Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Great Weekend at the Buffalo Garden Walk

I left my weeds to improve in size and quantity this weekend in order to enjoy hundreds of beautiful gardens on the other side of the border in Buffalo.  Over 300 fine citizens opened their gardens so that I and thousands of others could stroll through their 'hood and admire their fine work.  

Not only was I able to enjoy their work, it was grand to be able to say hello and find out more about the challenges and triumphs of their garden.  Like this one:

Here is Rob Petersen.  He's lived in his house for over 40 years. 

He has a garden of abundance - brimming with sweet smelling old-fashioned plants. 

I've come across many signs in tour-gardens over the years - usually starting with the word "Don't".  How refreshing to be compelled to "duck for low hanging branches and squeeze past plants sticking out in the pathways".  Adventure garden touring at its finest.

So we ducked under the Rose of Sharon allee, down the side of the house

Until we came to the wall of plants.  See how many varieties you can count:  Impatiens, Ipomea, Helichrysum, Lantana, Pachystachys lutea, Tagetes, Salvia, Lobelia, Nasturtium, Isotoma......

This will give you a little bit of an idea of the size of the wall and the number of pots - Kevin is about 6'4" or so.  Check out the wooden structure behind on the wall that the pots are secured to - old Christmas Trees!  And yes, Rob takes out the watering wand and gives them a drink every day.

you can see even more varieties of plants from this angle.  Rob had another sign beside the Heliotrope inviting us all to have a good sniff.

Lots of lovely dahlias.

Took this so you can see the size of the garden and to show you some of the little pathways that you needed to squeeze through - little did I know I'd be playing duelling digitals:

The first day we'd started in the Cottage district.  Tiny wee homes and wonderful gardens:

Annexing hell-strips seems to be an approved sport in Buffalo.  When I look at a garden like this, I'm thinking I need to plant things a little closer.

So many good ideas.  Isn't this a lot prettier than just a big plastic black surface?

The phlox are well ahead of mine.  And not a bit of mildew on any of them.

I wonder if people bring the blossoms to the paint store to choose their house colour?

A good reminder to one and all - if you've got an empty spot, just fire in one of your houseplants.

And if the flowers weren't enough there were dogs and some kitties to adopt.

Even though there isn't a lot of yard, look how the vines, pots and perennials make everything look good.

I'm rethinking my beige house.

Nothing like a pair of guard poodles to keep things in order.

This gets my ultimate coordination award.

Look at the concrete pad at the base of the stairs.

My award for the best use of semi-tropicals.  I covet all these colourful leaves.

There I am peaking out from behind the foliage:

Every inch of this garden was a picture.

I don't think this was on the tour - but so pretty all the same.

It is sensible to get rid of the grass when your front garden is petite.

The Hemerocallis were particularly pretty.

And in no particular order - colourful homes & gardens:

The steps may be crumbly, but I defy you to find any plants better cared for:

Not only do they keep this house looking fabulous:

The owner made a little 1:20 reproduction.  

Kevin purse-guarding while I ran to to the other side of the house to take a photo.

That morning when we left the hotel - we pulled out the map - and set off in the wrong direction.  When we finally figured out our mistake, turned around, found our street and parked the car - I took this picture in the first garden we looked at - know what that blue building is in the back....yes, that's our hotel.  We could have walked.  Oh well, never mind.

A newer area, with equally passionate gardeners:

No one seems to be spared from the emerald ash borer - look at the holes:

Look at the tree:

The garden at Evergreen:
The security guard was kind enough to take me out to have a look - would have missed it otherwise.

I bet there's a story for absolutely everything in this front garden.

We spoke to the homeowner.  Kevin said how great the front door looked - she remarked it was nice to be able to spend money on something that people could see rather than just upkeep of this wonderful old home.

The adjoining lot used to be have a home.

Unfortunately, every time they go to add more garden, they end up harvesting stone from the old home.

This is what happens when you visit so many gardens - there's so much to show.  Pretty window boxes here:

Lovely cool shade beside the two homes.

Quite surprised to find this double Hydrangea quercifolia.  The owner said he'd had it for about 12 years - a Home Depot death watch plant - felt so sorry for it he brought it home.  With the cold winter he lost a fair bit and cut it back by a third - definitely thinking some of my birthday money should be spent on one.

And for those of you who believe the only good gnomes are dead gnomes:

And the last area we visited on the former (1900) Fargo Mansion grounds:

From here it was off for lunch, Penzeys Spices and the border.  What a great weekend.

For anyone who is interested in visiting next year - it will be the 21st anniversary of the Buffalo Garden Walk - mark off the last weekend in July, find a hotel - one day isn't enough, you'll want to do both.  

I'm planning a return visit, after all once they've got this house painted, I'm dying to know what colours they'll choose for their garden:


Jim/ArtofGardening.org said...

Great post Barbara! I will be sharing this on the Garden Walk Facebook page! I would have loved to have seen you - I'm only a block from Penzey's spices! But you do have a photo of my former house - the yellow one whit the caption "
It is sensible to get rid of the grass when your front garden is petite." Glad you enjoyed the Walk - you got around!

Jim/ArtofGardening.org said...

Oh - and Rob Peterson's wall is amazing. My wife and I have known Rob for, more than 25 years!

Barbarapc said...

Hi Jim - will be sure to find you next time. The Penzeys neighbourhood is lovely - Kevin said that if we lived in Buffalo, he'd want to try to live there - the main drag has so much to offer and the homes are just beautiful. At least (by accident) I found one of your homes! A brilliant event - everyone should be very proud of themselves.
p.s. Rob's was amazing - from concept to execution!

Anonymous said...

talking about the Fargo Estate homes..you should have posted a picture of 81 Fargo...that garden was amazing!

Anonymous said...

81 Fargo was Buffalo Bloomed AND in the Garden Walk.

Barbarapc said...

Went back to my pictures to see if I might have a shot - sadly must have been looking up at the birds and missed it completely - will definitely go back and have a look next year - sooooo many great gardens and not enough time.

Anonymous said...

What great walks & great weather!

Jennifer said...

We Nova Scotians have the same wacky taste in house colors. My childhood home was Pepto Bismol pink when we moved in. Then my Mom made it two shades of grey and then finally has siding put in that was dull olive green.
One of these days I must get to Buffalo for the garden tour. It looks great! Laughed about the gnome and saw a few houses I wouldn't mind trading my house in for! Love that wall of plants. It's got me thinking...

Barbarapc said...

You've got to go Jennifer - there's just so much to see and the gardeners are terrific to talk to. Kevin and I definitely will be going back. And, I'm thinking it's time for a trip down east too - it's been at least 10 years since we visited Nova Scotia - so many lovely towns & so many wonderful gardens.