiting you. Cruising the rivers, canals and lakes in a boat can be the perfect solution. Experiencing Seneca Lake in a two-masted sailboat may be your cup of tea or cruising along the Erie Canal in a packet boat may also sound appealing. Many of the larger boats also serve food and drinks on some of their cruises, and usually there is some kind of history lesson being presented by crew members while plying the Finger Lakes waters. I can say from experience that when I have visitors from outside the region, going on a boat cruise is a huge hit. And afterwards, visiting a local eatery, craft brewery, winery or shop can be the perfect ending to the day.

I continue to be blown away by what the Finger Lakes Region has to offer. The variety of interests that one can experience here is almost endless. I look forward to seeing out there, enjoying this special area.

E-mail Mark with questions or comments at

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