Buffalo Garden in Garden Ideas and Outdoor Living

Another Buffalo garden hits the national stage in the Spring 2009 issue of Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living, a Better Homes & Gardens special interest publication. The 8-page story, titled In-Town Seclusion, explains how gardener Mike Banks made his wedge-shape yard more beautiful, private and useful with good garden planning. His secret to success? Dividing the yard into individual spaces, which flow together naturally.

This gorgeous space is literally, in downtown Buffalo, in the shadow of city hall, with large buildings just a block away. It is made up of “new Victorian”-stlyed brick homes built in Buffalo’s historic West Village in the 1980s.

The cover is NOT Mike Bank’s yard, but it’s a great looking very colorful cover.

The article features an interview with Mike, a “before & after” photo of the wedge-shaped, 700 sq. ft. garden, an illustrated map of how he designed & planted the space, soil tips (especially important for city-dwellers), a “How to plant this bed” list of plants, and a side for bar rules of great garden design. Also, in the resources section in the back of the magazine, there is a plug for Garden Walk Buffalo.

Mike’s garden leans heavily on foliage for its impact, which makes for year-round interest, as opposed to annual & perennial flowers to make a visual impact. He gets color from a variety of coleus as much as from any particular flower. And he spends virtually no time deadheading. A decided plus for low-maintenance gardening, since his job involves much travel.

Mike Banks is a former organizer of Garden Walk Buffalo and is a great fan & supporter of the tour, now the largest garden tour in the country.

I’ve been by this yard dozens of times, but have never seen it from inside the yard. I’m going to have to hop the fence and get inside sometime. Or stop by Garden Walk and see it for myself.

The photos, by Toronto photographer Andreas Trauttmansdorff, are simply stunning. Andreas made this tiny, odd-shaped lot look expansive and intimate at the same time. If you get a chance, it’s worth checking out his website, just to see some of the gardening photography he’s done. He’s been to Buffalo a few times now, on assignment for Better Homes & Gardens and will be back, we hope. The BH&G producer (and scout and stylist) for the story was Donna Talley. The writer was Julie A. Martens

Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living, which traces its history back to 1940, is the oldest special-interest gardening publication in America. This Spring 2009 issue is available on newsstands now. I picked up my copy in the checkout aisle at Wegmans.

Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living editor, Luke Miller, is a Rochester, NY native. He’s also got a vegetable gardening blog, Smart Gardening. It’s brand new – please visit and leave him a comment. Tell him you want to see more Buffalo gardens featured in Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living because you can’t get enough of them!

I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

7 comments on “Buffalo Garden in Garden Ideas and Outdoor Living

  1. Jim .. I love seeing how a tiny city lot can become such a green haven with some planning and effort to get it established .. then to have it continue as a low care Eden .. well it is perfect !I also love seeing the nod towards a Canadian photographer who has “the” touch ! .. well done ! : )


  2. I just bought this very magazine today! It’s cold and rainy, perfect weather to look at magazine gardens. I look forward to this article.


  3. I had an my garden “muscle” with me on my trip to “Plantasia,” I feared if I stopped to chat, they’d wonder off to the parking lot. But I did see the table, nice display. Last summer, while I was homeless, I drooled over the pages of the Garden Walk book, and dreampt of what might come.


  4. GardenJoy4Me,And it is tiny. 800 square feet is the size of a large room! The photographer, Andreas, is very accomplished, despite being Canadian. Catherine,Let me know what you think of the article.There’s a lot to look at and with the sidebars, space drawing, planting list and interview, it’s a very well-done piece (in my humble opinion).Claudia,Your “garden muscle” might have liked the kick-ass Toro mowers across from our booth. They were basically motorized barcoloungers with high-powered blades at the bottom. If you were at Plantasia after 2pm and saw the table, then you saw me. I was the good-looking one.


  5. It is so cool to pick up a magazine like this and be able to say I’ve been there. Mike was the first gardener we visited with on Garden Walk. We were downtown and thought we were lost, there couldn’t be gardens here could there!? We loved his garden and he was very gracious and gave us great tips. I’m happy to see him featured.


  6. It's great that an odd-shaped small garden was featured in a magazine. Those of us with odd-shaped gardens are always looking for ideas to make our space more useable & attractive. Someday, I will make it to Buffalo for Garden Walk. It sounds fantastic.


  7. Apple,Good to hear from you. Around the Banks homestead are many other charming gardens too–most open for touring during the Walk. Glad you saw both the magazine and the garden itself. And met the gardener!McDaughter,Someday – how about July 25 and 26 this year? I can make Elizabeth from Garden Rant/Gardening while Intoxicated serve drinks! She’ll do that at the drop of a hat.


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