Highlights of Garden Walk Buffalo 2016 – Part 1

Highlights of Garden Walk Buffalo 2016 – Part 1

I consider myself fortunate to live only a couple hours drive away from the largest garden tour in North America–Garden Walk Buffalo. More than 400 gardens open to the public on the last weekend in July every year, free of charge.

Garden Walk Buffalo garden entrance sign
Yellow signs in front of each participating property have check boxes marked to show visitors which parts of the garden are open.

 

My husband and I spent two days trekking through the gardens participating this year–looking, learning, enjoying, and photographing. Most were repeats we had visited on our previous two Garden Walks some years past, but some were new, and even the ones we had visited previously had grown and changed in wonderful ways.

It would be impossible for me to show you all of the great gardens on the tour, or even one photo from all of the gardens that were outstanding, on this blog. Instead, I’m going to show you below, and in my post next week, a few of the exceptional elements that I think would interest you. So let’s dive in!

Buffalo gardens are know for being extremely colourful (or colorful if you’re American) and this year’s tour did not disappoint:

Begonias pots on wall
Begonias in terra cotta pots line a fence. They’re hanging on a custom-made shelf with pot-sized holes cut in it.

 

Hot pink echinacea
This hot pink variety of echnicea stopped me in my tracks. It’s a “double” variety–meaning it’s been bred to have more petals than a regular echinacea.

 

Double tiger lily
An amazing double tiger lily.

 

A variety of St. John's Wort in full bloom
The brilliant yellow blooms of St. John’s Wort (Hypericum frondosum ‘Sunburst’) are in strong contrast to the plant’s dark leaves.

 

Detail of a planter featuring succulents
This container planting had rich colour and excellent contrasting textures–all of it from the plants’ leaves.

 

Coleus in shades of lemon and strawberry
Butter yellow and strawberry pink are a great combination in this coleus.

 

Colourful mix of coleus and a dark-leaved dahlia
More coleus–raspberry coloured in back and burgundy and green in front–sandwich a dahlia. From this view, you almost miss the dahlia…

 

Lemony dahlia pops against its own dark foliage and neighbouring burgundy coleus
…but look closer and it’s a stunner on it’s own. This pale yellow flower and deep purple leaf are a variety I’ve seen in this Garden Walk Buffalo garden previously. I loved it then and still do!

 

Colour didn’t just come from the plants growing in the gardens. In some cases, it was paintings of plants on rain barrels, pots, and in this case, a fence:

Purple echinacea painted on this white fence allude to the amazing garden within

Most of the homes in Buffalo are covered in wood siding and many of the gardeners seem to paint their homes in colours that either accent their gardens (think deep, dark colours) or complement them. I don’t think I would be brave enough to do this to my own house, but I love this homeowner’s boldness:

House painted in shades of orange is set off by the hot coloured plantings in front

 

The orange house gets the thumbs up from Sheila
It received a thumbs-up from our orange-loving friend Sheila.

 

While plants are the stars of Garden Walk, the people behind it are pretty amazing too. We talked to many of the gardeners and didn’t find an unfriendly one in the bunch. Each seemed pleased to see us, answered our questions (patiently, especially considering they had probably been asked the same ones many times), and quite a few even offered water or lemonade to visitors. Thank you Buffalo garden hosts!

As for our fellow Garden Walk visitors, well, people who enjoy gardens are my kind of people. I’m sure I could have sat and had a good chat with most of the folks we crossed paths with. This year, for the first time, we were able to visit some of the gardens with our friends Sheila and Eugene, and their cousins. The tour area covers a lot of ground but, unplanned, we ran into them within minutes of their arrival in Buffalo:

Canadian Garden Walk tourists
Keith, Jennifer, Sheila & Eugene at Garden Walk Headquarters–the pickup point for maps to the gardens and Garden Walk swag, as well as a the location of restrooms for walk participants.

 

They have a very unique garden themselves that, to my eye, has a bit of Buffalo-style to it. I wrote about here if you want to take a look.  Two Buffalo writers have tried to explain what makes a garden Buffalo-style:

In Buffalo, you’ll find small urban gardens that pack a big punch — including cheerfully brash juxtapositions of colorful perennials and unique annuals, minimal or no lawns, and creative uses of found objects and architectural artifacts as sculpture. A Buffalo-style garden will have the patina of a well-used, customized space, often with complete disregard for garden design conventions. Buffalo gardeners take advantage of the sides of houses and fences by hanging artwork, sculptures, grates, mirrors, plants and more— incorporating the impressive and diverse architecture found throughout every neighborhood.

However you define it, I find it immensely interesting to look at! I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the most colourful aspects of my visit. In my next post I’ll tell you about some of the creative touches that were on display during Garden Walk 2016, including two unique ways to display succulent plants, and a striking method of edging a garden bed that also looks to be inexpensive and easy to maintain.

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3 Responses to Highlights of Garden Walk Buffalo 2016 – Part 1

  1. The photos of coleus and Dalhias in most of these photos are in our yard at 84-16th.street Buffalo , and I’m colorblind . Thank you for visiting our yard during garden walk .

    • I love your garden Joe! I read that you were colorblind and that just astonishes me–you either have great intuition or you’re consistently lucky (I’m going with great intuition). Thank you for putting so much work into your garden, and opening it up to the public, year after year.

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