Terra cotta pots displaying succulents

Part 2 – Highlights of Garden Walk Buffalo

This is the second of two posts on Garden Walk Buffalo—the largest garden tour in North America which takes place in Buffalo, New York every July. In my first post profiled some of the most colourful gardens and garden element I saw. This post will focus on the creative touches that caught my eye–since this was Buffalo, land of extremely creative gardeners, my eyes were busy!

To me, a garden is at its best when the garden is well cared for and the personality of the gardener oozes through the garden. This shows itself through various means; unique colour schemes, choice of plants, gardening methods, or through smart placement of garden art. In one garden on the walk I was admiring the espaliered pear tree:


…and when I looked down I saw this charming frog on a swing:

So delightful! It made me think that the gardener there had a good sense of humour.

Walking through another garden, there was so much to take in I almost missed this amazing collection of tropical hanging plants:

The trellising provides the perfect shady spot for them to thrive. I don’t know that I would have thought to hang such a large collection of pots together, but when this gardener did it I loved the way it looked–you can imagine that without the pots this would have been a rather plain section of the deck.

Another mass display, this time of succulent plants, caused me to stop in my tracks:

This little sunny nook at the side of a house was put to good use by this gardener. It appears to just be a standard trellis with little terra cotta pots individually wired to it. I think it’s a fantastic way to show off a succulent collection!


Succulents were the perfect type of plant to use for that display, as they would enjoy the hot and dry conditions of those little pots (I expect the gardener just hoses the whole lot down, as needed). Another neat way to grow succulents was seen in this table:

Hollows were made in the table, and then filled with succulents and stones. Because this was Buffalo, this was situated in a small front yard, not hidden away in someone’s back yard. The lesson I took from it was that if you don’t have a lot of space but you still want a functional space (i.e. table and chairs) you can have that, but it can also be integrated into the garden in an attractive manner.

A more formal marriage of garden style and functionality was shown with these stone steps, leading down from a deck into a back yard:

The steps were planted with what the owner labelled “wild strawberry”. I suspect it’s Alpine Strawberry (Fragaria Vesca), which would work really well here, as it stays contained (i.e. it doesn’t send out runners like most other types of strawberries). The visual effect was beautiful, and even though these plants produce very small berries, there are enough of them that I’m sure the gardener was able to collect enough for a tasty treat.

Finding a way to bridge the space between where a garden ends and hardscaping starts has always been a bit of a challenge for me (my front garden always seems to infringe onto the sidewalk, no matter how far back I think I’ve planted) so I really admired this clever use of angled pavers and turfgrass:

I liked this for its esthetic appeal as well as its ease of maintenance (it would be easy to run a mower down the strip) and low cost. I imagine there would be a certain amount of weeding required to keep the grass from jumping over its upper boundary, but I see that this gardener has helped to thwart that migration by placing a plant at the tip of each triangle.

Buffalo has fantastic architecture–many of the homes feature wonderful cornices, buttresses and other decorative elements. Walking up the driveway of the yard pictured below, I was impressed by how nicely the architectural flourishes framed the entrance to the garden, and how the homeowner had amplified that effect by adding pillars and a little arbour to frame the doorway:


The garden entrance above is a case study in how to maximize what you’ve got. In the garden below, which was in front of a newly constructed home, the gardener had to create their own focal point, which they did admirably. The simple brick and gravel circle draws your eye in, and gives garden visitors a place to pause and experience the garden:


After three visits to Garden Walk Buffalo I’ve learned that whimsy is a big part of what denotes a Buffalo-style garden. It’s everywhere, if you’re willing to look for it. Including here, on this shrub that wasn’t even on the tour (but was next to the home of a garden that was):

I understand that one of the homeowners works with animals, so I believe this is meant to be a dog with one ear up and one ear down…wearing a pair of glasses, of course. It made me laugh

Another garden element we saw that can only be described as fun is this miniature village, complete with functioning water wheel:

The little village was tucked into the side of a garden that had lots of other wonderful full size elements (may of which are pictured above).

Also on the roub we saw some of the more traditional, but no less beautiful, expressions of garden art. This lovely birdbath was very much appreciated by a robin, who was making quite a splash when we walked by:

There was much to see that was clever and inspiring on the tour (what I’ve shown you is just a small sampling). I’ll now be looking at my own garden and thinking about where I might be able to add some Buffalo-style magic. Did you see any ideas you might be able to incorporate into your own garden? Or were you perhaps inspired to add Buffalo to you list of great garden places to visit? Please feel free to share in the comment section below.


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