Buffalo Garden

The garden writer’s garden

Buffalo News columnist, Sally Cunningham’s, East Aurora garden is a working laboratory. Ever wonder what a garden columnist, educator, book author and speaker’s garden looks like? Here you go!

Photographer: Jim Charlier
She’s as colorful as her garden.
Sally’s garden is like a test garden

Sally trials many of the plants she shares information on, as well as has some long-established favorite plants she’s collected over the nearly 30 years in this spot.

Her first garden was 4,000 square feet of vegetables and flowers that buzzed with beneficial insects. She turned her attention to perennials, shrubs and trees. She focused on ornamental landscaping and became a CNLP (certified nursery and landscape professional) and began to help people design and care for their yards.

For many years she worked at Lockwoods Garden Center in Hamburg growing what was sold and was a reliable source of information for both new and experienced gardeners. For her, every plant has a personality and different needs and, like any of her various pets over the years, she does what she can to make them feel at home – and loved.

Photographer: Jim Charlier
The overall garden photo.
She’s an avid plant collector

She has a not-so-fussy-garden-design that highlights the favored native plants crawling with happy bees and bugs. Hers is an evolving garden, having been there for decades. She gardens on a 30-acre property which is mostly fields and forest – with a creek and mown paths for hiking and bird watching.

Photographer: Jim Charlier
It’s the detail shots of her garden where its beauty is revealed.
Evolving as life does

Part of its evolution has to do with her abilities as she’s gone from wife and mom to single and a few decades older than when she moved in. She writes often about changing abilities and priorities in the garden as one travels through life – providing practical, real-life experience for her readers. She’s hired landscapers to do some major projects for her in the past. She can’t do everything and there’s some thing others can do better. She also advocates to hire professionals – CNLPs (Certified Nursery & Landscape Professionals).

What keeps her busy these days

Sally is the garden columnist for the Buffalo News, and Buffalo Spree Magazine. She’s also a freelance garden writer, former garden TV personality (for 23 years!) and radio show host. She’s the author of Great Garden Companions: A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical Free Vegetable Garden, and a contributor to other books like Gardening with Perennials.

Recently, Sally is a garden travel host for AAA’s Horizon Club Tours’ Great Garden Travel, hosting bus tours around Buffalo, and taking groups on Caribbean and European cruises, and trips to the Philadelphia Flower Show, Chelsea Flower Show, Hampton Court Flower Show, Florida tropical gardens, and many other far-flung destinations.

Buffalo style gardens book sally cunningham jim charlier
Pre-order yours today! Order now (right here on this website!) and well send you a signed copy when they come of the press in February.

Upcoming, because she never sits still (just ask her husband!), she has co-authored (with me!) the new book Buffalo-Style Gardens, Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs. The book, due in February 2019, features the gardens of Buffalo Niagara. With hundreds of design, planting and DIY tips, Sally and I reveal how fences and furnishings, trees and shrubs, art and whimsy – and the element of surprise – work together to change an ordinary space into something unique: your own unforgettable Buffalo-style garden.

Rather than write about her garden and property, you’ll find out more by seeing it! Enjoy.


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.

5 comments on “The garden writer’s garden

  1. Great photos of a great garden! I’m always impressed when people in the “far” north create a garden that makes one want to live there!


  2. Richard

    Thank you for that rare glimpse of Sally’s garden. I was one of those that did wonder what her garden looked like. Impressive come to mind!


  3. This is a garden I could wander in for hours. Beautiful photos!


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