Friday, February 27, 2009

Poo's Corner

The corner area design to accommodate poo in Jennifer & Jim's garden. And no, poo is not the name of their dog.

This is my offering for the Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop - Pets in the Garden, hosted by Gardening Gone Wild.

I don't have much to offer when it comes to pets in the garden. I don't have any pets, unless you count my daughter's fish (which we're having much success with, by the way–none have died or eaten each other in at least three months.)

Cornelius' dog house, on Lancaster Avenue, matches his owner's house in style and colors. Photo by Don Zinteck.

My wife is allergic to dogs, cats, feathers, algae and oxygen. She'd be most content if she lived in a plastic bubble. So, no pets for us. Or indoor bouquets of flowers for that matter. Okay by me. I save on not having to buy flowers. And pets, to care for them correctly, require work. I hate work.

I did grow up with pets – dogs, cats, hamsters, turtles, birds, and even, for a short time, a monkey. Haven't you always wanted a monkey?

I do have these two dog images and one great idea from gardens on Garden Walk Buffalo. The idea I found intriguing was this "potty area" for this gardener's dog, photo on top.

It's in an unobtrusive area of the garden between the corner of the house and a fence, underneath some trees, where not much would grow anyway. You'd have to know it was there in order to find it. Fortunately, it really only matters that their dog, a large german shepherd, knows it's there. They use it as a litter box, in that, on occasion, it has to be cleaned out a bit, it is a big dog after all.

This sculpture, found on North Pearl Street, I've always found to be funny. Photo by Don Zinteck.

And look how nice they made it. It's bricked in, with decorative fence and formal plantings in stone planters. It's filled in with pea(pee?) gravel and surrounded by greenery.

It's the nicest outdoor bathroom I've ever seen. I should put together one like this for myself, so I don't have to run in the house with muddy shoes while working in the garden.

Bunny's secret garden

Cottages #2 and #3.

In the Cottage District of Buffalo, a quaint area of Civil War-era small cottages, there are three very special "secret" cottages tucked in behind other cottages & homes. The only access is by a passage in between the houses that face the street. There are no driveways (which would be a deal-breaker for me). You cannot see these cottages from the street.

The ivy-covered stable backing the back yards of cottages #2 and #3.

One of these houses is owned by Bunny. Bunny, and her late husband, Harold, first saw this house when they attended Garden Walk years ago. One of the cottages was for sale. They were so impressed with the cottage, garden & tightness of the neighborhood, they bought the middle cottage, Cottage #2.

My best friend (and best man at my wedding) owned Cottage #1 for a while. He didn't do much gardening, although his new wife did. Before they had the triplets and had to move out because the place had grown too small. Triplets will do that to a place.

120-year-old bricks fell from the sky.

Bunny's issue last year, aside from the passing of Harold, was the crumbling bricks from the three-story tall, 1889 livery stable that backs against the back yards of all three of these cottages. Whereas the vine-covered stable provided the privacy and character of the mini-neighborhood, falling bricks didn't add to the charm.

Falling bricks are not good for plants.

These homes are just down the street from Ellie's Alley. I rented a cottage in front of these cottages from 1987-1991. It's a great neighborhood of wonderful little homes and wonderful people.

The alley between Cottages #1 & #2.

The livery stable was purchased from the owner that had let it deteriorate for more than 20 years and has now been stabilized. It was used as auto storage previously. It is now being redeveloped into condos & rentals.

Bunny's little hide-away is a popular stop on Garden Walk. There are often lines to see the hidden gardens of these three secret cottages. And, in a future post, I will show off one of her neighbor's gardens - in the house I rented way back when. And Bunny's neighbor? Her name's Kitty.

Below: The front garden of cottage #3.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Teeny tiny gardens & their teeny tiny gardeners

Last week we were in Hamburg, Germany. It was a quick trip. The highlight of the trip was the visit to the Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg. It is the world's largest model train exhibition. But trust me, the model trains are the least of the presentation.

There are more than two floors and about a dozen rooms of model train environments. The scenarios encompassed everything from a model of Hamburg, to Las Vegas, the Scandinavian coast, the Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, the alps and more. Settings included cities, mountains, rural areas, underground facilities, waterways and more. Not only trains moved, but cars, cranes, planes, boats, trucks, hot air balloons, helicopters, cable cars and more.

Concert during the day. Kool & the Gang was playing when we were there. That's NOT a giant in the upper right. Lines were short for these port-a-potties, lower left.

And that's in the daylight. Every once in a while, the overhead lights dim and the cities & towns light up. Las Vegas is impressive. Lights fill the soccer stadium & outdoor concert (and camera flashes in the crowd), they became fire in a warehouse building. The cars even had head lights, working turn signals & emergency vehicle revolving lights. Lights even worked on the pornographer's camera, subtly tucked into the roof of one building.

