Saturday, July 25, 2015

All ready for America's largest garden tour...

The best Garden Walk ever? We think so, but we're extremely biased. This was the "above-the-fold" banner on the front page of the Buffalo News when I woke up yesterday. Always the start of a good weekend.  

And to the right here was the Home & Style section. Have to thank the Susan Martin/Sally Cunningham duo to give garden tour coverage its due.  

I was then off for a 6:00 a.m. live TV segment on the local NBC affiliate with Channel 7 WKBW weatherman Andy Parker. At the same time, Garden Walk Buffalo Chair, Cindy Loomis, was on WIVB's News 4 Wake-Up morning show. After my segments, it was off for a radio interview with WECK's Tom Donahue.

Then, home to do more Garden Walk Buffalo Facebook posts, a client meeting then helping set up our three headquarters. I'm tired.

But, the garden is ready for around 3,000 visitors today. Well, as ready as it's gonna' get anyway. In total we'll have around 70,000 visitors. And Andy Parker said the weather will be good – hot. Maybe even the hottest its been in two years.
Last year's project, the hanging garden is looking good.
Sorry for the poor lighting. The front garden has never looked better.

The Shrieking Shack is not finished but is ready for photos.
The deck is good to go.
Still have to sweep some sand into the marble carpet.
And we added a new fence this week!
It gives the entire back yard a new look.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Shrieking Shack update

Lots of progress cladding the exterior this weekend, got more windows hung. Still more shingles to add at the top of the one side, but have to buy a vent first. Once that's done, then I can start the window and door trim.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Shedding summer

My shedding summer is amped up these last few weekends before Garden Walk Buffalo. My plan is to have the shed as finished as possible before Garden Walk (in two weeks, July 25 and 26). Here is the progress so far on, what is now dubbed, Taj MaShed.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Shedding in the garden

The Harry Potter Garden will go back in the diamond-shaped areas at the base of the shed you see in the photo.
Finally a productive weekend working on the potting shed. After a weekend in Toronto visiting gardens for three days straight (which I wouldn't have missed for anything) and a trip "home" to Binghamton, NY (about 3.5 hours from Buffalo) to visit with my Alzheimer's-afflicted mom, it was finally Jim time – a two-day weekend to work on the shed, and a few other smaller projects in the garden. And of course, a garden dinner party with good friends!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

An urbane urban garden

Urbane, suave, sophisticated, refined, curated, cosmopolitan. If I had to start all over again with my own garden, I might go more in this direction. People might start to think I was all of those things, being the least suave person I know, I could use the PR bump. Of all the gardens we saw during the Garden Bloggers Fling in Toronto earlier in the month, this is the garden looked as though it would fit me well, being suave and all that.

Don't get me wrong – we saw tiny urban gardens (much like many of Buffalo's gardens), historical landscapes, woodland savannahs being restored, plant collector's gardens, a roof garden, a peony garden in a park, a garden geared toward wildlife, gardens in a reclaimed industrial site, and a jewel of a botanical garden – all great gardens – but this garden on a good-sized city lot in the Forest Hills neighborhood fed the designer inside of me.

The first thing to strike me was the clever rebar "fence" in the very front of the garden – enough to not hide a single plant – but enough to keep dogs out of the fern-heavy woodland garden that had birch trees set back a bit, and a stand of pines, providing privacy to the living portion of the garden – which is actually the front yard of the home.

Friday, June 12, 2015

I never met a heuchera I didn't like

All these were taken in my garden today. It's a good day. Heuchera (coral bells) have become my go-to-plant-to-visit at any garden nursery. They come in such great colors, textures, sheen, leaf shape, size, and work in a garden bed or planters. There is nothing a good heuchera cannot do.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Katy Moss Warner and Disney, Garden Tourism Part VI

My favorite talk of the International Garden Tourism Network's North American Conference was by Katy Moss Warner. Her talk was titled, Making a Difference with the Disney Garden Experience.

