Monday, June 13, 2016

10 of Buffalo's "Can't Miss" Gardens...

 
In no particular order, here are 10 extraordinary gardens you can't miss during Garden Walk Buffalo. There are 406 gardens on the tour this year, not a bad one among them. In my mind, these are some standouts - out of dozens and dozens of standouts. If you go on the tour, make sure you hit up gardens NOT in the densely populated areas of the map. Good gardens are all over.

1. (Above) Baynes Street Eight Paths Garden You'll have to pick up the Garden Walk Buffalo map to find out the exact address of this garden. Mike, the gardener, is a Garden Walk Buffalo volunteer and a great advocate of the Walk. You can also see this garden on Gardens Buffalo Niagara's Tours of Open Gardens - select hours on Thursdays and Fridays throughout July. 


2. 84 Sixteenth Street Joe & Scott's spectacular garden. Dozens and dozens of containers fill out this spectacle of a garden - one of the most colorful gardens on the tour. And Joe, the gardener, is colorblind! Joe's also a long-time Garden Walk Buffalo volunteer and makes the delicious apetizers and baked goods for our gardener thank you parties. It was even photographed for Martha Stewart Living magazine, but the article never ran. You can also see this garden on Gardens Buffalo Niagara's Tours of Open Gardens - select hours on Thursdays and Fridays throughout July.

 
3. 257 Highland Ellen & Mitch's little paradise. The PR maven Ellen and ad agency owner/writer Mitch have found-art creative touches throughout the garden. Mitch, founder of the Ride for Roswell, a large charity bicycling event, has raised millions of dollars for cancer treatment and research, And you can find many bike-oriented creative touches throughout the garden. Their bowling ball totem is a Buffalo classic. You can also see this garden on Gardens Buffalo Niagara's Tours of Open Gardens - select hours on Thursdays and Fridays throughout July.

4. 75 Lancaster Mary's Garden Annabelle & Jim's side lot garden, dedicated to Jim's first wife, Mary, who passed years before he met Annabelle - who came with her own plant collection. Retired now, the two lawyers have only one garden rule - to end the day with a glass of wine and appreciate the work they put into the garden. Don't miss Cornelius' doghouse! This garden has appeared in Better Homes & Gardens' Garden Ideas and Outside Living, People Places Plants, Great Gardens - Solutions for Small Spaces, Containers Made Easy, Great Backyards, and the Garden Walk Buffalo book.You can also see this garden on Gardens Buffalo Niagara's Tours of Open Gardens - select hours on Thursdays and Fridays throughout July.

5. 72 Lancaster Avenue Alec's garden is geared to be at peak on the last weekend of July each year during the Walk. The immaculate garden is actually designed for birds. Alec is a birder that's actually contributed to a book on birds. I swear he cuts the grass with scissors and vacuums up afterwards. Truth be told, it's Alec's garden, but he doesn't live there. it's his parent's house! Seen in People Places Plants, and Garden Gate magazine. You can also see this garden on Gardens Buffalo Niagara's Tours of Open Gardens - select hours on Thursdays and Fridays throughout July.

6. 755 West Delavan Avenue The Guercios. This is a perennial favorite on the Walk with visitors from around the globe and locally stopping by year after year. The Victorian house has been restored by Jennifer and Jim - and the gardens designed and maintained by the pair. This is an old photo - the two pines are no longer there - victims of the October 2006 surprise storm. Don't miss the ginormous koi in the large backyard pond. They over winter in a pond set up in the basement! For Garden Walk, you'll catch Jennifer and in Victorian finery. Seen in Horticulture, Better Homes & Gardens' Garden Ideas and Outside Living, Garden Gate, Backyard Retreat, Containers Made Easy,  People Places Plants, and the Garden Walk Buffalo book.


7. 86 Norwood Ryan's garden looks more like the set from The Sound of Music, the orchestrated garden has a river running through the property, along with bridges, an island and a lighthouse. And that pergola!? To die for.

