I consider myself fairly well-versed when it comes to the region's gardens. Every once in a while, I find a garden that is a real surprise – that I didn't know existed – and this is this year's. This is the garden of Carole and John Hajnosz, in Hamburg, NY. It actually backs up to the Wanakah Country Club's golf course, very near Lake Erie.
It is on Garden Buffalo Niagara's Tours of Open Gardens. I'm vice president of Gardens Buffalo Niagara, and I help, tangentially, with putting on this tour of 70+ gardens open for select hours on Thursdays and Fridays throughout Eire and Niagara Counties in the month of July.
Carole and John have been working on this one-acre property for 25 years. He described it to me as looking like a football field when they moved in. Brick, grass, stone, and slate paths meander throughout the space, alternating open spaces with densely planted narrow paths.
His original plan was to build an arboretum, but didn't think he had enough room. It is a small-scale arboretum no matter what he says! There are ornamental trees, fruit trees, and mini, dwarf and standard conifers. He's got an ever-increasing collection of azaleas, rhododendrons, and hydrangeas – and dozens of other flowering shrubs.
There's also a healthy amount of annuals, vegetables and herbs.
The secret to the lushness? Good soil and composted cow manure. That's really no secret to a gardener.
Carole is a hosta collector and has more than 300 varieties of those – and daylilies, and spring and summer flowering bulbs. She even grows hostas from seeds. And hybridizes her own daylilies!
John tells me his favorite season is spring when the flowering shrubs and trees are in bloom and the perennials are at their most lush and newly green.
I spent about an hour wandering the paths and talking to John, and his other visitors. The front of the house doesn't have as varied and dense plantings and I was nervous entering the chain link fence, not knowing what I was getting into. But one step beyond the fence and you can start to see the work of two people that live for their plants and garden. Their love for it shows around every corner. Their garden is a delight.
You can visit this garden on our Tours of Open Gardens on Fridays in July from 5-8pm.