Friday, August 29, 2014

A train garden to beat all train gardens...

There are probably many more great train gardens out there, but this is the best I've come across in my travels. Though I have to admit, not being a train person, I don't seek them out. But I am impressed when someone's passionate hobby mashes up with a nice garden.

I should have expected something was up
when I saw this mailbox.
This garden in Hamburg, NY was on the National Garden Festival's Open Gardens - 90+ Open Gardens throughout Buffalo Niagara on Thursdays and Fridays for the month of July.

Here at Dave and Barb's Whit's End, the trainscapes are so well incorporated in to the gardens that it doesn't seem too train-y until you get in close. I didn't see it when the trains were running, but I'm sure it ups the experience even more. This is the first garden among the 90 or so gardens on the Festival's Open Gardens that I could see a kid wanting to stay in.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My favorite garden discovery of 2014's Garden Walk

Like the classic mullet haircut, this garden is formal business in front and all party in the back! Shown above is the front yard garden and it could not be more formal with its four symmetric parterres of Japanese maples, perennials and boxwoods, all surrounding a great water fountain. The garden is on Norwood Avenue, down near the Summer end, for those that know the neighborhood.

Even though its underlying structure is formal, the plantings are looser and more casual, making a strict formal garden feel a little more "Buffalo-like." That may not be true once those outlining boxwoods grow in more together and get trimmed. Trimmed boxwoods instantly give a garden a crisper look.

We like our grassless front yards here in Buffalo, and most fall into the "Cottage-y" category, if they can be classified at all – jam-packed with little regard to spacing and color coordination.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The front yard is the blackyard

I wanted to show off the handsome Garden Walk Buffalo garden of Mark, on Richmond Avenue. I met Mark out at Italian Marble & Granite when I was there choosing the marble and granite scraps I was collecting from their dumpster for my project. Mark was there (for a fourth time, I think) collecting more marble and granite for his Garden Walk projects in his garden. The largest of his projects is seen above - two large "floating" pieces of marble smack dab in the middle of his front yard garden.

He painted the rocks black
with water seal paint.
The front garden is very small, but jam-packed with plants, all perennials. An overall "theme," if you can call it that, is the color black. The marble has much black in it, the mulch is black, and he's even painted the stones in the walkway black. The marble pieces above are resting on blocks that are covered with black marble – giving it that look of floating – as the blocks just disappear.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A hidden house on hosta hill

During the National Garden Festival's Open Gardens, I got to visit the home of Jayette and Steve. I've known them as casual acquaintances for many years and we've talked gardens before, but I never had the chance to go and actually visit their garden. They certainly underplayed their gardening hand! Their house is practically buried in hostas, and they have a spectacular wooded swale separating them from a busy road nearby.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fencing Garden Art

During Garden Walk Buffalo. I got out to visit just a few gardens I've never visited before. Local artist Sally Treanor had been in my garden – not once – but twice on Saturday alone for the Walk and I told her I'd try and get over to Richmond Avenue to see hers in the morning.

One thing Garden Walk Buffalo issue that has never been satisfactorily solved is the ability to have gardeners visit other gardener's gardens. During the Walk, we're all in our own gardens. Before the Walk, it's crunch time and we need the time to work on our own gardens. Following the Walk, and I'm only speaking from my own experience, I'm too tired of seeing and talking gardens that it's hard to muster the energy. 
We have tried though. We used to have either the Pre-Garden Walk Party, or the Thank You Party for the gardeners in people's back yards. That worked nicely – until the parties got too big!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Morty the Corpse Flower, on the verge...

I met Morty! The Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens has a star attraction currently. Morty (short for Morticia) the Corpse Flower (titan arum, Amorphophallus titanum) is set to bloom sometime within the next week. Commonly named because when in full bloom the flower will have the scent of a rotting mammal corpse. The smell will permeate not just the room in which the flower is located, but they are anticipating the smell to permeate the entire botanical gardens facility for the length of its bloom – usually 24-36 hours.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Garden Walk Buffalo Wrap Up

It was an exhilarating and exhausting week. It started on Thursday and never let up until Sunday evening. And then there was more.

Thursday saw Open Gardens, the National Garden Festival's Thursday and Friday free open gardens throughout Buffalo Niagara - 90+ gardens open for free! Mine was one of them – from 2-6 p.m. We did get pretty good traffic through - around three dozen each time we were open on a Thursday. Last year, we may have had two dozen for the entire month of July! It helps to have "Mary's Garden" on my street. That's a garden worth traveling for. Also on Thursday, the judges from Italian Marble and Granite came through to judge the scrap marble and granite "carpet" I made - more on that shortly.

Also on Thursday, around 6:30 p.m. Sally Cunningham, leading one of her AAA/Horizon Club Tours, stopped by on her "Heart of Garden Walk Tour." It was16 tourists, for the better part of an hour, in the garden for a light dinner catered by the Lexington Coop, which is across the street from my house.


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