Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Visitor's most-asked Garden Walk questions...

Q: Where'd you get the mirrors? 
A: I made them, dollar store mirrors, and the big mirror was left over from the bathroom redesign.
Q:  What's that vine on the left?  A: Dutchman's Pipe. On the right is a chocolate five-leaf akebia.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's Garden Walk Buffalo weeknd!

I don't really have time to post. Got to get out and put up shuttle bus signs. We have five FREE shuttle buses for the FREE Garden Walk Buffalo. I was in my own garden for a good chunk of the day, after spending my morning visiting the three headquarters located around the city. The crowds. I'm told, seemed just under normal. In my garden it got off to a slow start, but at times there were 40-50 people in the yard. Then I got to visit a few gardens. Here's just a small smattering of what I saw. More adventures today.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A little East of Buffalo

Wow. I was not expecting this. A friend and I went to visit some of the National Garden Festival's Open Gardens on Thursday last week, in Lancaster, NY, a far-flung Buffalo suburb.

Their backyard is nice - more
typical for the house and neighborhood.
I'd visited their garden tour nine years ago (Lancaster Garden Walk, this year happening next this weekend, July 21 & 22), their first year, I think. I'd actually been in this yard then. I remember it because it was the first time I'd ever seen a passion flower vice and was transfixed by it.

Their backyard garden has not changed tremendously in the last nin years, but the secret garden, behind the garage has taken this from a nice garden to something spectacular and quite special.

The backyard is typical, nice paintings, an arbor and sitting area. Once you get to the narrow area beside the garage, there is a brightly painted red railing and zig zag of an enclosed fenced path.

The closer you get to it, you start to notice details - a shelf with Japanese porcelain and artifacts, a lantern or two, more Asian-styled plantings, and more. Then you enter the narrow space, with a Japanese print, bamboo-like narrow planters, a cut out with a Japanese bell, and then BAM! it hits you! You've just entered a hidden Japanese garden and have instantaneously left Lancaster, NY.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Canada loves us...

Last summer, Visit Buffalo Niagara hosted three Canadian garden writers - inviting them to Buffalo to enjoy and become aware of all that is gardening and good in the area. One of the writers was Rob Howard, a writer for the Canada's Hamilton Spectator. This past weekend, Rob's story was published. A year in the making, it could not have been better timed for Garden Walk Buffalo, happening in less than two weeks (thanks Rob!).

Here are a few of the effusive things Rob had to say:

"Garden Walk Buffalo it is something that all gardeners should see and experience before we head off to the great back yard in the sky."

"...Buffalo was, well, terrific. And I learned a whole lot, in one long hot summer day, about a concentration of some of the most interesting, funkiest, colourful, imaginative, made-on-a-shoestring gardens you can see anywhere. Oh yes, they’re beautiful, as well."

"It’s the work of Olmsted, of famed conservatory designers Lord & Burnham and a botanist/plant-explorer named John F. Cowell, who packed the place (Buffalo's Botanical Gardens)with exotic specimens. The building is based on the famous Crystal Palace and Kew Gardens Palm House in England. When it was built in 1897-1899, it was one of the largest public greenhouses in the U.S."

"Garden Walk Buffalo co-chair Jim Charlier, who last summer escorted us through many of the gardens that would be open two weekends later, said “There’s no criteria for entry other than to be in the defined area of the walk and to agree to not sell things during the event. There are no master gardeners, no landscapers, nursery professionals or horticulturists. It’s just people that enjoy gardening.”

Read the full article here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Canadian Garden Writer GW Mini-tour

This weekend we hosted Canadian garden writer Ken Brown (not Buffalo's garden personality Ken Brown - his Canadian version!), and garden radio personality Bruce Zimmerman. Great guys, that REALLY know their stuff and were very complimentary of our gardens and gardeners. I hope they had a good time while here.

We got off to a late start, due to visits to the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, the Erie Basin Marina Trial Gardens, Olmsted's Delaware Park Rose and Japanese Gardens, National Garden Festival's Front Yard contest, and lunch at a Belgian-beer-themed lunch venue, so I didn't get to all the gardens I'd wanted to, but they did get a whirlwind tour of Garden Walk Buffalo gardens.

We toured from 2:30-7pm. I can't thank Visit Buffalo Niagara for bringing them in for this "fam tour" (familiarization tour). And I can't thank enough the gardeners that allowed us to come through their gardens on a hot and hazy Saturday afternoon.

