Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Garden Tourism Conference, Who was there, Part III



My fellow panel participants (left to right) Kathy Gilber of Vancouver's Sun Yet Sen Classical Chinese Garden, me from the Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara, Dr. Heike Platter from Italy's Gardens at Troutmansdorff Castle, Beth Monroe from Virginia's Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, and moderator Abbey Spencer of the American Public Gardens Association. I wasn't as scared as I look.
Not only were the speakers at the North American Garden Tourism Conference people doing great things in horticultural tourism, but so were the audience members.
Italy's Dr. Heike Platter

I sat next to my friend Heike Platter, Director of Marketing & Corporate Strategy for Italy's Gardens at Trauttsmandorff Castle. I've visited her garden in Northern Italy before. She introduced me to our other seatmate, Luc Behar Bannelier, the landscape designer in charge of all of Disneyland Paris. I was just in Paris a week earlier and my daughter brought up going to Disneyland Paris. We were there to see Paris, so it was a non-starter. But next trip, we may take up Luc's offer of a guided landscape tour. I was also able to meet Luc's former boss at Disney World, Katy Moss Warner.
 America in Bloom's
Katy Moss Warner

Katy is retired from Disney World, after having worked there for decades. She was the developer of the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. Now Katy is a Vice President and City Judge for America in Bloom, as well as President Emeritus of the American Horticultural Society. I could have listened to her talk all day long. I'll do a post on her talk at some point soon.
Japan's Takano Fumiaki

I got to meet Laura Palmer (no, not the one from Twin Peaks), the organizer of the Garden Conservancy's Open Gardens Program. After admitting I've been stealing ideas liberally from their Open Garden program for our own local Open Gardens program. She was glad to hear it and we plan to talk more in the future. I'd love to get some of our premier gardens in Buffalo Niagara on their nation-wide Open Gardens.
Toronto's Harry Jongerden

I talked briefly to Harry Jongerden, director of the Toronto Botanical Gardens. I wanted to introduce myself because I'll be visiting the gardens in early June when I attend the Garden Bloggers Fling in Toronto. Harry's got some BIG expansion plans for the Toronto Botanical gardens he shared with the crowd. I met others from the Botanical Gardens and may look at opportunities get our organizations in front of each others' audiences.
Virginia's Beth Monroe

Dinner was with Michel Gauthier, the organizer of the conference; Casey Sclar, Executive Director of the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) who was also a conference sponsor and moderator; Abby Spencer, also from the APGA; Beth Monroe of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden; Jonathan Kavalier, Supervisory Horticulturist at Smithsonian Institution; Hyashi Katsuhiko from the Tokachi Millennium Forest; and the amazing internationally renowned landscape architect Takano Fumiaki, of Takano Landscape Planning, who is doing spectacular job of creating, encouraging, and curating many tourist-worthy gardens in Hokkaido, Japan.
Mexico's Jesus Reyes

I did meet, ever so briefly, Jesus Reyes of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - mostly because I was going to be visiting Puerto Vallarta just three weeks later. Turns out he wasn't going to be in Mexico, but in Europe at that time, but I was able to get to the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens and will do a post on that beautiful and innovative garden soon.

I was able to reconnect with fellow garden blogger, Canadian Lorraine Flanigan, who gave an excellent presentation on how botanical gardens and parks (or any organization for that matter) can better position themselves to gain the serious attention of journalists to help get their stories out.
Misplaced Brit,
American Richard Benfield

I spent some time with Richard Benfield, keynote speaker, author of the book Garden Tourism, and Chair of the International Garden Tourism Network. Out of everyone, I know Richard best so I tried to force myself to meet others as much as possible.

In addition to all these fine folks, there were many others I met but was not able to strike up a conversation. Dozens in fact. I do hope I get a chance to visit the conference to see these people again (and visit some of their gardens!) in the future.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Garden Tourism Conference, Longwood Gardens, Part II

As opposed to the detail of the previous post, I have here, and going forward, just some thoughts from different presenters from the North American Garden Tourism Conference held in Toronto last month. As opposed to going over every presentation, I'll keep it to presentations that relate somehow to my group, Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara, and lessons it can take away from the Conference.

Longwood gardens is already known for its beauty,
but does not rest on that alone to draw tourists (and their dollars!).
First presentation, after the keynote speaker, was How Longwood Gardens is Making a Tourism Difference by Paul Redman, Executive Director of Pennsylvania's Longwood Gardens. They have about 1.2 million visitors to the spectacular gardens, rightly one of the most popular gardens in the U.S.

