|The Lockwoods Greenhouses team, led by Ken Parker starts by trimming the tree.|
Monday was the start of the National Garden Festival's Front Yard Contest. This year the neighborhood chosen was Crowley Avenue, another street along a Buffalo Olmsted Park - Riverside Park. Fifteen very small front yards are being made over in the course of a week. To our knowledge, this is the only contest between landscapers in the country that makes over front yards as a community service.
|Tonka toys arrive.|
|Trees and pavers for all!|
Actually, there are some awards handed out at the end, by different organizations, and one is a public voting award. But the crux of the competition, if you ask anyone involved, is giving back to the community by giving a deserving block a morale boost.
Other side effects include having homeowners become gardeners (they get LOTS of one-on-one and group lessons in plants and their care - even after we leave); an area around a public Olmsted-designed park gets improved; relationships are formed between organizers, landscapers and homeowners; home values potentially increase; and in some cases, neighbors become closer. Though in this neighborhood, these families have know each other well, in some cases, for generations.
|National Garden Festival Director |
Sally Cunningham addresses the media.
Landscapers got straight to work. They showed up with their life-size Tonka trucks, trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, baskets, stones, pavers, gravel, compost, soil and lots more. Trees got trimmed, old scrappy bushed were dug out, and LOTS of watering started.
The hero landscapers are:
- Beyond the Basics Property Services, Inc.
- Dore Landscape Associates
- The English Gardener, Ltd
- Murray Brothers Nurseries, Inc.
- Richardson Landscape Services
- Lockwood’s Greenhouses
- Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy with the Master Gardeners of the Cornell Cooperative Extension
|Director and organizer Sally Cunningham |
at the center of attention.
The Front Yard Contest is being coordinated by the Western New York State Nursery & Landscape Association, the New York State Certified Nursery and Landscape Professionals, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Visit Buffalo Niagara, and the National Garden Festival organizing committee, of with I am one of many members.
At the press conference, three TV stations showed up, The Buffalo News, and three or four other media outlets. So far it's been covered by all:
|The first tree, a red |
Japanese maple, goes in.
You can see all the "Before" photos here. All the photos I took can be found on the National GArden Festival Facebook page photo album here.
Of all the things the National Garden Festival does - helping promote 14 area garden tours, holding and promoting garden education events, organizing a garden art sale, putting together 77 Open Gardens on Thursdays and Fridays, and coordinating seven garden-themed bus tours, I think I am most proud of the group for having, with this year's make-over, completed 48 makeovers in the last three years.
Oh, I'm also proud we accomplish all this in just five weeks.