Thursday, August 11, 2016

Our 5th Annual Shuffle Off to Buffalo!

The last weekend of July is the Buffalo Garden Walk.  It's our tradition to go down for an overnight so that we can see as many gardens as possible.  This year, being a special birthday, we decided to go early and stay an extra night in order to do a couple more/different things.  Mum was kind enough to come out to spoil Bart and Hercules.

We booked a tour of Graycliff - the Martin summer home on Lake Erie - about 25 minutes or so out of Buffalo and a very easy drive.  We've both read a lot about Frank Lloyd Wright and seen photos of his homes, but never been inside one.

You aren't permitted to take photos of the interior, so you'll just have to take my word for it that the two-hour tour was great. Carol, our docent, did a superb job explaining the history of the building; the acquisition by the conservancy and the restoration.  The home looks very large on the outside, and yet inside it seems small - certainly by today's standards of "rich people's homes" - the rooms were tiny - bedrooms big enough for a bed, closet and washroom; kitchen utilitarian, small, but with the mod-coms of the day.  Even in spaces where there were higher ceilings, it still felt small.  It left me wanting to see more of his buildings.  The views, as Mrs. Martin had insisted were fantastic from every room.  

The garden certainly didn't interfere with the structure or make it any less impressive.  It's a place you visit to see the building and hear about it, not luxuriate in a garden.  These are cut and come Zinnias that were planted to the far left of the home for colour inside and outside the home.

The water feature from the front of the building looking into the property.

Cameras came out on the upper bedroom floor:

Ah, the whims of the wealthy - a window in a fireplace!

The fireplace had to be completely rebuilt - note the numbers to aid putting Humpty Dumpty back together again.

When F.L.W. was in the slammer - Mr. Martin used the opportunity to go to Bethlehem Steel and order this less-than-elegant-although-effective platform down to the beach.  The walkway that spanned the gap has been removed.

The Brothers who owned the building had bricked this area up for a chapel - part of the restoration brought it back to its 1929 glory.

On the way back we stopped off at the Public House - it was written up in the local paper and given a great rating - the outside is a little biker-bar-ish and without a recommendation, we might have continued on.  When we got inside to put our name down for a table there was a 45 minute wait - fortunately 6 grumpy people stormed off declaring that no restaurant was worth that kind of a wait, and so presto! our wait was less than 10 minutes.

And when we did get in - this was our view.  Not bad.  Food was very good - and an excellent selection of craft beer.  Nothing like an afternoon sitting up a'top a cliff overlooking a Great Lake.

Back into Buffalo on Saturday we did an abbreviated Garden Walk starting up around Soldiers Circle.  

Our first garden involved tiptoeing down a pathway with Kevin saying, "Are you sure this place is on the tour?"  Of course it was - had a discussion with the gardener about the drought and the struggle to have plants look good for this weekend. It looked great.

Melton Manor was a walk-around garden.  What a fantastic old building (1905) and what a great garden:

Who wouldn't want to live here?

Again, for anyone who has yet to go on the walk, not only are the tour gardens great, you'll see plenty pretty gardens and lovely homes along the route.

How's this for a dedicated flower-basket waterer!

Lisianthus - such a pretty plant

And for those of you who prefer pink.  Here you go:

The dahlias were against the neighbour's home, but Kevin wasn't going to move until I took a photo of them.

Pretty from every angle.

Kevin wanted to know if there was a apparatus that was suspended over this full garden to weed - I'm thinking, if you plant it this full, you need never weed ever again.

Trim and matching red flowers - excellent.

Those on the tour have the option of showcasing their front, their side, or their back garden - or sometimes all three.    This was a back-garden:

You're still not there....

And voila, this tidy garden:

It's not everyone who is brave enough to really have a butterfly garden with Milkweed.....but this intrepid gardener says it's all about the butterflies

and the rain garden:

We had a great chat about her garden, and she gave us a heads up about another garden on Bird Street that wasn't on the tour (they sell plants - verboten for tour gardens) and well worth the look.

Here's this remarkable garden - obviously a couple with the collecting gene:

Good colour echo:

Looks like you could use these for house-cleaning.

Lovely and stinky:

I used to grow Tithonia.  Am thinking now with all the trees I've lost, perhaps I should look at growing it again.

