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Obituary of George H. Ellwanger

July 24, 2009

Gardening Header George H Ellwanger


Geo. Herman Ellwanger, of the well- known firm of Ellwanger & Barry, Rochester, N. Y., died April 23 at his home, 593 Mount Hope avenue, after an illness of several months. The immediate cause of death was paralysis of the heart. Mr. Ellwanger, who was an occasional contributor to our columns, was born in Rochester, July 10, 1848, and was the son of Geo. Ellwanger and Cornelia Brooks Ellwanger. The following notes on his career appeared in our issue of August 16, 1902:

“Few books have done as much to promote a knowledge and love of horticulture as the ‘Garden’s Story/ by George H. Ellwanger; and no book, it has been justly said, has taught its lesson so delightfully. With good reason, in that the author has brought to his subject a long and practical experience, a fine and cultivated taste and the pen of a ready writer. Mr. Ellwanger is the eldest son of George Ellwanger, the veteran and venerable horticulturist and founder of the Mount Hope Nurseries. He was born in Rochester, N. Y., and finished his education by a five years’ course of study and travel in Europe. He thus became an easy master of French and German, and so can turn his command of those languages to good account and keep in ready touch with all the foreign periodicals and literature on floriculture and arboriculture. Many friendships and intimacies were formed at this time and in later visits to Europe, with such distinguished men as William Robinson, George Nicholson, Andre Leroy, Reynolds Hole and others, whom simply to have known argues a liberal education in the matter of roses and hardy flowers and every tree and shrub that blooms and grows. 

The Late George H Ellwanger

The Late George H Ellwanger

But aside from his technical and scholarly knowledge in this especial field, Mr. Ellwanger has loved to dig and delve and prune for himself, and to know intimately and as personal friends the daffodil and rose, the paeonia and phlox and every ornamental bush and shrub that serves to make the spring and summer glorious. He has said that every tree has its individuality as marked as the eyes or nose of a man, and it is this human sympathy with his impersonal friends among the trees and flowers, which has made the ‘Garden’s Story’ and his other volumes on nature so readable and helpful. The ‘Story of My House’ followed the ‘Garden’s Story’ as a graceful companion piece, and Mr. Ellwanger has published in quick succession ‘In Gold and Silver,’ ‘Idyllists of the Country Side,’ ‘An Introduction to White’s Natural History of Selborne,’ a new and revised edition of ‘The Rose,’ by H. B. Ellwanger, an anthology entitled ‘Love’s Demesne,’ and other works . In the meanwhile, too, he has found time to contribute articles on flowers or fruit to various garden journals. As a writer within these lines his characteristics are his catholicity, his graceful versatility and the assured knowledge where- from he speaks.

“Mr. Ellwanger is a director and secretary of the Ellwanger & Barry Co., and also director and secretary of the Ellwanger & Barry Realty Co. He is a member of the Author’s club, of New York, of the Pundit dub, of Rochester, the oldest literary club in America; and is an honorary member of the National Rose Society of England. All lovers of the queen of flowers will be glad to learn that he has promised for early publication a new. revised and fuller edition of ‘The Rose,’ by his brother, the late H. B. Ellwanger, the American standard of authority on that flower.

“That George H. Ellwanger will succeed to the high honors of his distinguished father, George Ellwanger, the pioneer of American horticulturists and pomologists, would seem predestined by stronger laws than those of mere inheritance. Yet happily George Ellwanger is still with us, enjoying a ripe old age of almost four score years and ten.”


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