The former Pierre Du Pont estate, replete with fantastic conservatories, elaborate gardens, towering fountains, organ concerts, and fireworks displays is ever-changing to keep its audiences coming back – for generations. Visiting Longwood Gardens at Christmastime is an annual event for local families, with former kid visitors bringing their own kids when they're older. As a matter of fact, Paul mentions that Longwood considers there to be five seasons - Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn – and Christmas.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Garden Tourism Conference, Part 1

Who knows how many parts this Garden Tourism blog series may be? I'll try to keep it simple, and brief, but there was a lot of information packed into the two-day North American Garden Tourism Conference in Toronto last month.
To recap his presentation from 2013, he did a quick review
of the garden tourism trends from that presentation
and how they held up, which formed the basis of much of his talk.
Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara (GWBN), the Buffalo Niagara region's garden experience and tourism group was kind enough to sponsor my trip to the Conference. So this series of blog posts is my report to them, and, as GWBN is a public benefit corporation, it is my report to the public.

I had attended this biennial conference in 2013 and enjoyed what presentations I saw immensely. In fact, I gave a presentation along with Buffalo News columnist and Channel 4 garden personality Sally Cunningham; along with Ed Healy, VP Marketing of our visitors bureau, Visit Buffalo Niagara. We met many people involved in garden tourism from around the world – and found where we fit within that garden tourism world. The good news is, we're proactive, innovative, and definitely on the right track. There is no bad news.

Friday, March 13, 2015

International Garden Tourism Conference? I am SO there.

I'm excited to attend the 2015 North American Garden Tourism Conference in Toronto on Monday and Tuesday. I've been invited to speak on a panel on Monday on Garden Tourism Awards – How They Have Made a Difference.

Conference organizer Michel Gauthier in MY garden
during Garden Walk Buffalo in 2013.
It's a bit of a self-serving topic for the conference – they being the only ones that give out garden tourism awards. It's a panel, so no one will have to go too in-depth on the topic – probably just strategies on how to leverage awards into marketing and fundraising.

I'll certainly learn from the other panel participants:  moderator Abby Spencer, Director of Marketing American Public Gardens Association, USA;  Kathy Gibler, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Canada; Darren Heimbecker, Whistling Gardens Botanical Garden, Canada; Dr. Heike Platter, Director Marketing & Corporate Strategy The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, Italy; and Beth Monroe, Director of Public Relations and Marketing Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, USA.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Adding the element of time to a garden design

A few weeks ago we went on cruise vacation that stopped at Walt Disney World's Castaway Cay. We'd been there before, but this time on the cruise, I attended a lecture by one of Disney's Imagineers – an architect by trade.

He gave two talks, one was on the Imagineer's process as they concept and develop attractions – whether it be a ride, store, hotel, transportation, or a new park.

The second talk he gave was about the revamping and construction of what used to be called Disney Village - an area outside the parks with shopping and dining options, as well as Planet Hollywood and the venue that holds Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba show. Disney Village is being rebranded as Disney Springs, and he is intimately involved in its concept and production – on all levels.

What I found interesting was that the concept for Disney Springs was to develop a town that started back when other Florida cities and towns were starting off in the late 1700s and early 1800s – and starting to designing from there.

Studying other Florida towns, and their development, led to thinking of the new and existing buildings as being built on a timeline, starting with older-style, more rustic-designed facilities, nearer what they deemed as the center of the village. Then outward from there would be buildings and infrastructure designed that would have been built over the next generations – more mercantile shops, buildings for an imagined fishing industry, with larger facilities being on the outskirts of this "town." All employing the design styles of their times (and plants and landscaping).

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Portland's Boy's Fort - my new favorite garden store

If I could open up a garden store (and I can't), the kind of garden store I would open would be like Portland, OR's Boys Fort. It was the manliest store I've ever been in that had a large selection of garden supplies – and it even had a florist's shop!

It had a great mix of rough hewn and rugged, repurposed and worn home decor, furniture, and lighting that would be most appropriate for a, well, a boy's fort. Not even a mancave really. It had a bit more rustic and authentic, handmade, handcrafted vibe to all its merchandise, definitely curated to hark back to more juvenile memories. They call it "Manthropology."

