About me


I’m no great gardener. I’m no great writer either. I’m not even a good photographer. But I like gardens, I like design, I like to travel and like to share. So here’s some gardens I’ve visited, and when I can, I’ll show how I’ve incorporate what I’ve seen in my garden.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so, if you don’t mind, I’ll have more photos and fewer words. If you’re looking for Latin names, plant lists and hardiness zones, this is not the site for you. If you’re looking for inspiration, ideas, and to see gardens you may never have seen, or would like to visit, this site is for you.

From 2006 to 2012, I was president of Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest garden tour in the U.S. – with more than 380 open gardens throughout a walkable portion of the beautiful city of Buffalo. These creative urban gardens are open the last full weekend of July each year. In 2013, it is July 27 & 28, from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Garden Walk Buffalo attracts 60,000+ attendees from around the country and Canada every year.

Garden Walk Buffalo, and dozens of Buffalo gardens have been featured in national media – Better Homes & Gardens specialty publications, Martha Stewart Living online, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal, TheAtlantic.com, Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Garden Gate magazine, Great Backyard Gardens, Backyard Solutions and many other magazines, websites and newspapers.

I am also part of the organizing committee for the National Buffalo Garden Festival -- a six-week-long garden party (last week of June through the last week of July each year) of 14 garden walks, seminars & workshops, nationally-known speakers, garden-themed exhibitions, garden-themed bus tours, a garden art sale, Open Gardens, and the Front Yard Contest where area landscapers make over a public space each year (to date, we'll have landscaped, for free, 53 front yards on Buffalo's Eastside, South Buffalo and Riverside).

There are dozens or partners helping to make this event happen and I work very closely with the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the NYS Certified Nursery & Landscape Association, the District 8 Federated Garden Clubs, and most importantly, the Visit Buffalo Niagara.

As an advertising designer, my clients include Hospice Buffalo, Horizon Health Services, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo Seminary, Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect PC and Lockwoods Greenhouses and dozens more. I am also on the Marketing Advisory Committee of Urban Roots Community Garden Center, the nation's first cooperative garden center.

Garden Walk Buffalo–click on image to buy the book!I've also designed & produced a 120-page coffee-table book on Buffalo's gardens with writer Elizabeth Licata and photographer Don Zinteck. Other books I've designed include Nickel City Chef, Buffalo's Finest Chefs and Ingredients; The Buffalo Philharmonic, the BPO Celebrates the first 75 years; and AUDieu, Buffalo Says Goodbye to Memorial Auditorium.

I own my own advertising design business since 2000, having spent my "formative years" in adverting agencies in Buffalo and briefly, in Rochester, NY.  My work (logos to print advertising to TV spots) have been honored with local, regional & national awards and have appeared in major industry publications.

I am on the Advisory Committee for the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, the Advisory Committee of the Erie County BOCES Graphic Design Technology Program, and have organize annual portfolio review events for the college & university design and advertising students throughout Western New York on and off since 1986. I am a three-time past president of the Art Directors Club of Buffalo – organizing events such as a Contemporary U.S. Poster Design Exhibition, organizing a live painting event with caricaturist Phillip Burke and dozens more. I was also directly involved with the local advertising awards shows (in its many forms & titles) for 22 years in a row. I'm tired now.

I am the fortunate recipient of the 2013 Advertising Club of Buffalo's David I. Levy Award to recognize outstanding achievement and service in the communications industry with have a distinguished record of achievement over an extended period of time, which includes contributions to his/her company, the industry and the community.

I accepted an international garden tourism award on behalf of the National Garden Festival for a Garden Tourism Promotion of the year award by the Garden Tourism Conference in Toronto in March of 2013. The Conference is held by the Canadian Garden Tourism Council.

I've been told that I am the country's second leading garden tourism expert -- by the country's leading garden tourism expert. Mostly, he says, because there is no one else. I've given talks about garden tourism or help gardening groups from around the country help start or further develop their own garden tours. I like to think I've taken my years of experience in advertising and PR and used these powers for good, promoting the image of Buffalo, NY that I see (as opposed to using my powers for evil.) I will not stop until Buffalo is recognized nationally as a great gardening destination. Wish me luck.

Want more? Read these interviews from Buffalo Spree magazine and Buffalo Rising Online.

To see what I do when I’m not doing what I do, visit JCharlier.com.

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