Friday, May 30, 2014

The Coral Bells are ringing

My coral bells (heuchera) are looking great. They're really the first color in the garden each year, even before the snowdrops and daffodils. I planted this bed two years ago to feature the handmade copper coral bell fountain I made. A couple plants burned up last summer, and a couple didn't make it through the winter (the seem to heave out of the ground a bit) but the ones that survived are happy, as you can see in these photos taken yesterday.

I maintain  the the heuchera are a better choice for your garden than most perennials and even annuals. They come in so many colors (reds, golds, yellows, chartreuse, green, purple – dappled, veined, variegated), textures (smooth, fuzzy, shiny) and sizes – and keep their color throughout the year – even under the snow. Rather than spending beaucoup bucks on seasonal coleus for color, heuchera are a much better value.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My Garden in the News

I had nothing to do with this, I swear.

As I was paging through a special Buffalo News supplement this morning, the Discover magazine, I was noticing hat Garden Walk Buffalo was not listed in any of the events or festival listings. Just as I was putting on my Garden Walk marketing hat and telling myself I was going to have to write a letter to the magazine's editor, I turned the page and saw, not only a full-page article on the Walk, but a quarter-page photo of my house!

This is not one of my photos or the Garden Walk's collection of Don Zinteck photos, which means it's a Buffalo News file photo.

I'm a marketing guy, and am surely one to promote my own garden profusely (why else would one have a garden blog?), but it's kinda nice to have my garden promoted and recognized (other than by me) because I'm doing something right as a gardener.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mike Shadrack is ready to unfurl

Shown is the hosta 'Mike Shadrack' as it bursts forth from the ground. This hosta is named for Western New York's most notorious hosta aficionado Mike Shadrack, garden author, speaker and first shift, sub-chief assistant gardener at Smug Creek Gardens.

It is described as Medium green with a medium gold margin, extremely cupped and rugose on a vase-shaped clump, scentless, with broadly ovate leaf shapes and a dull leaf texture. Just to be clear that is the description for the hosta, not the man, though they share some qualities.

I don't like gnomes in my garden (Gno Gnomes!!). I'm sort of like the Chelsea Flower Show that way, but I do allow just this one. It was a gift from Mike Shadrack. The man, not the hosta. Not being happy about having a gnome in the garden, but too polite to ditch a gift so easily, I've named him Sbadrack the Gnome.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Succulant frame update

The succulent frame made it through winter, though all the succulents did not. I've had to purchase some and steal some from other parts of my garden to fill out the frame a bit more. There's mostly varieties of hens & chicks. There's a few different sedums too. And one Ice Plant, just for the heck of it. I fully expect to spend a good amount of time trimming things, if some do take off.

I'm going to leave it here on the ground, just below the spot it will hang until the garden tours start visiting. I want them to have as much time to root and make themselves more secure before it gets lifted again. It's heavy - but liftable. I carried it from the basement to outdoors and then from one spot to another by myself (and a handcart).

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Buffalo garden in miniature

This is a model.

I've showed this in progress in a past post here. The model, including garden is now done. My friends Arlan and Dom, long-time Garden Walk Buffalo gardeners (Arlan was the chairperson for five years!) have finished their scale model of their circa 1900 home. 

And it is awesome. The detail is impressive. I cannot imagine the hours they spent on it. I've visited the Minatur Wunderland Hamburg, a model train exhibition that covers multiple floors of a warehouse in Hamburg, Germany. This rivals that in exquisiteness, if not scale.

They're debating on putting it out to be on view during Garden Walk this summer. There's some logistics they'd have to work out - like someone to watch over it for two days. It's too valuable to have someone accidentally damage something.

When it comes to the nearly 400 gardens of Garden Walk Buffalo, I am supposed to be impartial – as a past president myself, and the chair of the marketing committee (handling all the media requests) – but this is my favorite garden, besides my own, of course. But Arlan and Dom are my favorite gardeners. I don't think there's anyone that knows them that would argue with that.

Friday, May 9, 2014


Spring has technically sprung. It's been a long winter – we got proof of it today when our balanced-billing heating fuel bill went up $50 a month.

The hellstrip with its scurvy grass -
more clover and other weeds than actual grass.
But it was in the low 70s today and beautifully sunny. After work I was able to get out and chop down some of those dried hay-like clumps of spent grasses I left out for "winter interest." I did a little neatening up of the front yard, enjoying the bed of tulips and spring whatnot. Cleaned up the hellstrip a bit - hoping to take more of that scurvy grass out in this area this year.

I was able to also able to spread a good heaping of composted leaves on top of everything. I had a large garbage can full from the leaves I chopped up  with my mower in the driveway last fall. They got chopped up pretty small and were perfect for dressing the garden now.

Heard the sound of mowers in the neighborhood. Even though I don't have to mow now that I have a grassless yard, I like the sound of them – off in the distance. Sounds like spring.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Fun Spanish design store garden items

They may have little meaning to those not in the printing or design, advertising, or fashion industries, but these PMS color pots are now high on my wish list.

We found them in a fun store you must visit if you find yourself in Barcelona. It's at 96 Passeig de Gràcia, directly next door to architect Antoni Gaudí's La Pedrera (Casa Milà). The store's website can be found here.

I'm only showing a few of the garden-related items, but it's a big store and they had hundreds of unique, witty, and clever housewares, furniture, pet supplies, lighting, and lots more. It's one of the most fun stores I've ever been in. I could have stayed there much longer than wife and daughter would have allowed.


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