Friday, August 30, 2013

The Giusti Garden in Verona, Italy

You'd be hard-pressed to find a classic Italian garden more beautiful than the Giusti Garden in Verona Italy, just a short walk from the city center. Verona's most visited site is probably Juliet's balcony from Romeo & Juliet -- a tourist trap if ever there were one. (Juliet never existed and the balcony never existed until the city chose one!)

Snow White looking for
her Prince Charming.
But this garden? It's no trap. Its' a genuine Renaissance garden, built in 1580, with terraces up the side of a hill, a hedge maze, parterres, a belvedere (overlook), greenhouse, and classic statuary.

As you can see from the photos there was not a lot of color in the garden - who needs it when you have this to look at every day? The day we were there, a professional photographer and models dressed as Cinderella and Prince Charming were being photographed. What a perfect backdrop for a fairy tale photo shoot.

It is said that garden design, originally, was spiritually inspired to represent heaven on earth. If heaven looked like this, I would not be disappointed. Then again, I'm trying to make my own back yard into my own little version of heaven -- and it looks nothing like this!

Monday, August 19, 2013

"Eternal" flame garden sconces

An easy outdoor sconce that doesn't need wiring, doesn't get burned out bulbs, looks good and takes just minutes to set up using some plumbing parts and an inexpensive solar light. It is the brainchild of my friend Alex at the blog Living the Small Life. They have about a dozen of them around their yard. And here's a photo of her garden. When they moved in it was a huge tree and a muddy, root-filled backyard. Having a dog, and knowing they went away every other weekend in the summer, meant this low-maintenance stone patio made MUCH more sense for all of them.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The hanging gardens of Babylon (Long Island)

Went to visit a friend in Babylon Long Island over the weekend. Around the corner from her house, a neighbor had the best use of a chain link fence in a garden we've ever seen. The fence was covered in vining vegetables - zucchini, squash and Chinese long beans. I was told the owners run the local Chinese restaurant. It looked awesome from a distance and even better close up.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House Complex Gardener in Country Gardens Magazine

Did anyone catch Buffalo's own Nellie Gardner in a four-page spread in the Summer (May) issue of Country Gardens magazine?

Nellie works on her farm in Spencerport, NY – but she's also the Horticulturalist  at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Martin House Complex. At the Martin House Complex she oversees the volunteer gardeners, and helps plan (ongoing) historically accurate (or appropriate-for-the-times) restoration of the gardens according to the master landscaping plan, originally devised by Wright's chosen landscape designer for the property, Walter Burley Griffin (1876-1937). The landscape design for the grounds of the complex is harmonious with the overall composition of buildings. It included a semi-circular garden containing a variety of plants chosen for their blossoming cycles to ensure blooms throughout the season. This is one of the garden features they'll be looking to recreate.

But when Nellie's not here in Buffalo working on historical restoration of gardens, she's at home in Spencerport, at her 2-acre cut flower farm, Flower Fields. With a Cornell University degree in agronomy, and after having been a county extension vegetable specialist and an agricultural consultant. She supplies local wholesale florists, custom area weddings,  as well as regular local customers. There are plenty of beautiful photos of her gardens and a photo-guide to creating a fresh bouquet.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Garden Tourism the book is out, and Buffalo's part of it

The first-ever book on garden tourism, aptly titled Garden Tourism, is finally out. The book, written by Dr. Richard Benfield, Associate Professor of Geography at the Central Connecticut State University, is an academic tome covering the history of and the evolving of garden tourism from early Egyptian times (around 1,500 BCE), to the time the book was published earlier this year. It's exhaustive.

My babies Garden Walk Buffalo and Buffalo's National Garden Festival
get a page-and-a-half in the first-ever book on garden tourism.
And Garden Walk Buffalo and Buffalo's National Garden Festival were well represented with a page and a half! In the chapter titled "Outdoor Garden Festivals" there is a brief intro on the origins of Garden Walk Buffalo–its byproduct/outgrowth the National Garden Festival–and stats and research data we've collected over the years from zip code collection and consumer surveys with the help and financial support of Visit Buffalo Niagara.

Richard, who has visited Garden Walk Buffalo, and visited Buffalo on other occasions, is a great advocate for the garden tourism efforts we're putting forth.

Along with the entry on Garden Walk and the Garden Festival, Richard had some kind words about me in his preface, and had me write an endorsement/quote/review for the back of the book, which reads:

Friday, August 2, 2013

What I saw on Garden Walk Buffalo


For me, all garden tours start and finish here.
For the first time ever, I spent all day Saturday in my own garden for Garden Walk. I did get out and about to a few gardens throughout the weekend though. A couple were for parties, or errands as I helped run around Friday dropping off Garden Walk Buffalo headquarter materials. On Sunday morning I headed out by bike (car parking is too frustrating around the HQs). Here is just some of what I saw. Some of these gardens I'll post about in the future.

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