Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Dripstone Wall Garden, Prague

We ran across this spooky dripstone wall last week when visiting Prague in the Czech Republic. It was in the Wallenstein Palace Garden which did have many other more conventional sections, but this was the part of the garden worth writing home about. Or a blog post about.

Within the dripstone, once in a while, you could make out a scary face, animals, reptiles, secret passages, fake windows, faux caves, claws, allusions to corridors, and other spooky things. It is aptly named the Grotesquery.

We saw it first from the grounds of the Prague Palace, way far above the garden, and thought it was some sort of monument. It was created in the 1620s, by Italian garden designers. The background is a great texture contrast to the trees, shrubs and perennials planted in front of the wall.

I will not be adding a dripstone wall to my own garden (but would love to have a parliament of owls!), but liked this wall and would to have loved to have seen how they light it at night!

Monday, August 27, 2012

A pine tree for a horror movie

Ya' ever seen one of these? it's like a pine tree gone wrong, a mutant pine, or re-imagined by Wes Craven, or sent through Star Trek's transporter and got messed up on the other end. Or all of those.

It's Pinaceae Pinus Attenuata "Knob-cone Pine" a California native, found at the Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The summer home in the back yard

To see this handsome home (below) on Park Street in Buffalo, you'd never know there was a summer home in the back yard (above). This garden is part of the National Garden Festival's Open Gardens, as well as part of Garden Walk Buffalo. I loved the front yard garden and how well the colors mesh with the home itself. I also like the idea of not having a railing on the front porch -- providing an unobstructed view of the garden and pretty neighborhood. They obviously have no young children!

The back wooded, and shady, back yard has this small dutch-doored building with not much more than a big puffy mattress. I asked what the outbuilding was used for and the owner said that it was their summer home - a place to go for a night to get away from the house. They don't have a big ol' summer home and this seems to fill that void every once in a while.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Junk Yard

During the National Garden Festival's Open Gardens this past July, I went to see this junky garden in Lancaster, a small town/suburb of Buffalo. The gardener, Ron, is proud to show you around this wonderfully creative garden -- made of friends' cast-offs and garbage picking. It's hard to photograph because he's layered creative (re)use of stuff on top of layers of used stuff! One man's trash is another man's garden art...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The de Young Museum Garden in San Francisco

The de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco has a wonderfully-art-filled garden surrounding this new (2005) building clad in stone, wood, glass and perforated copper. The design of the garden is intended to complement the museum's design, erasing the boundaries between indoors and out. As a matter of fact, the northeast garden does penetrate the building -- a slice of it becomes an atrium that goes all the way to the basement.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Hamburg Garden

No, not a garden of hamburgers. A garden on the Buzz Around Hamburg Garden Walk. It was held on Saturday and Sunday, July 14 & 15, 2011. Hamburg is a small town just outside Buffalo. There were many nice gardens on this tour, which I'll cover in the future -- I have all winter to show garden photos!

This garden was a surprise -- because I knew the owners! But going into the garden I had no idea it was theirs. This is a garden I'll keep coming back to to see what they've done. And see what ideas I can steal be inspired by.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Best of Buffalo AAA Garden Tour by motorcoach

I was asked to be the tour guide for a "Best of Buffalo" garden tour organized by AAA of Western New York's Horizon Club Tours two weeks before Garden Walk Buffalo. It was put together by the volunteers of the National Garden Festival (thank you Marlene & Rita!) and the local AAA office. It was an all day tour of about a dozen gardens, lunch included. And the bus? With only 50 seats, it has more legroom than other tour buses, it is VERY comfortable, restrooms for those willing to use a bus restroom, and wifi!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Curb appeal in Buffalo

While casually looking through the latest issue of Garden Gate magazine, which arrived yesterday, I saw a picture of my house! It is in an article entitled How to create curb appeal.

My front garden photo has the subhead, "Create vertical interest" and mentioned how some gardens use climbers for vertical interest, but mine uses trailing vines for the same effect - leading to cone-shaped baskets, down to window boxes on the railings.  

Garden Gate magazine has been to Buffalo twice collecting photos and stories from gardens throughout the area. Most shots are used as "stock" photos to illustrate garden befores & afters, reader tips, weed identification, Q&As, test garden notes, design trends, and plant education. So you never know when they'll pull a photo and use it. The photos appear in Garden Gate, or any number of their specialty publications.

Often while looking through Garden Gate I'll see a photo that looks like a garden I know, and usualy it's something shot in Buffalo. There could be more Buffalo area photos in the magazine, but if I'm not familiar with the garden, I would not know it's Buffalo.

I enjoy Garden Gate, it's a very approachable guide to garden design, pants, and plant care, with great features including new plant introductions, an illustrated feature showing three ways to design the same garden, or plants that are good choices for different purposes - this month it's Allan Armitage's top 10 perennial picks (I have to get my hands on the new red "Georgia Peach" coral bells).

My only beef with the magazine is that photos are not attributed. It makes the photos no good for my marketing & PR purposes. Visit Buffalo Niagara, our convention & visitors bureau, usually tracks all published media, but cannot count this among our national press coverage  because it does not mention Buffalo.

Not only that, but because they don't publish the city, or region of the country a photo is taken in - it's hard to tell if what is growing in the photo can be grown in your own neck of the woods! It doesn't seem to be a great benefit for the gardeners reading the magazine. They should at least be attributing the photos to a gardening zone!

All that aside, I'm amazed and pleased that they found some "curb appeal" lessons from my garden. It's not like I set out to make conscious decisions with what I do. I just keep doing similar things each year, learning a little bit more each year as to what works and doesn't work.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Architecture in the garden

Former Garden Walk Buffalo chairperson, Arlan, has built his home into his garden. Already one of my favorite Buffalo gardens, his latest addition is this 1/20 scale version of his house on Norwood Avenue that he's been working on. 

It's not done yet - he's still roofing and has to add railings and other details, but it was complete enough to bring out and set up the Sunday of Garden Walk this year. Saturday had some predicted morning rain, so anyone on the Walk did not get the chance to see it on Saturday. He plans to also recreate his garden as part of the final model. He figures it'll be about eight feet long when he's done.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Eight ideas from Garden Walk Buffalo in Canadian Gardening magazine

In 2010, Visit Buffalo Niagara hosted Canadian Gardening assistant editor Amanda Etty during Garden Walk Buffalo weekend.

The above full-page article ran in this summer's issue (July & August 2012, circulation: 142,912). In addition to Garden Walk Buffalo, she highlighted the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin Complex, Buffalo Olmsted Parks, the Roycroft Campus and National Garden Festival's Front Yard Contest.

We have many visitors from Canada visiting for Garden Walk Buffalo - in the hundreds, if not thousands. The area of Garden Walk is right over the Peace Bridge between the U.S. and Canada. You can pretty much see some of the Garden Walk homes from the bridge.

Thank you Amanda! Thank you Canadian Gardening!


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