No slides, but she kept us captivated!
I told her later that I could have
listened to her all day!
But the talk, to me anyway, was more about creating legitimacy and relevance for garden tourism experiences – especially in the realm of tourism where horticultural events, activities, and features were either considered a "side" attraction, or not considered at all.

She had no slides to show, hence all I have to show is the one bad photo I took from my seat. What she did have to tell was stories. Great ones. The rest of the photos you see here I took during different trips to Disney World over the years.

She was Director of Disney's Horticulture and Environmental Initiatives at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. With a team of nearly 700, she was responsible for the landscapes of four parks, 15 resorts and more than 70 miles of roads on the 30,000-acre property.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Harry Potting Shed progress...

The potting shed was started in earnest this past weekend. It's the largest puzzle I've ever constructed. First was the previous weekend, preparing the base – digging, adding "base" gravel, placing a pallet and a half of 16" square pavers and leveling with sand, then sweeping sand into cracks. Then watering to help sink the sand into the cracks. Then more sweeping. And wetting. And sweeping. And wetting....
Anxiety. Will it come together correctly? Math's never been my
strong suit, and there is a lot of math here. I spent more time
staring at it than I did assembling.
This past weekend was construction. First a base of pressure treated wood, then one side at a time. Measuring, cutting, measuring, cutting hammering, measuring cutting and hammering. Three days of it with intermittent trips to Home Depot for supplies.

I was able to get the whole thing framed, and then half of it walled up. This weekend I'll finish the walling and start the roof. Its looking much larger than I had thought it would. It's 8'x12'. God only knows how tall it will be.

I've built this 1,000 times in my head, so I didn't have an actual drawn-out plan to refer to – which amazes and infuriates my wife. Of course that also leads to the aforementioned extra trips to Home Depot when I run out of lumber. Or nails.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

May days around the spread

The wisteria is VERY happy this year.
Haven't done all the planting for the summer yet (boxes, baskets, and pots). It's too early. It's back down into the 30s and 40s at night – and we turned the heat back on today! But here are visuals of things happening around the garden this spring already.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hokkaido Gardens, Japan, Garden Tourism Part V

One of my favorite presentations at the North American Garden Tourism Conference in Toronto was by landscape designer Takano Fumiaki. His topic was Making a Garden Tourism Difference in Japan, specifically focusing on the Hokkaido Garden Show. He not only wowed me, but from the audience's reaction to his projects and the projects of local collaborators, he wowed all. If one would ever consider giving a standing ovation to a garden tourism presentation - this would have been the one. Pity the fool that had to present after Takano.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Top Ten North American Gardens Worth Traveling For, Garden Tourism Conference, Part IV

Vallarta Botanical Gardens in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Each year, in the spirit of highlighting North America’s most dynamic garden experiences and garden tourism’s potential, the International Garden Tourism Network's North American Conference determines a list of the Top Ten North American Gardens Worth Traveling For. This year was no exception. Tourism is the world’s fourth largest industry – and garden tourism is a significant part of it.
The awards are presented to gardens that have distinguished themselves in the development and promotion of the garden experience as a tourism attraction. To view past winners, visit and click on the ‘media’ tab.
 I've been to only two of these gardens. How many have you been to?
2015 Winners, listed alphabetically:

Friday, May 8, 2015

It must be spring, prom flowers have popped up

The tulips are coming up, and the front bed – which I haven't added any bulbs to in years – still looks good. Many of these came straight from Holland. But the most important flowers of the season came from a teenage boy.

My daughter was asked to the junior prom with a dozen cream roses with red edges. The flowers came with a baseball that read, "I usually strike out the batter, but I hope I don't strike out asking you to the prom."

And the card with the flowers read, "Please return the baseball with your written response."

She threw him a wadded up piece of paper that said, "Yes!" She's keeping the baseball. It's a first "date" though they've been friends for years. We believe they're just going as friends, but clever use of flowers for an invite invites some speculation. We give the boy points for creativity.

So as much as we enjoy the spring flowers popping up in the front yard, the most memorable of the season are the dozen inside.


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