Monday, January 31, 2011

Living hellstrips

Ellie's hellstrip from the Wall Street Journal's article on hellstrips. It could be the most famous hellstrip in America.
(Not a lot of other ones get too much coverage!) Photo by Don Zinteck.

I've been collecting photos of decent hellstrips - the area between sidewalk and street. It's another of those challengers unique to city dwellers. It's also something I have to start thinking about.

More photos of this Manchester Place hellstrip below. They
have the added issues of a tree AND a light pole.
A diseased, pink-blooming horse chestnut tree was taken out three years ago. In the off chance (and with more phone calls to the mayor's compliant line) that the stump gets ground out this spring, I'd like to plant my hellstrip.

I know that the property belongs, officially, to the city and I can't do anything permanent, or that I would cry over, in the event utilities need to be dug up.

I do know I want a hardscape area for people that park and need room to get out of their cars. That's easier than kvetching about people stepping into the garden all the time.

Friday, January 28, 2011

That odd area, between garages

A unique consideration for urban gardeners is the odd, narrow space between detached garages when you live close to your neighbor. I've been trying to collect images of how people creatively grapple with these unique spaces. Usually there's a chain link, or other type of fence, separating the space you see above.

For many people they become the junk drawer of the yard - collections of tires, tarps & tools end up here. Is there name for these spaces? Garage voids? Junk plots? Spare spots? Dead zones? Detached alleys? Rat castles?

I don't happen to have this particular problem. I have my own problems.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nautical but nice

I've held onto these photos for the longest time, just waiting for the right cold & snowy winter week to share them. This is a house on the Parkside Garden Tour here in Buffalo, held the last Sunday of June each year. It's probably the best example I've ever seen of a residential garden with a theme that is executed to the last detail.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Strasbourg exhuberance

Seen in Strasbourg, France. Sort of stands out along the way. Kinda messy for my taste, but hey, it's on the other side of the world, so it's not as if I have to walk by it each day. Though walking by it every day would not be a bad thing either.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I can never get enough of this garden...

This is the garden of Joe & Scott (Joe's the gardener). It's one of the most voluptuous on Garden Walk Buffalo. Can a garden be voluptuous? And if it can, do you think this one is?

It's on Sixteenth Street, just across the street from my first house, where my wife & I lived for ten years, though we didn't know Joe & Scott well back then. Joe is on the Garden Walk Buffalo committee. He, with the help & support of the the block club (and most likely Scott's help too), takes on one new front yard garden for a neighbor each year. Usually it's a neighbor that either cannot afford, or is not physically able, to do the work a new front yard garden requires. Working with plant material mostly from his yard and others, the block gets one new garden a year. And that new garden is added to the Garden Walk.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Parkside perfection

This is probably my favorite garden on the Parkside Garden Tour, here in Buffalo (of the ones I've seen). You cannot take a bad picture of the front of this house. This front garden is how I picture mine in my head, though it looks nothing like this beauty of a garden. Not a lot of colors all at one time, but it's variation in greenery, leaves, differing heights & organization compliment and frame the house as well as I think any garden could.

This garden is on the Parkside tour (the last Sunday in June), and participates in the National Garden Festival Open Gardens where the garden can be visited for select hours one day a week for the five weeks of the festival. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chef Rick Bayless' garden

"Rick Bayless is award-winning chef-restaurateur, cookbook author, and television personality and has done more than any other culinary star to introduce Americans to authentic Mexican cuisine and to change the image of Mexican food in America." That's from his bio. I didn't know any of that when a group of about 50 garden bloggers descended on his garden in 2009 for the Garden Bloggers meet-up in Chicago. In Chicago, he's very well-known for his restaurants Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and others. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Buffalo Front Yard Garden Competion in Country Gardens magazine

Country Garden magazine's editor, James Baggett, visited during Garden Walk Buffalo this year and was given a tour of Garden Walk gardens and events/activities held by the National Garden Festival. he was apparently impressed enough with the Garden Festival's Front Yard Garden Competition, that he tasked our own Elizabeth Licata (Garden Rant/Gardening While Intoxicated) to cover the event for this two-page spread in the Early Spring 2011 issue, on store shelves now. The magazine has a circulation of 525,000 and the publicity value of the article, according to PRTrak, is $338,195.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Garden Walk Buffalo goes on retreat

Back in November, Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest garden tour in the U.S., holed up for the better chunk of a day in Buffalo's Saturn Club with a meeting facilitator, with the intent of forging a path ahead for the organization.

We meet once a month, as a committee of about 20-25 people, from February to October. We get so busy talking about ordering tee shirts, bus routes, parties for the gardeners, PR, sponsorships, headquarters coordination, money counting procedures, budgeting, treasurer reports, Beautification Grants, garden signs, database management, and more mundane topics. Much decision-making is done in subcommittee groups that happen in between these monthly meetings.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Amaryllis in a box

This all-in-one amaryllis-in-a-box was a Christmas gift from my niece Kristy. I've never grown an amaryllis before, so I look forward to seeing what happens. Everything came in this goth-looking black-flocked box, including a compressed soil block that expands to fill up the box. And it's a generic amaryllis -- no name, or color, or type was given. So it'll be a true surprise to see what it looks like, if I don't kill it first.

I didn't get any of the items from my garden gift list. Probably didn't help to post it two days before Christmas. Did get this cool trivet. The base looks like an eight-point corkscrew ninja star. You supply your own corks. I requested this because I don't like the metal & ceramic trivets we have now. Stuff just slides all over them. My in-laws gave it to me, along with a rechargeable wine bottle cork remover and a bottle of wine. Though, they unknowingly gave me a bottle of wine with a twist-off cap. The best laid plans...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

World's first splashpark/garden

Hellbrunn Summer Palace in Salzburg Austria, is about as far from hell as you can get, and like no other garden you can visit. It was finished around 1620 as a "pleasure" palace for weekend visits for prince/Archbishop of Salzburg, Markus Sittikus (good job titles if you can get them). Sittikus was finished himself in 1619 and died. The palace itself and grounds were designed by Santino Solari, including, it's thought, many of the sculptures.


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