The concert at night.

Then, there's the people and situations. There are about 200,000 people inhabiting the exhibit. They are attending concerts, camping, working, TV crews construction, police, firemen, skinny dipping, mining, playing soccer, couples making out, a murder scene, visiting the zoo (it had dinosaurs!), and yes, gardening.

Below are some of the gardening scenarios. I think they were set up to represent gardening in different countries, in most of the gardens, there were flags from around the world. In some gardens, you can almost recognize the plants!

If you ever find yourself in Hamburg, this is a must see. Oh, they do have real gardens too, which I'll post about in the future. But it's February, and in the low 30s, and there wasn't much too much life-size green to photograph.

In upcoming posts, I'll show off some other larger miniature gardens, if that makes any sense.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My great backyard in Great Backyards magazine!

The back deck, with grill, hot tub, espalier & tables, gets a two-page spread.

The greatest benefit of working on the Garden Walk Buffalo committee, for me, is spreading the word about the great gardens in Buffalo. When a magazine calls me, looking for photogenic gardens with an interesting story, that also comes with high-resolution photography, there are only so many to choose from. Fortunately for our group, we have a professional photographer on the committee. Because of this, we have a large collection of stellar, high-resolution garden photography.

The back patio, with vine-covered arbor/trellises, purple smoke tree and checkerboard steppable grasses gets another two-page spread.

And because of that, Buffalo is represented with an unprecedented 12 gardens in the current issue of Great Backyards magazine. Ten of the gardens are 2-page and 4-page spreads with interviews, two gardens are represented with photos used to illustrate gardening techniques.

That's twelve gardens in one issue. There are 50 gardens in the issue total. That's pretty good.

I try to spread the "wealth" of publicity to as many of the great gardens in the city as I can. I do not try to push my garden as any more special than the other 300-plus gardens on the Walk. But I had submitted my garden for inclusion as well as about 20 others. They chose mine to use! Although, I must say, I am as proud to have the other Buffalo gardens published as I am my own.

Here is the list of Buffalo gardens in the magazine:
Gardens with 2-4 page interviews with photos:
39 Granger Place (table of contents, pages 19, 20-23, 138)
16 Rabin Terrace (pages 19, 24-25)
75 Lancaster Avenue (pages 33, 34-37)
72 Lancaster Avenue (table of contents, pages 33, 40-41)
215 Lancaster Avenue (page 91, 92-95)
378 Summer Street (pages 38-39)
84 North Pearl Street (table of contents, pages 33, 44-45)
587 Breckenridge Street (pages 51, 52-55)
531 Linwood Avenue (pages 66-67)
20 Norwood Avenue (pages 102-103)

Additional photographs used to illustrate garden techniques:
44 Irving Place (page 32, 50)
42 Orton Place (page 70)

If you're out and about, Great Backyards, published by Harris Publications, is available currently at all major bookstores that sell magazines, as well as Home Depots and Lowes across the country. The magazine is $9.95, which seems like a lot for a garden magazine, but this is jam-packed with 50 great gardens and landscape & garden planning tips and just a handful of ads, which can't be said about other garden magazines.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Gardening Crowds

I just ran across this photo that was taken by Ellie, of the line of people packing in to see her alley during Garden Walk Buffalo, '08. This is in reference to my previous post, Ellie's Alley.

This is Ellie's one-way, dead-end Ally they're cramming themselves into.

I wasn't kidding when I mentioned it was a popular stop on Garden Walk each year. Most of the houses in her neighborhood have waiting lines to get into them, most of each day of the tour.

They easily get multiple thousands of people in their yards for the tour. The tour attracts tens of thousands of people to Buffalo the last weekend of July each year. We estimate 40,000 to 50,000 people, but that's just a guess based on the number of maps handed out and number of maps downloaded from the website.

My front yard during Garden Walk.

The self-guided tour of 300 gardens is absolutely free, no tickets required. Visitors get a map and start where ever they want. So there is no way to accurately measure attendees. Last year, my neighbor estimated about 2,000 came through our yards in two days.

This photo, taken by Garden Walk photographer/committee member Don Zinteck shows a crowd around a recently-built 800 sq. ft. modern "cottage." The garden takes up more room than the house on this tiny lot.

Fortunately my yard is accessible, and viewable, from a driveway, patio & deck, so there is no damage to the yard itself. Many gardens get terrible wear to their grass. But, hey, it's grass. in a few weeks it has self-repaired.

My driveway during Garden Walk. It's like this all day for two days.

