Thursday, August 17, 2017

No Summer is Complete Without a Visit to Buffalo

Kevin and I have been going to the Buffalo Garden Walk for about five years now.  This year, knowing that we'd be visiting many of the gardens at the Garden Writers Association Conference, we skipped our annual visit.  For those of you who may not know about the Walk, on the last weekend of July there is a free self-guided garden tour of over 400 private gardens.  If you love poking around other folks' gardens and enjoy talking to the gardeners who created these little bits of paradise, this is THE event of the summer season.  Around 60,000 visitors from around the world, scatter around the city to take in as many gardens as they can.  They choose a neighbourhood or two, or three or four, park the car, or their bikes and wander through the open gardens that are marked with bright yellow signs.

For any of you who have been on a garden tour, you know there's a lot of work involved in making your garden look fabulous.  And these kind Buffalonians, who had barely recovered from herds trouping through their gardens the week before, who should have been wearing their bathrobes and drinking gin and tonics, beer, wine, name your poison, on the back porch recovering from the onslaught, were beyond kind to keep up that garden-tour-fine-polish so that we could experience their gardens at their very best.

Thank you so much to our Garden Hosts!  Your gardens looked amazing and I so appreciated how much work you went to in order to have things looking so well for two consecutive weekends!

Now onto the gardens.  Several of these I've visited before, but never in August.  Who knew the first week of August was when the Allium changed colour?

Quiet colour and good shapes abound.

Old favourites and unusual bulbs throughout.

We were so lucky with the weather.  A big dump the night before tossed this bed about, but you can get an idea of its happy colour.

The back patio is perfect for watching the garden grow.

Vegetable library complete with library steps.

Up top there were healthy veggie plants enjoying the hot sunshine.

All along the road there are wonderful surprises like this piece of artwork.

A sideways dahlia.

Mine were planted far too late and all I have are leaves.  Fortunately the folks of Buffalo were kind enough to give me a taste of what I'm missing.

Ferns are fabulous.  The gardener did a great job with the pairings.

Fellow Canadian Rob Howard in the garden.

Seed heads are often more interesting than the flowers.

Not only do the gardeners who are on the tour do a wonderful job, whole communities band together to create boulevard displays.

My Kevin and Kevin Gragg from Oklahoma State University, together representing almost 13 feet of male pulchritude.

What's better than a whole pile of gardens?  Well, a whole pile, plus one more.  Our Bus Captain Sharon Webber is a garden designer.  She grabbed a couple of us -- along with the homeowner -- to show us what can be done in a tiny wee garden -- a tiny wee garden that had hosted 1400 people just the week before on the tour.

Aren't these little guys the best?!

And, no tour to Buffalo gardens would be complete without Jim Charlier's superb garden:

Many of the gardens in this 'hood are quite shady:

and beautifully cared for:

Not on the tour but note-worthy all the same:

I've been to this garden several times.  It is always a delight.  Always something new to see.

This year, the major new project has been Thurman, who was named for a Bill's player.  He is in that naughty teenage stage - and is on his lead where he can be watched carefully and discouraged from eating the rest of the yummy veranda.

There are beautiful perennials at the front and down the side of the garden.  And at the back, a great display of tender plants.

Talk about a candy store for gardeners and those who just like to have their eyeballs colour-tickled.

Count the coleus....savour the solenostemon...imagine all the pinching out of tips to produce this full collection.

This gives you an idea of just how packed with plants (and peeps) it is.

Bits of folly:

It didn't matter where you were, the view was grand:

More, not-on-the-tour planter boxes.  Fabulous shapes, colours and varieties.

A perfectly floral/colour coordinated participant Andrea Whitely from Australia:

Not only are the gardens lovely, but hand-drawn i.d. tags.  I definitely need to up my game.

You just never know where you're going to see something gorgeous.  Rounding the corner I spied this this wonderful old window inside a large stone building:

This new well-done garden shows, you really don't need grass, nor a lot of flowers if that's your style.  

So you can see that the Buffalo Style is found not only in the garden designs or the carefully composed floral selections, but in the neighbourhoods and in the gardeners who so kindly welcomed us. The best part is, if you mark your calendars for the last weekend of next July, and shuffle off to Buffalo, you too can soak up a little of this style and garden magic. And, it's absolutely free.


Veronica Sliva said...

Great photos and a wonderful album of memories thanks to our neighbours just across the border.

Jim/ said...

Wonderful Barabara! I'll be sharing this widely, and using quotes from it forever! Good to see you and Kevin over the weekend. Hopefully we'll see you next year as well.

Jim/ said...


Grace McElhinney said...

I had the immense pleasure of experiencing many of these gardens you have pictured here. It was wonderful to revisit them once again. This was my first Garden Walk Buffalo and I am already looming forward to next year! Congratulations to Buffalo and all the wonderful participants. Wonderful gardens.

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

Thanks for the memories, Barbara! It was so fun to see you again and you were right--the Buffalo gardens are amazing! What a wonderful event to look forward to each year. Great post! One of these days, I'll get going with some posts from the conference. :)

Barbarapc said...

Veronica - thanks Veronica. So many great things to see, and really perfectly doable for a day visit or longer.
Jim - you'll definitely see us again! May we both have an easy winter and another excellent summer.
Grace - hope you're able to return - it truly is a special event.
Beth - always good to see you! Fortunately for both of us we've got lots of non-gardening weather ahead of us - so if you don't post in the next little bit, there's always those snowy days that will make everyone feel warm again when they see your photos and hear your tales from Buffalo.

Kathy said...

You captured the essence of Buffalo gardens quite well. It makes me feel like I need to "up my game" as well.

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