An oasis in the city. Really.

"Small cottage garden of raised beds and containers. Large variety of oriental lilies and 11 Japanese maples."

The description of this garden on the Garden Walk Buffalo maps reads:
Small cottage garden of raised beds and containers.
Large variety of oriental lilies and 11 Japanese maples.

You’d be hard pressed to remember the description once you enter the garden – more like entering the “world” of Jim Ecker’s Johnson Park garden. Goes to show the limitations of requiring 25 words (or thereabouts) to describe your garden.

It is in one of Buffalo’s oldest neighborhoods, dating back before 1837, when Ebenezer Johnson donated the land in front of Jim’s house, as a city park. Jim’s house itself dates back to 1831.

It was a very hot day when I visited during the Walk. But entering his densely planted garden shady garden entrance there was a discernible temperature change. It also got very quiet – with walls of trees negating any background city noise. And it even smelled different.

You’d never believe that Buffalo’s city hall is just four blocks away, or that Lake Erie/Niagara River is just a quarter mile from here. Or even that it’s smack dab in the middle of a dense neighborhood with houses looking like they all nestle into one another.

Jim’s a member of the WNY Hosta Society and is a tireless advocate for, and gardener in, Johnson Park, the park in front of his home. As a matter of fact, Jim accepted, on behalf of Johnson Park, a Garden Walk Buffalo Marvin Lunenfeld Beautification Grant for projects in the park. In the past, Jim has been spending his own money for park projects.

I get the chance to proof the garden descriptions that are in the Garden Walk Buffalo map. And I get tired of reading, “…an oasis in the city…” every fifth entry. But what Jim has done here is truly an oasis. I wouldn’t edit it out of his garden description!

The grassless front garden of the 1831 home.
This is the entry into the garden – it’s actually the neighboring house’s garden entry, which leads to Jim’s garden.
Like his garden description reads, it is mostly raised beds. He didn’t lie.
But the raised beds aren’t what’s impressive – it’s what’s in them that is!
At the back of the garden is a small sitting area that is teased as you wander the “grounds.”
Not sure if he spends much time at the back sitting area, but it was staged nicely.
I’m not one for taking close-up photos of flowers and plants. I like a garden’s overall design. Close-ups don’t show context within a space, or show how a gardener has managed their space, or the creativity needed in designing a garden. But his lilies were spectacularly healthy and beautiful. It was hard to keep the camera off them.
Another nice thing about some areas of the garden was the good use of plants of similar heights. You didn’t have to look down often. Here is a beautiful salad of lilies, monarda and daisies.
Great edging. I need to do more of this.
This fence wall is against his porch area right off the house.
As you leave, this is the wall OUTSIDE his garden.

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0 comments on “An oasis in the city. Really.

  1. Beautiful! I was out of town the weekend of Garden Walk, I'm so happy I was able to see some of them gems through your blog!


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