8. 417 Summer Street Ellie. Everybody's favorite guerilla gardener. Her tiny but charming gardens have been featured in Garden Gate magazine –  even her hellstrip (the area between sidewalk and road) has been featured on the Wall Street Journal's website! The driveway garden is technically a rooftop garden in that the entire garden (trees and all) set on top of a driveway. Every postage-stamp-sized garden on Summer street is a delight. Seen in Horticulture, People Places Plants, Great Backyards, Backyard Retreats magazines and the Garden Walk Buffalo book.You can also see this garden on Gardens Buffalo Niagara's Tours of Open Gardens - select hours on Thursdays and Fridays throughout July.

9. 39 Granger Place Carol and Tom's thoughtful garden. Shown above is the rooftop garden accessible by a sliding library ladder. This is just one unique aspect of this jewel of a small-space garden. The retired architect (Carol) and retired interior designer (Tom) have every square inch planned for maximum plantings and enjoyment - from the urbane pond to the dining pergola to the garage top rain water reclamation system. Seen in Garden Gate, Real Gardens, Backyard Solutions, and Great Backyards magazine.

10. 20 Norwood Avenue This is my favorite garden on the Walk (don't tell the other gardens). This garden, like many others, reflects its owners, Dom and Arlan. It is serene, quiet, smart, charming, and creative, just like the two of them. You'll find the park-like garden will be one of your favorites too. You'll find handmade matching shed and swing in the far back, creative water features, a moss garden complete with handmade village, an outdoor drinking fountain for garden visitors, a garage door-type greenhouse added on to the back of the house, planted stairs, and more. And, if you're lucky, and it's not predicted to rain during the Walk, you just may see the scale model replica they made of the house complete with gardens - it's eight feet long (photo above is the model)! You can also see this garden on Gardens Buffalo Niagara's Tours of Open Gardens - select hours on Thursdays and Fridays throughout July.

11. 215 Lancaster Avenue Okay, I can't leave out my own, so I'm going for 11 of Buffalo's "Can't Miss" Gardens. If I came across my garden on a tour, I'd be sure to like it. The 1896 Dutch Colonial with matching shed has a lush grassless front garden, with a columnar apple tree, suited for the fairy tale looking house with the lightning-shape lightning rod on top. A hanging succulent garden faces a paver and grass checkerboard garden, next to a raised bed potager garden framed by a knee-high espaliered dwarf apple tree fence. A mirrored sitting area with a marble and granite scrap "carpet" sits beside a collection of coral bells (heuchera) with a handmade coral bell water fountain. A multi-level deck, with hot tub, features a super-long handmade picnic table, counters around a cooking area, and diamond-shaped espaliered dwarf pear trees. If that's not enough, there's also a Harry Potter Garden of plants from the Harry Potter books (it's a fictional garden). Seen in Horticulture, Backyard Solutions, Fine Gardening, Great Backyards, and Real Gardens magazines and the books, The Garden Bible, and Garden Up!. It was even photographed for Martha Stewart Living magazine, but the article never ran. And I've never gotten over that. You can also see this garden on Gardens Buffalo Niagara's Tours of Open Gardens - 2-6 p.m. on Thursdays throughout July.

12. 604 Bird Avenue Okay, this one's NOT on the Walk, but you shouldn't miss it. Garden Walk only has one rule – we ask that gardeners participating NOT sell items during the event - no garage sales, rummage sales, plant sales, food sales, art sales and the like. These irreverent gardeners, Brian and Gordon, like to share their plants by selling them. But go see the garden anyway. The infamous tiki bar has seen lots of action over the years, but it's not the only tropical thing you'll find in this garden. It's a lush jungle of winding paths, a pond, water features, sitting areas and unique plant collections. If you go, tell 'em Jim sent you. You can also see this garden on Gardens Buffalo Niagara's Tours of Open Gardens - select hours on Thursdays and Fridays throughout July. (Photo by Gordon Ballard).

5 comments:

  1. All are wonderful, Jim. I have seen so many of them each year I visit. You are right, "not to miss".

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  2. The Best of the Best!

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  3. All true, Jim. Thanks for posting this.

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  4. They are all great, and your garden is among the tops too. Shame if you let it out of the list. West Delavan would be my first visit, then Lancaster Avenue to see that new building.
    Ray

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  5. I have a picture of that fountain in my new bathroom! I agree, it's one of the best and most peaceful garden on the tour.

    Al

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