A stroll through Marcellus' Sycamore Hill Gardens

Sycamore Hill Gardens in Marcellus is filled with beauty, from blooming summer flowers to the weeping spruce trees that spot the many gardens on the grounds.

Named for a 300-year-old tree towering over Karen and George Hanford's home on Old Seneca Turnpike, the gardens are only open to the public a couple times a year for non-profit organizations to hold fundraisers.

Added this year is an autumn garden tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 21 to benefit St. Camillus Foundation, the fundraising arm of St. Camillus Health and Rehabilitation Center located in the town of Geddes. This is the first year St. Camillus will be hosting a fundraiser at Sycamore Hill Gardens. For the last several years, Baltimore Woods Nature Center has been holding a Mother's Day event at the gardens.

"We're just beginning our history. The connection there is I serve on the St. Camillus Foundation board," said Karen Hanford. "When I first joined the board I said it would be great to do a fundraiser."

St. Camillus Health and Rehabilitation Center offers an array of services. The 290-bed inpatient center has a 20-bed brain injury unit and is the only one of its kind in Central New York, said St. Camillus Foundation President Linda Dombrow. It also has a 40-patient sub-acute rehab unit for orthopedic patients being intense rehabilitation following surgery or a fall. St. Camillus also operates a certified home health care agency and an adult day care program.

With all that is done at St. Camillus and with growing outpatient services, the fundraiser will aid in the purchase of equipment and the construction of a new addition to the facility.

Like St. Camillus, Sycamore Hill Gardens also continues to see additions. What started as a hobby for the Hanford's 16 years ago -- planting a couple of trees and shrubs -- has turned into 30 acres of gardens, ponds and tributes to nature and culture.

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