Panorama, Buffa10 Cocktail Hour, Thursday, July 8, 2010
Elizabeth Licata, one of the organizers and hosts of Buffa10, opened her garden for a cocktail reception for early arrivals the afternoon of Thursday, July 8, the first official event for Buffa10. As enjoyable as it was to rub shoulders with other garden bloggers, it was a real treat to visit a garden I’d only seen online. This view was familiar to me, as it was to her other readers, from her personal garden blog, Gardening While Intoxicated.
The first official event of Buffa10 was a Thursday afternoon cocktail reception, appropriately held in the Gardening While Intoxicated garden of Elizabeth Licata, one of our hosts for Buffa10, and 1/4 of the Gang of Four behind Garden Rant. Before, during and after, we were invited to wander – the Garden Stumble – the neighborhood’s streets, admire the architecture, and visit several of the gardens opened for us in a preview of Buffalo’s justly famed Garden Walk, happening this weekend.
For those attending Buffa10, North Pearl Street was our gateway to the architecture and gardens of Buffalo, a prelude to the abundance we would enjoy throughout the weekend. Front yards were mostly populated entirely by gardens. This front yard at 82 North Pearl Street was typically lush, with Hydrangea quercifolia (Oak-Leaf Hydrangea), Hosta, Hemerocallis, tall Lilium and Achillea, Bergenia, Lavandula, and many more species and varieties. I especially liked the use of Matteucia struthiopteris, Ostrich Fern, whose arching exclamations give movement to the garden more typically provided by tall ornamental grasses.
The few lawns were more often surrounded by gardens, like this one. 45 North Pearl Street, Allentown Area, Buffalo, NY
A lovely Rudbeckia in a sunny front-yard garden.
Lysimachia clethroides, Gooseneck Loosestrife, native to China and Japan, common in Buffalo gardens.
Lysimachia ciliata, Fringed Loosestrife, native to North America, which I’ve never seen before this, nicely used in a wide, shaded bed between sidewalk and curb. It’s a charming wildflower, one for which I now must find an excuse to grow in my own native plant garden.
Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, one of my personal favorites for shady gardens.
Cotinus coggygria, Smoketree/Smokebush, common in Buffalo gardens.
Panorama of the the Buffa10 visit to the Trial Gardens at the Erie Basin Marina in Buffalo, NY
I arrived in Buffalo on Wednesday, July 7. I wanted to take in some sights on Thursday before the Buffa10 schedule began. I found myself at the Erie Basin Marina Trial Gardens. Even though we would be visiting on Saturday, I was glad to have a prolonged visit on my own.
Shortly after I arrived at the Gardens Thursday, I met Stan Swisher, one of the nursery managers there. We spent a couple hours talking about the operation, visiting the different beds. Stan showed me countless specimens, and gave me the back-story on several of them. Here, Stan shares with me the details of a double-flowered Bacopa.
This is Echinacea ‘Pow-Wow Wild Berry’ from PanAm Seed. It’s short and compact, an asset for smaller gardens, but there are several cultivars available today with similar habit. What’s remarkable about it is that it grew to this flowering size from seed this season.
Another interesting breakthrough is X Calitunia, an intergeneric cross of of Calibrachoa and Petunia. Riding on the Buffa10 short bus with Joseph (Greensparrow Gardens), he explained that this was surprising because the two parent genera have different numbers of chromosomes.
When we arrived on Saturday morning, we were given four red flags on long metal stems. These served as our votes, one for each grower represented in the Gardens. Not everyone got the memo about “one per grower,” but we had fun walking around tagging our favorites.
Stan told me that “the public likes pretty flowers.” The garden writers and bloggers of Buffa10 seemed to be no exception. Dahlia ‘Mystic Illusion’ was the top favorite of the Buffa10 crew. I think I may have voted for this, myself. She’s a stunner.
Nevertheless, at least three of us tossed Juncus ‘Blue Arrow’ a vote. He’s a handsome fellow in his own right. The three of us being rather contrarian bloggers and gardeners may also have influenced our choice in this regard.
Here are the Buffa10 choices, based on votes.
Delphinium ‘Diamond Blue’
Angelonia ‘Big Blue’
Petunia ‘Sun Ray’
Portulaca ‘Pazazz Tangerine’
Achillea ‘Little Susie’
Achillea ‘Red Velvet’
Dahlia ‘Mystic Illusion’
Solenostemon (Coleus) ‘Spitfire’
Bracteantha ‘Yellow Strawburst’
Pelargonium (Geranium) ‘American Magenta Splash’
Penstemon ‘Phoenix Red’
During my visit on Thursday, Stan bought me lunch – a hot dog and a ginger ale – and gave me a lift back to the hotel. This had no influence on the content of this post.
A panoramic view of the walled garden of the Twentieth Century Club in Buffalo, NY.
Dinner Thursday evening was at the Twentieth Century Club, a Buffalo institution that had its origins in an alumni association of the Buffalo Seminary. These roots were reflected in the walled garden, a cloistered garden, where we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and company beneath the shade of a huge mature beech tree.
Red Monarda, Beebalm, against a turquoise blue door in the backyard of 35 North Pearl Street in Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood.
This is one of the first gardens I saw in the Allentown neighborhood of Buffalo the afternoon of Thursday, July 8. Perhaps because it was first, it got extra attention. Nevertheless, I think you’ll agree it was worthy of it.
A simple design made practical use of a small, urban backyard. The hub and spoke design creates multiple focal points: a fountain, a chair, and the blue door. This is an important design strategy for making a small space seem bigger, part of our conversation on the “short bus” one afternoon. At the same time, it grants reliable access to most of the flowers beds for maintenance. A strong design like this works even – especially – when flowers are past and leaves are gone. And Buffalo’s notorious snows would highlight it further, when it’s not completely buried.
Today’s Garden Bloggers Buffa10 visit to the Japanese Garden in Buffalo’s Delaware Park coincided with a Celebration of the reopening of the Garden.
The siting of this garden is unfortunate. NY State Route 198 slices through the Park, crossing Mirror Lake, on the bank of which the garden is situated. Even when you can direct your gaze to block out the bridge and movement of cars and trucks, the rush and roar of traffic crossing the lake is constant.
A complete volunteer effort, “Hope Blooms” was built as a unique garden “by and for” those living with HIV/AIDS. Having been featured in a full page photo in the Garden Walk Buffalo Book, it is recognized as one of Buffalo’s significantly beautiful gardens. Christopher Voltz, ACS’ Director of Marketing and Special projects volunteers his weekends, all summer long, to build and maintain this garden.
Clients and patients help plant the garden and its flowers are used to supply fresh bouquets of flowers to client services areas in our offices every week.
This simple gesture is greatly appreciated by ACS’ clients and patients. It is ACS’ belief that a warm and welcoming environment for its clients is of great importance. Whether one is living with cancer, diabetes or HIV disease, everyone deserves to be treated with the utmost respect. These bouquets and this garden are simple ways to demonstrate this to the thousands of individuals and families we serve.