Here's a smattering of what they saw. You can see these same gardens, for free, in two weeks during Garden Walk Buffalo, June 28 & 29.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Snyder-Clevehill Garden View

National Garden Festival volunteer Craig's garden shed. You can see this garden on Open Gardens Thursdays.
Garden Gate magazine
cover with the shed
from the photo above..
Attended the Snyder-Clevehill Garden View in Snyder, NY this past weekend. Snyder is a fairly well-to-do suburb of Buffalo. The neighborhoods are filled with modest-to-grand homes. About 25 of them were on this tour - a VERY hot day.

I was blown away by some of the gardens. Some were gardens I'd only ever heard about, but had never visited. Two of them have appeared in garden magazines in the past. It was definitely a drive, not a walk. But where ever I went I ran into the same couple that were riding bikes. I think that may have been the best way to view the gardens!

Here's just a few of the dozens and dozens of photos I took (with the new camera!).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The busiest week in Buffalo's gardening history...

One of the Open Gardens on Thursdays and Fridays.

It'll be tough to get through this week. There's just too much going on! Here's a rundown:
Lockport in Bloom garden
  • This past Saturday: Rally Party for the Garden Walk Buffalo gardeners (200+ gardeners come to pick up lawn signs, maps, posters and buy this year's new merchandise). One garden tour Lockport in Bloom. Native Plants Day at Lockwoods Greenhouses: speakers and an author's book signing.
  • This past Sunday: Two garden tours (Snyder-Clevehill Garden View and Lockport in Bloom); reception for the instillation of a garden sculpture by a NYC sculptor at the home of a Garden Walk Buffalo garden.
  • This past Monday: Kickoff of the National Garden Festival's (NGF) Front Yard Contest, making over 15 homes; and the last Garden Walk Buffalo meeting before the event (the largest garden tour in the U.S. with 384 gardens.
  • This past Tuesday: Day two of the Front Yard Contest.
  • Wednesday (yesterday): Day three of the Front Yard Contest - volunteers from the community are invited to pitch in! I have to clean my garden to be ready for Open Gardens on Thursday; a wrap-up meeting for the NGF Garden Art Sale.
  • Thursday (today): 67 Open Gardens open for free; Day four of the Front Yard Garden Contest.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Front Yard Garden Contest 2012

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.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New camera for garden photos

My old  point-n-shoot stopped pointing and shooting a week or more ago. Bummer. I liked that camera. But I figured this was a good opportunity to trade up to a digital SLR camera (Nikon D3000) that takes significantly better quality photos.

I've been fortunate enough to have some of my photos published in gardening magazines -- all from that little pocket-sized, point-n-shoot camera. But being a designer, I know that the images, while decent, were not magazine quality. Nor did the old camera allow me to take large-file photos suitable for full-page photos or large blow-ups.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Steve's shade garden

Where Steve sits to watch his garden grow.
One of the best seats on Garden Walk Buffalo,
not that anyone sits during the Walk!
My neighbor Steve has a very colorful garden with nary a flower in it. His garden is dappled shade and filled with hostas (from extra large to miniature) and coral bell, mostly. There are a few flowers here and there, but they are not the highlight of the garden.

Steve's garden can be seen on Garden Walk Buffalo and on the National Garden Festival's Open Gardens Thursdays (check the link for location and open hours.

His house is only about five houses away from mine, and every time I visit it, I am startled by the massive number of plants in the small space and the variation on the color green throughout the yard. He's got a keen sense of color, texture and placement of plants. As with any Buffalo-style garden, there's artwork incorporated into the garden, garden art and some found or "repurposed" art, as well as the occassional fossil to look for.

There are many larger and splashier gardens on the Walk (there's 384 this year!) but this one is one of my favorites. Don't tell the others.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Proven Winners and Buffalo Spree magazine have proven they're winners

Random shot of my garden, not sure where I'll add my free plant!
Garden Walk Buffalo (GW) has grown from a small block club garden tour with 28 gardens, 18 years ago, to be the largest garden tour in the U.S. with 384 gardens and is a genuine tourism event attracting 60,000-plus visitors, 20% of which come from outside of Erie and Niagara counties (including Canada). It's proven to have a direct economic impact of around $3.4 million to the local economy.

Oso Happy (TM) Petit Pink Rosa
And the tour is all free, thanks to donations from visitors and fans, the work of dozens of volunteers, and generous corporate sponsorships from local companies.

This year, for the first time, we have a national sponsor in Proven Winners ColorChoice Flowering Shrubs. Not only are they sponsoring us at our highest $$ level, but they've also sent pallets of shrubs to Buffalo so that every Garden Walk gardener gets a free shrub to add to their garden.


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