Monday, May 28, 2012

Garden Art Sale promotion begins!

Looks like it's gonna' have to happen now. No turning back. The Buffalo-style Garden Art Sale committee is leader Barbara Maze (longtime Allentown Art Festival committee member), Allison Malikowski, Kathy Guest Shadrack, Mike Shadrack, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy representative Laura Genco and myself. We've been working hard to first GET vendors, and now plotting and planning to make this event successful through marketing, planning a good vendor experience and a great visitor experience.

The event is free, there will be 22 (or so) vendors, a Plant Society Avenue of 10 area plant societies, master gardeners and the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens (bring questions!), the WNY Hosta Society Accredited Hosta Show, a Chinese Auction of items contributed by the Plant Societies, and all this is going on at the same time, and in the same footprint of the Parkside Garden Tour.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The most beautiful garden...

Possibly the most beautiful garden I've ever visited belongs to the Jasmin & Peter Gentling of Asheville, NC. Among other owners, the home was once owned by William Jennings Bryan and President Herbert Hoover's son - Herbert slept here while president!

Hard to capture the house fully,
being surrounded by so much lushness.
It is a terraced mountainside garden just minutes away from downtown Asheville, but it felt more like a mountain retreat where you'd go on retreat to get away from civilization. It was stunning - and I've seen a lot of gardens in my time - probably more than your average bear. (there were no bear sightings, despite the warning that there are a mom and two cubs that enjoy the garden too)

Two dawn redwoods start to form a canopy and frame the view of Asheville below.  The detail all around, from major to minor, was incredible. The trees were all selected for their texture and colors and juxtaposed with each other, eventually blending into the surrounding forest. You get all that from looking up.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hypertufa heaven and stuff

The hypertufa pots are curing well. If I get a chance I may make a few more, but this is basically what I know I'll have by the time of the Buffalo-style Garden Art Sale on June 24. They are sitting out in the (hopeful) rain to help leech the lime from the portland cement mix.

I have no idea on price do you have any ideas? I've been looking at garden centers (mostly in Asheville, NC so far) and only saw similar planters that were planted nice and professionally, and were over $200. I was thinking the smallest of the small around $5, and the largest around $50. The one to the left was very nice. Even had a dwarf conifer. It was $225. I'd really have had to have my act together to offer planted hypertufa pots.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Wamboldtopia Garden Dragon

This past weekend I attended a garden bloggers meet-up, "Spring Fling 2012" in Asheville, NC. It was three full days (with 85 other garden bloggers) of touring gardens from the impeccable and productive to the visually masterful and curated to Wamboldtopia, which defies description. Located on Wambold Street, the garden belongs to an artist, Damaris, and a stone mason, Ricki, that thinks he's a pirate. More posts on the garden and skeleton-oriented masonry in the future, I promise.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Garden Walk Buffalo wins travel & tourism award

Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest (and dare I say best!) garden tour in the country received an award from Visit Buffalo Niagara (VBN) as the "2011 Tourism Initiative of the Year" at the second annual Beacon Awards, honoring excellence in the Buffalo Niagara travel and tourism industry, with more than 400 tourism professionals in attendance.

The award was offered with the following comments from VBN:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Two fountains, a tiny patio and a disco ball...

This was the weekend for small projects. And mowing dandelions.

I made a dozen or more hypertufa pots, semi-installed my homemade copper coral bell (huchera) fountain, semi-installed a fish head fountain, planted a few more huchera, planted up one of the hypertufa planters with a miniature flagstone patio and plants, and created a "disco" ball for the garden.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A walk around Carmel, CA

If you told me I could live anywhere in the U.S., money being no object, I'd probably say Carmel California without hesitation. It is possibly the most charming community I've ever visited - storybook cottages and the gardens to match.

A Frank Lloyd Wright bowl planter.
There seems to be many more McMansions jamming their way between the pretty seaside cottages, but even those are of unique designs and made of stone, brick and sturdier finishes than you'd expect anywhere else. It's pretty exclusive, as you would expect - being almost part of Pebble Beach, the scenic 17-Mile Drive toll road, the toniest town in California, and with Clint Eastwood being your ex-mayor.

We visited Carmel about 20 years ago and were itching to get back, just to walk around the trendy shopping district of art studios, antique stores, restaurants, and design shops. We wanted to show our daughter (a Frank Lloyd Wright fan) the Wright beach house (shown above). And I wanted to photograph just some of the gardens. What I have here are not even the best of the residential front yard gardens we saw - these are just the gardens in a small square block of homes by the ocean.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Springtime around the spread

Seems like a while since I've shown my own garden progress, not that I've done much. My Senior Associate Assistant Garden Maintenance Engineer was out there in March, during the week that was 80° and she accomplished a lot of clean-up. I did get out this past weekend and got a little done. On top is the front yard, now, when it looks fresh and neat. It'll look like an uncontrolled jungle in another month.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hypertufa hell

I am trying my hand at hypertufa so I have something else to sell at this Garden Art Sale coming up on June 24 at the Parkside Lodge in Delaware Park (during the Parkside Garden Tour).

It's the first time I've ever done this, but it's been on my list for a long time. I followed the directions I found on this blog here. It's quite easy, almost therapeutic. I started last weekend, I'll make more this weekend and then the following weekend - they take roughly three weeks to cure, and I have to leach the lime, add holes by drilling and "scruff up" the exteriors, so I want them all done three weeks before the Sale.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A new hosta -- the Mike Shadrack

It's not really mine. It was a birthday gift to my wife from the human Mike Shadrack. How many people get a plant named after them?

The hosta Mike Shadrack
The hybridizer, Bob Kuk from Kuk's Forest Nursery (a 2011 American Hosta Society Eunice Fisher Distinguished Hybridizer Merit Award recipient), created this variety in 2001 from the parents H. "Rock and Roll" and H. "Great Expectations." Seems about right. if you know the human Mike Shadrack.

The human Mike Shadrack pushing around his wife,
Kathy Guest Shadrack. Both authors of books on hostas.
It's described as "Medium green with a medium gold margin, extremely cupped and rugose on a vase-shaped clump." It's a moderate grower with a 9"x9" sized leaf and broadly ovate leaf shape that is slightly rippled -- with a dull leaf texture. The plant is considered large (30-35.99" tall) with scentless white blooms. It is in the Lilaceae family in the genus hosta, hardy to Zone 3b. And can be purchased from Hostas Direct.

Mike, and his wife Kathy are both authors of books on hostas. They live outside of Buffalo, NY, and travel the country in the "hosta speaking engagement circles." Yes, there are hosta speaking engagement circles. You can find out more about them on their own site, Smug Creek Gardens.

I have to find a special spot for this hosta, which we'll just call "Mike."


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