In no particular order, here are 10 extraordinary gardens you can’t miss during Garden Walk Buffalo held annually the last weekend of July. There are 400+ gardens on the tour this year, not a bad one among them. In my mind, these are some standouts – out of dozens and dozens of standouts. If you go on the tour, make sure you hit up gardens NOT in the densely populated areas of the map. Good gardens are all over.
Eight Paths Garden – You’ll have to pick up the Garden Walk Buffalo map to find out the exact address of this garden. Mike, the gardener, is a Garden Walk Buffalo volunteer and a great advocate of the Walk.
84 Sixteenth Street
Joe & Scott’s spectacular garden – Dozens and dozens of containers fill out this spectacle of a garden – one of the most colorful gardens on the tour. And Joe, the gardener, is colorblind! Joe’s also a long-time Garden Walk Buffalo volunteer and makes the delicious appetizers and baked goods for our gardener thank you parties. It was even photographed for Martha Stewart Living magazine, but the article never ran.
75 Lancaster Avenue
Mary’s Garden Annabelle & Jim’s side lot garden, dedicated to Jim’s first wife, Mary, who passed years before he met Annabelle – who came with her own plant collection. Retired now, the two lawyers have only one garden rule – to end the day with a glass of wine and appreciate the work they put into the garden. Don’t miss Cornelius’ doghouse! This garden has appeared in Better Homes & Gardens’ Garden Ideas and Outside Living, People Places Plants, Great Gardens – Solutions for Small Spaces, Containers Made Easy, Great Backyards, and the Garden Walk Buffalo book.
257 Highland Avenue
Ellen & Mitch’s little paradise – The PR maven Ellen and ad agency owner/writer Mitch have found-art creative touches throughout the garden. Mitch, founder of the Ride for Roswell, a large charity bicycling event, has raised millions of dollars for cancer treatment and research. And you can find many bike-oriented creative touches throughout the garden. Their bowling ball totem is a Buffalo classic.
86 Norwood Avenue
This garden looks more like the set from The Sound of Music. The orchestrated garden has a river running through the property, along with bridges, an island and a lighthouse. And that pergola!? To die for.
417 Summer Street
Ellie – Everybody’s favorite guerilla gardener. Her tiny but charming gardens have been featured in Garden Gate magazine – even her hellstrip (the area between sidewalk and road) has been featured on the Wall Street Journal‘s website! The driveway garden is technically a rooftop garden in that the entire garden (trees and all) is set on top of a driveway. Every postage-stamp-sized garden on Summer street is a delight. Seen in Horticulture, People Places Plants, Great Backyards, Backyard Retreats magazines and the Garden Walk Buffalo book.
20 Norwood Avenue
This is my favorite garden on the Walk (don’t tell the other gardens). This garden, like many others, reflects its owners, Dom and Arlan. It is serene, quiet, smart, charming and creative, just like the two of them. You’ll find the park-like garden will be one of your favorites too. You’ll see a handmade matching shed and swing in the far back, creative water features, a moss garden complete with handmade village, an outdoor drinking fountain for garden visitors, a garage door-type greenhouse added onto the back of the house, planted stairs and more. And, if you’re lucky, and it’s not predicted to rain during the Walk, you just may see the scale model replica they made of the house complete with gardens (in the photo) – it’s eight feet long!
215 Lancaster Avenue (Bonus #1)
Okay, I can’t leave out my own, so I’m going for 11 of Buffalo’s “Can’t Miss” Gardens. If I came across my garden on a tour, I’d be sure to like it. The 1896 Dutch Colonial with matching shed has a lush grassless front garden, with a columnar apple tree, suited for the fairy tale looking house with the lightning-shape lightning rod on top. A hanging succulent garden faces a paver and grass checkerboard garden, next to a raised bed potager garden framed by a knee-high espaliered dwarf apple tree fence. A mirrored sitting area with a marble and granite scrap “carpet” sits beside a collection of coral bells (heuchera) with a handmade coral bell water fountain. A multi-level deck, with hot tub, features a super-long handmade picnic table, counters around a cooking area, and diamond-shaped espaliered dwarf pear trees. If that’s not enough, there’s also a Harry Potter Garden of plants from the Harry Potter books (it’s a fictional garden). Seen in Horticulture, Backyard Solutions, Fine Gardening, Great Backyards, and Real Gardens magazines and the books, The Garden Bible, Garden Up! and was even featured in this June’s issue of This Old House magazine with an eight-page spread! You can read the article here. It was photographed for Martha Stewart Living magazine, but the article never ran. And I’ve never gotten over that.