Selfie with Kevin in the garden:

Kevin fiddled with his phone for a bit, and I went back to see the part of the garden I'd missed:

It certainly is a summer for anything that likes it hot and dry:

Clever thing to do with a smoke bush - when they're not smoking, they can be rather dull, but if you cut off their arms, look at how the new appendages show off.

A few more bits before I joined Kevin out on the street:

And a Frank Lloyd Wright home that it would appear, someone actually lives in.  I covet that planter.

Lots of colour and care involved in this little paradise:

No room for a vegetable garden you say....this one is on top of their garage:

This is the back garden:

Blooming right on cue.

This is the part of the garden that leads down to the back garden:

Another couple of shots of the front garden:

This gardener has a bright sunny front garden and deep shade section in the back - I asked if I might take her photo in her favourite part of the garden:

Appreciated for its beauty by gardeners, visitors and neighbourhood pussy cats:

We visited one more garden before we headed over to see Jim's new shed, and of course Jim, from Art of Gardening.  These were just random delightful gardens on the way...

How could I not have my photo taken with the buffalo?

So it was back to the car, grab a sandwich at the Co-op and over to Jim's house.  It was looking fabulous as you would expect it to:

and of course, the shed:

We had a great couple of days and saw lots of fabulous Buffalo gardens and gardeners.  I'm clearing the calendar for next year.  Whether we spend two full days just touring gardens, or a hit and run like we did this year, this is one event not to be missed.


JCharlier said...

What a great post - not only did you cover my garden, but I am Vice-President and Chair of the Marketing Committees for both Graycliff AND Garden Walk Buffalo's over-seeing board! And you covered many of my friend's gardens too. The one with the Buffalo - they're coming over for dinner tonight! It was good to see you ever so briefly in my garden. Thanks for this post -I'll be sharing it broadly on both the Graycliff and Garden Walk Facebook pages.

Jim/ said...

..and I can see your legs in the "Mirror of Erised" in the second to the last photo!

Barbarapc said...

I enjoyed it all - from the top to the very tips of my toes!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

LOL .. I had to go back and look at that photo too for some odd reason ? haha
Wow ... how did youo handle the heat Barb girl .. I would have melted .. but to see all those plants and gardens plus assorted garden art .. terrific !!
Wish I could do it some time too.
Bucket list ? haha
Great photos girl ! Thanks !
PS .. what is the story behind the buffalo I wonder.

Jim Charlier said...

The story behind the buffalo is that, years ago, Buffalo had an exhibition of fiberglass buffaloes designed/adorned/re-engineered by area artists and were placed all around Buffalo. Most were auctioned off, but at the closing event, that buffalo was being raffled off – and my friends, the owner of that garden, won! Nicknamed "Millie", the buffalo is painted like millefiore (a million flowers).

Barbarapc said...

Hi Joy - we just went slowly. There was a lot of cloud cover, so that worked in our favour too - when our faces started to turn red - it was back into the a/c'd car! I'd say, definitely give it a whirl - the only hard part is the wait at the border, and if you do the crossing during the week...not so bad. We spent a little more than we usually do, and of course the Canadian $$ is down the dumper. But housing and food costs in the area (even for a special dinner) were so much more reasonable than in the GTA. I'd say - make the plan and do it!
Thanks for that Jim! Toronto had fibreglass moose - every now and again you still come across one of the beasts - they were raffled as well. Your friends scored with Millie - she's just wonderful.

Jennifer said...

Barbara, it was great to meet you on Garden Walk, and thank you for highlighting my neighbors homes and gardens (I shared your post with them and they love it!). Thanks also for your kind words about my tiny treehuggers garden. I hope the (freakishly tall) milkweed habitat supports monarchs, and the rain gardens capture stormwater runoff and curb combined sewer overflows. I love giving folks a few new ideas about combining ecological function with beauty- and it was great to speak to someone who already got it! Oh, and the milkweed bugs call you Saint Barb and send their eternal thanks! Best regards- Jen

Glädjekällan said...

Thanks for all inspiration.

Barbarapc said...

Jennifer - It was a delight to meet you too! So great to be able to showcase even a pocket-sized garden that's doing its part to improve the environment. Often people feel helpless - not enough room, not enough time - your garden showed that rain gardens are beautiful, effective and easy ways for gardeners and homeowners to do their part to help keep and improve the environment.
Birgitta - you're most welcome.