Visitor's most-asked Garden Walk questions...

Q: Where'd you get the mirrors? 
A: I made them, dollar store mirrors, and the big mirror was left over from the bathroom redesign.
Q:  What's that vine on the left?  A: Dutchman's Pipe. On the right is a chocolate five-leaf akebia.
Q: You made that fountain!?   A: Yes. Scanned in coral bell leaves and cut them out of copper in three sizes for accuracy.
Q: Where'd you get the fish head?  A: From our friend Lulu in Texas. It was a gift - she made us guess what it was.
It's a rain downspout scupper. But we'd only see it in action if it were raining (when we're not outside), so I made it a fountain.
No questions. Just wanted Susan Cohan to see my garden DOES have balls. Small bouncy ones.
Q: Is that bamboo? That can grow here? In these winters?  A: It's black cane bamboo, yes, I know it's invasive. It's nine years old. It grows in Japan and China - they have winters. Our daughter's only question when we planted it was, "Will it attract pandas?"
Q: Where'd you get the copper leaf?  A: I made that too. Cut out copper roof flashing and added the aged patina over night.
Q:  Where'd you get the rug?  A: Gaiam. It's made of recycled soda bottles.
Q: Did you make the hypertufa?  A: Yes. I made that too.
Q: what's going on here?  A: Unfinished Garden Walk project. In a quandary as what to plant.
Grass? Black mondo grass? Vinca? Any ideas for me? It's both full sun and deep shade.
Q: Whose idea was the Harry Potter Garden?  A: Mine, supported by creative plant choices by my daughter.
Q: What's the purple plant?  A: Persian Shield.
Q:You Really got these rocks from these places?  A: Really.
Q: Where'd you get that extra-long picnic table?  A: I'm afraid I made that too.
Q: Where'd you get the sign?  A: My friend Siobhan in Florida and her Garden Fairy friends made it for me.
We're still looking for a bell for it.
Q: What's the vine around the raised bed?  A: It's not a vine. It's an idea I stole from Monet's garden in Giverny -- it's a dwarf apple tree formed as a knee-high fence.
Q: That's a torch? Where'd you get that?  A: Made it.
Q: What kind of vine is that?  A: It's not a vine, it's four pear trees. 
Q: A pear vine?  A: No, espaliered dwarf pear trees.
Q: So it's not a vine?  A: No.
Q: You collected all the Garden Walk posters? That's such a great idea!  A: I designed the top row of posters. Sue Hough, another GW board member, designed the rest. Plaque-mounted posters are given to garden Walk Buffalo committee volunteers each year. This year's poster will be added this week.
Q: Where'd you get the awesome grate?  A: Garbage-picked from Amherst, NY (a Buffalo suburb). My garden pal Nancy saw a neighbor throw it out and said she couldn't use it. I think I was there before she hung up the phone.

Q: I thought "Mike Shadrack" would be taller.  A: He is in person


  1. Sounds like a good idea Jim and thank you for answering them here. I might have asked several of them myself...Love the wine bottle torch. gail

  2. You crack me up! I KNEW your garden had balls. How many people did you have this weekend???

  3. Gail,
    I wasn't as snarky answering questions in person. But the woman that insisted that Garden Walk Buffalo was a competition, I did get a little insistent back. When I told her I was the president of the organization - she didn't even back down then. She was sure that people were getting prizes and awards. She would know better than I. Feel sorry for her husband. He's probably never won an argument.

    Overall count (as counted by my neighbor) was down. We usually get just under 3,000 in two days. This year it was under 2,000. We may have had a few more at our garden than he did (it's a bit more open, and can be seen partially from the street). Overall I think GW had between 50,000 and 60,000 - but they may have been dispersed better. For every gardener that said they had less people, I heard from another they had more - and way more.

  4. I swear many folks live by the rule that if they don't listen, they can't ever be wrong.

    Will be sure your garden is at the start of our tour next year. Have a look at the Carex family - for your checkerboard - little/big/striped/some native/some exotic/hardy and evergreen, although with your snow cover, you'll just have to take my word for it.

    Jim, do you suppose your org would have enough pull to do some signage at the border just before you have to commit to which road you need to take - we hadn't planned as well as we should have and confronted with interstate Hwy signs and cars on a tear - a nice big sign saying Garden Walk - Follow X to Y would have been terrific.

  5. Barbarapc,
    I will check out carex. That's a great idea to have a sign or something just off the Peace Bridge. We've also thought of getting a garden center on the Canadian side of the bridge to be a GW sponsor, so that maps are available and accessible for Canadians that travel here each year. We just haven't had the volunteers to make that happen.

  6. "Q: what's going on here? A: Unfinished Garden Walk project. In a quandary as what to plant.
    Grass? Black mondo grass? Vinca? Any ideas for me? It's both full sun and deep shade."

    My answer (to every gardening question): Pea Gravel.

  7. Alex M.,
    You have a dog. It should be referred to as "pee gravel."

  8. Loved this Q&A!!! Giggled a fair few times and learned a couple of things too. Would love to read more Q&As with other garden owners :)

  9. Great blog and it's nice to see the wonderful job you did with your garden, Jim. In the 8 years since we've been here in Indy, Robin and I did a lot of planting, had a new deck and multi-level patio installed and last year everything was coming together. Not as elaborate as your garden, but somewhat respectable. This year with the drought and heat we're experiencing, just about everything has been decimated or weakend, despite our illegal watering. (there's serious restrictions). Guess we have to start over next year!

  10. Felicia,
    The only other GW gardener with a blog that does a "most-asked" question can be found here:

    So sorry for your loss... of a garden. It may not be as bad as you think. Most plants (especially grass) go into a dormancy when they hit temps outside of their high and low ranges. They can last for weeks, if not a couple months, being dormant before real damage sets in. I'll be curious as to how much of your garden comes back, when rain does eventually come back. If this drought extends over multiple seasons, you're screwed! It's only been eight years? It seems like so much longer!

  11. Wow, your garden sure has filled in and matured. Can't get over how ambitious you are and do yourself. Love the rock garden. Reminds me of the front of the Chicago Tribune building. Check it out next time you are in Chi if you haven't already. I also think gravel might be interesting with the solid blocks.

  12. Linda,
    I looked up the Tribune Tower rocks online - so cool to incorporate them into the architecture. Th garden has matured, but I keep moving things around, so it'll never be finished.

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