If anyone's interested in coming to Buffalo for Garden Walk this summer, please let either myself, or Elizabeth (Garden Rant/Gardening While Intoxicated) know. We'll have some sort of get-together for visiting bloggers. We can help you see the best gardens – and avoid some of the crowds!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Flowering trees of four by fours

I've always loved this simple idea. For the impact it provides, how cheap & easy is this? Found on the Parkside Garden Tour in the garden of Steve & Connie. They are on the Parkside Garden Tour, but are also on the Garden Walk Buffalo committee. They are some of the many that are on our committee that do not live in the Garden Walk area. You have to appreciate people that so willingly give of their time & energy when they don't even get a chance to show their own garden.

I have to figure out how & where to put these flower poles. In the Harry Potter Garden might be good. I would probably stain them, beat them up a bit, and round the edges off. Or, maybe this is a chance to add more color to the garden by painting them. Although I dread the use of paint outdoors. It just means sometime down the road, it'll need panting again. It would take just a few hours to do. I already have the post-hole diggers, and the concrete to set them in.

Do you have a simple cheap idea I can steal?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Jennifer's Umbrella Stand

Jennifer's garden is another popular stop on Garden Walk Buffalo. Her garden is just brimming with great ideas. Everywhere you turn there's another great garden idea for inspiration.

Here, she's taken a plastic planter, fauxed he outside to get a patina of aged bronze and planted her table umbrella and a few annuals into it. It shades a sitting area of two chairs and two end-tables. I don't think she has much time to sit at all, but it's a brilliant little touch, making something ordinary extraordinary.

I will not say she has the most spectacular garden in Buffalo, each garden is unique and special in its way, but I can say that Better Homes and Gardens has shot her front yard, and BH&G's Garden Ideas and Outdoor Living photographed her back yard three weeks later. Both will be published in an upcoming issue sometime in the future. Garden Gate magazine has also photographed it and has used bits and pieces of it in their magazine(s). Cripes, it's even used in the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitor's Bureaus' publications and website.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Prayer Tree

Growing every week at our church is this Prayer Tree. Each week, we're given a strip of cloth, a "prayer cloth," on which to write a prayer. Or, just "rub" your prayers into the cloth. Then, after the sermon, or some other part of the service, we're invited to walk up to the alter and "tie one on" so to speak.

My wife wanted to bring in a stuffed partridge to place unobtrusively in the tree so she could sing, well, you know.

It's part of our community aspect of prayer. Last week, red strips were added and made the tree look like it was in bloom. I don't know what the plans are for the tree, it was to be up only for the month of January. It may get moved to another location, or the prayer cloths might get used in another project by the Sunday School kids.

No guarantees, nor proof that, the prayers are realized, but it sure was nice to walk into a building in winter to find a colorful tree inside that grew weekly.

The 1892 building has an invaluable collection of stained glass created by master stained-glass-designer John LaFarge and rare windows created by Tiffany Studios.

Friday, February 6, 2009

What the hellstrip.

Found this while on Manchester Place, the week before Garden Walk last year. A beautiful rock garden, complete with artwork, occupying a hell strip (the area between sidewalk and road). I don’t think I’ve ever seen a nicer one.

This is a favorite old post, created before I was on Blogger. I repeat it here to save & catalog it on this new site.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pretty as a picture

Out a front window to the front garden & the crab apple that blooms every other year. The wood frame makes it look like a piece of art hanging on the wall.

Over at A Photographer's Garden Blog, David has challenged bloggers to take photos out their windows. The challenge being to do it now–don't worry about framing up, making it perfect. I've been trying to go the entire winter without showing my garden in snow. I have a good library of shots to last me the winter. You've seen enough snow shots. I firmly believe this time of year, it's nice to see green. So I decided to show my preferred view, and the current view. I like the contrast. We just put in all new windows on our second floor. The former had been there for the first 112 years. Can't say it improved the view, but there's less of a windchill factor INSIDE the house this year.

Out the kitchen window. The playset.

Out the kitchen window, the swing set & checkerboard grass garden. Note how well the view over the fence gets hidden in the summer.

Out the back door toward the deck/hot tub area.

Out the second-floor office window.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cheery Chair

Found on Sixteenth Street on Garden Walk Buffalo. Sixteenth Street is a popular stop on garden walk not only because it has some great gardens, but because it has a great number of gardens. I used to live on this block years ago and was on the Walk–the only house, at that time, on the Walk–now it has 16 on this one short block! And it increases in number each year. This seating arrangement was created by Joe, the unchallenged gardening fan & fanatic on the block and member of the Garden Walk Committee. Joe's garden is unquestionably one of the most colorful gardens of the 300+ gardens on the tour. Which amazes us all, because Joe is colorblind.


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