Sunday, November 20, 2011

It all began in a garden...

The Ken-Ton Garden Tour is a nice garden tour filled with many garden gems. Much like any garden tour, not all gardens are stunners, but many gardens have bits and pieces of great creativity. It's hard to compare gardens on tours because they're all so uniquely designed. This funky garden had many great ideas hidden throughout, including a giraffe in a hat.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fourth year blogiversary

My first ever blog post was on Sunday, November 18, 2007. It was on a Better Homes & Gardens photo shoot here in Buffalo, actually on my street. Since then, story producer Donna Talley and photographer Andreas Trauttsmansdorff have been back two more times. Andreas even came back to photograph Buffalo gardens for Martha Stewart Living magazine (those photos were never published. Long story, buy me a drink and I'll share it with you).

In the meantime, I've gotten rid of ALL my grass.
I started the blog really so I could promote Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest garden tour in the U.S. It's also been an outlet for sharing garden photos taken on vacations, my own garden projects as well as the National Garden Festival, an annual five-week long series of garden events that culminates with Garden Walk Buffalo.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cemetery tour with Speedy the deer

This past Saturday I took a Forest Lawn Cemetery tour along with 17 other friends, and Speedy the deer. He hung with us for about a half hour or more, just walking along following us. It was a spectacular fall day here in Buffalo, sunny, blue skies and in the 50s.

Forest Lawn, when it was established the countryside in 1849, was about 2.5 miles from downtown Buffalo, and modeled on Paris' Père-Lachais, the world's most famous cemetery. Now? It's 269 acres in the land-locked heart of Buffalo and can still rival any cemetery in the world for beauty and significance.

It's the largest arboretum in the area, as well as a natural habitat for any type of bird (from Canada geese to turkeys) that can be found in Western New York, as well as raccoons, fox, and Speedy the deer. Speedy's been there for at least three years. No telling how he got in. It's a natural habitat, so everything he needs to live well is in there. Except, obviously companionship. That may be why he hangs with the tour groups, walkers and joggers. He famously took on the role of protector for a egg-sitting Canada goose without a partner. That got coverage around the world.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Paper-inspired garden at Chelsea

Here is yet another Chelsea garden, this one the Basildon Bond Centenary Garden, commissioned for the 100th anniversary celebration of Basildon Bond, a well-known stationery products supplier in Britain. The theme is letter writing -- with table chair, inky-blue-colored iris and other flowers, seen against a crisp bright white backdrop.

The all-weather paper wall also contrasts the Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum) growing through the table with its paper-thin peeling orange-red bark. Not being familiar with Basildon Bond, it did not occur to me that the theme was writing paper until I saw it in the program.

The white wall was too stark for my tateses, but I like the texture of it. Even faint breezes made the papers lightly rustle. I think it was made of the same material of which FedEx envelopes are made. This is one garden where I might have added some typography. I'm sure it was their conscience decision not to.

This was one of the seven "Artisan Gardens" at Chelsea, built in the park beside the football (soccer) field where the larger displays were. The crowds were most dense here, more dense than anywhere else during the show, because the pathways were narrow. You could easily get a good view of these gardens if you were patient and forgave other human beings for their ruthless pushing and shoving.

And is that papyrus I see?

Friday, November 11, 2011

A piano planter? Ginko colors? I know, Wright?

I don't steal things from other sites for my own posts, but I came across this post by my friend Eric Jackson-Forsberg, the curator for Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House Complex. It was on the Martin House blog he writes, The Weekly Wright-up. It intersects my interest in all things gardening and my Wright fascination.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chelsea - Blood cells in the garden

The British Heart Foundation Garden at Chelsea was not among my favorites. Veins, arteries, corpuscles and red blood cells just don't seem ready-made for integrating into a garden plan. At least there as no spurting blood fountain or anything. Kudos to the designers for their restraint, that's the first thing I thought of.

One nice feature of this garden was the inclusion of plants known for their healing properties and especially Salix caprea, a plant that provided clues to the development of aspirin.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A lesson in leaves

When I visited this garden on the KenTon Garden tour, the first thing I noticed was the exuberance and dense planting of the garden - which took up all of this small backyard, except for a looping pea-gravel path around the center island. I remember the garden being very colorful, but looking at the photos now, I see that the colors were mostly greens. But I now notice also that the gardener has a masterful touch with choosing leaf shapes and sizes and plant placement. She mixes plant heights, colors and leaf textures brilliantly. My biggest mistake, I make everytime, is planting things too close together. This is a jam-packed, but well-edited garden. And it's mostly shade!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Summer Street beauty

On Garden Walk Buffalo, being the president, I feel as though every garden is special and I can't show favorites. Kinda' like pickin' your favorite kid. But really, this garden is a quiet stalwart among the colorful exuberance of the Summer Street Cottage district. It doesn't get a lot of coverage because there are so many great gardens in such a close proximity. But I can assure you any neighborhood would LOVE to have a home like this in it.

Sitting on a corner lot on Summer & York streets, this sharp-looking cottage is the first one you'll see on this one-way strip of Civil War-era cottages. Friends of ours owned this house in the '90s (hi Rhonda) and the inside is as charming as the outside.

The current owners have done such a great job with such a small place - and look at the plant colors, combinations and shapes. And that doorway above? Perfect choices all around.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dutch Iguanas

Walking along in a recent trip to Amsterdam we came across these bronze sculptures of frolicking iguanas. No rhyme or reason, just some random non-naive iguanas. Certainly made us stop and pay attention othe garden space there, which we may have just frolicked by. Iguanas, are not too readily associated with the Netherlands. Makes me wonder how they were selected to be displayed there.

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