C'mon, what guy wouldn't want the succulent planters above – I need a collection of these.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Taylor Falls, Niagara County

On this past summer's Open Gardens, an event of the National Garden Festival, I spent a day visiting the gardens that were open for free touring on Thursdays and Fridays. It's a bit tough to give up a work day to go on a garden tour, but I needed to visit these gardens – some of which have been on the Open Gardens tour for years. Helping to organize the tour, mostly
by promoting it, I felt it was important to visit some of these Niagara County gardens.

The front garden.
This one, the garden of the Taylors is in Lockport, NY. You can see from just the front garden that it was going to be something special.

The narrow side yard was very nice and led to "Taylor Falls" - a man-made "hill" incorporating a stream and falls. It was very hard to photograph, sorry about that. It was difficult to convey that it is very tall, sort of wrapped around a tree, and had a walkway that led up towards the top of it, offering many vantage points to see the stream. The stream looked like a squirrel-sized flume ride.

The whole thing was quite the engineering marvel. It took ten years to plan, three years to build and 22 tons of stones to complete.

The lush plantings throughout the patio area where the falls stood was shady and quite pleasant on a hot day. Just beyond that are was a filed with a spectacular long border of flowers going off quite a ways into the distance.

And, on the wish list of most gardeners, but a reality here, was a test garden of plants that the Taylors pick up and plenty here for a season or two to see if they take to the soil/sun combo of the property. If they're there for a couple seasons and like it they get divided every year and once worthy, get moved into the large border of plants stretching along the property line. A test garden is a luxury we small-space urban gardeners just do not have. I'm also too impatient for that - I'd need some immediate gratification. And lots of it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Multnomah Falls, Six Falls in Six Miles


Our trip out to Portland, OR this summer had us visiting and hiking Multnomah Falls, one of the area's attractions just outside Portland. The Falls are on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge along the Historic Columbia River Highway. The feature is obviously the 620 feet (189 m) falls that can be seen from the road, but there are hiking trails into the hills with many more falls and elevation drops. The six mile-long Wahkeena Loop Trail is up three miles and then down for another three. And gorgeous. You'll pass by six different falls. I think only one of them has a name, Fairy Falls. If you're in the area it should not be missed.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Back in the Garden Poster Business

After having run out of my "Hearts in the Gardens" posters more than a year ago, I had more printed this past Fall. Not only is there a reprint of the heart-shaped leaves on a black background, but I did a run of posters with a two-tone mottled green/ivory background. Some had said they liked the posters but the stark black was a bit severe for some people's décor.

So I now have them for sale on my website, JCharlier.com (once on the site, click on JCharlier Store). While you're there you can check out some of the other design work I do – the paying work – logos, ads, annuals, books, collateral, ad campaigns and more.

The posters are 18"x24" (a standard frame size), are printed on a 65# Royal Sundance Felt Cover stock. Posters are printed in balmy Buffalo, NY, and are shipped rolled. Posters are $24.99, plus tax and shipping.

They make a great Valentine's Day gift!

Which one do you like better?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gardening Wright (VIDEO)




Not necessarily a gardening post today – although it's not necessarily NOT a gardening post. I created this video for Frank Lloyd Wright's Graycliff Estate.

The original Graycliff landscape plan, as drawn by Frank Lloyd Wright.
I am on the executive board of the Graycliff Conservancy, the organization that runs the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Graycliff Estate. It was built in the late 1920s for Isabelle R. Martin, the wife of industrialist Darwin Martin, as a summer home. She was Wright's client for this project. Their city home, also designed by Wright, is the now the Martin House Complex, a spectacular example of Wright's Prairie-style architecture, and a building (actually a campus of buildings) he considered his "opus."

Monday, December 15, 2014

Alzheimer's sucks. Gardens don't.


Binghamton NY, is New York State's fifth largest city, nestled on the Pennsylvania border, about an hour and a half south of Syracuse. It's half way between Buffalo and New York City. It's also where I grew up.

It also has a botanical garden. The Cutler Botanical Garden. It is cared for by the volunteers of the Cornell Cooperative Extension in the area, which is right next door.

I never even knew it was there. It was there when I was growing up, having been started as early as 1972 (I started only about ten years earlier than that). I lived just a few miles from it, up on a hill. I probably passed it by thousands of times in my first 17 years.

My mom moved into a small house just across the Chenango River from it – and I still never knew it was there. Well, now my mom has moved in right across the street from it, into an independent living senior apartment. I still might not have known if I had not read this post by Swimray of A Leafy Indulgence, an Alexandria VA garden blogger – also a native of the Binghamton area.

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