Andrew Sprung, writing for the Daily Dish on Atlantic.com, said of his visit to Garden Walk Buffalo, “There are Japanese gardens, English gardens, Russian gardens (i.e., barely controlled wildernesses) and what I would call Buffalo gardens – eclectic, funky mixes in which found objects and exotic-looking surrounding rooftops figure prominently.” You can read his full article here.
That got me thinking, does Buffalo really have a style of gardening all its own? Do we not recognize it because it’s what we do and don’t think it unusual or different from gardens in other parts of the country?
I think there are a few factors that contribute to this difference:
- We have a short gardening season with spectacular weather.
- We have a population of very creative people (painters, sculptors, chefs, actors, dancers, writers, curators, designers, singers and so on). Our creative community is rather large considering the size of our city.
- People on Buffalo’s west side do not have necessarily budgets for professional landscapers, which makes them more creative with less money. Found art and used materials fit in most budgets, giving gardens a patina of use and time.
- We have very intimate urban yards, for the most part, forcing us to be creative in a small space.
- We have incredible residential architecture – varied in scale, quality and style.
- There’s are no gardening professionals on Garden Walk Buffalo.
Going forward with next year’s National Buffalo Garden Festival, we’re looking at giving, as input, a definition Buffalo style garden to the landscapers in the Front Yard garden competition.
Elizabeth (Garden Rant & Gardening While Intoxicated) and I came up with this statement, trying to define what makes a Buffalo garden different than gardens you might see in other parts of the country:
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.
|Little to no grass is common in a Buffalo style garden. Photo by Don Zinteck.|
|Exuberant colors, juxtaposed, are common. Photo by Don Zinteck.|
|Creative use of found objects is abundant. Photo by Don Zinteck.|
|NOT the aesthetic of a schooled gardening professional. Photo by Don Zinteck.|
|Small spaces are particular challenges to urban gardeners.|
|Unique architecture accentuates gardens in Buffalo. Or is it the other way around?|
|Creative use of hellstrips abound. This one has sculpture.|
|Creative people are not afraid of color.|
|Found art sculptures are found in many gardens in Buffalo.|
|Found in the same garden as the bowling balls above.|
|Great, and adventurous colors on the Blackrock/Riverside garden tour.|
|Everywhere you look, there’s more to see in most Buffalo gardens. Photo by Don Zinteck.|
|Not found art, but you won’t find this in a garden in Kansas City.|
|professionals might have issues with fruit trees in buckets, stored in the garage in winter.
Found on the Blackrock/Riverside garden tour.
|Well-used spaces feel comfortable & “home-y.”|
|No lawn mower needed. Photo by Don Zinteck.|
|Great 19th Century architecture like you’ll find in few other cities. Photo by Don Zinteck.|
|Daring color and creativity in a small space. Photo by Don Zinteck.|
|Here, a garden is integrated right into, and up to, the house.|
|Short gardening season, but with spectacular weather,
encourages strong-colored annuals & perennials. Photo by Don Zinteck.