Buffalo Garden garden art

Little garden touches

Small design gestures have big impact too. It's not always the grand garden design that makes a garden memorable. Sometimes it's the little things that stick with a visitor.

It’s not always the grand garden design that makes a garden memorable. Sometimes it’s the little things that stick with a visitor.

Those little things always make a garden more personal. Whether it’s an inside family joke, or something for someone else to discover on their own, these are things not normally found in public gardens, or grand “checkbook” gardens.

Sometimes purchased, sometimes homemade these details, though small in the grand scheme of your garden, make for the most memorable, especially if it’s something that has to be brain-processed, like a riddle, a clever twist, unexpected place, or juxtaposed with its surroundings.

Do you have anything in your garden that’s purposely placed to add a smile to a visitor’s face?

img_5639There are many more small design “touches” in my book with Buffalo News Columnist Sally Cunningham, Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs – large and small, quirky and quack-y.

Here’s a few I’ve collected over the years – including these Sasquatch footprints in a set of stairs in the Skierczynski Garden in West Seneca, NY, one of the gardens on Gardens Buffalo Niagara‘s Tours of Open Gardens on Thursdays and Fridays in July.

Below is a wind-activated kinetic bird sculpture in the garden of a serious birder in the Parkside neighborhood of Buffalo.

Air plants in a birdcage in a Garden Walk Buffalo garden on Mariner Street in Buffalo.
A cute bird of a different color in the Parkside garden of a metal sculptor. The cheerful and bright bird was a contrast to the steel, rust and stone throughout the garden.
Unexpected to find such a fancy pedestal in the woods at Smug Creek Gardens in Hamburg, NY.
He’s a little hard to see here, but the moss-covered dog is the same breed and size of the home’s dog! I couldn’t get a shot with them together. Found in a Garden Walk Buffalo garden on Mariner Street.
Vases and rake in a Bird Avenue garden.
Quite often fairies have to go from one garden to another. An Allentown garden on Garden Walk Buffalo.
Why buy fancy plant labels? Found in an Open Garden in the Parkside neighborhood.
My homemade wine bottle light. The better to see to drink at night.
A small gesture on a big boulder. Easy to walk by, hard to forget.
This was just a small little design thing in a garden that was filled to overwhelming with deign ideas. Found in the Lockport Tour of Gardens.
One of our Open Gardens in South Buffalo. They seem insignificant, but they were made by her grand kids, so they are very special to the gardener.
To you and me it looks like a pile of rocks. But to this gardener on our Open Gardens, an architect, these stones are part of Buffalo’s architectural heritage – they’re parts of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Administration Building, demolished in the 1950s.
Always my favorite fence. Found in a Garden Walk Buffalo garden on Richmond Avenue.
HAve you ever seen such colorful matching planters? Found in a Capen Garden Walk garden in Buffalo’s University District.
My shed door handle. An unexpected use of a garden tool.
A “Barn Quilt” a tradition of the Amish, updated with hosta leaves, a sickness pastime of its owners.
My 9-3/4 door in my Harry Potter Garden. It’s small and it’s quiet, but kids get it. Muggles don’t.
Those ants can’t move that rubber tree plant! Found in a Garden Walk Buffalo garden on Manchester Street in Buffalo.
An ode to Pablo Picasso – and to the homeowner – the founder of the charity bike event, the Ride for Roswell. In a Garden Walk Buffalo garden on Highland Avenue in Buffalo.
Dozens and dozens of mugs in this Prospect Avenue garden were planted. So why not a chandelier of mugs?
A birdhouse I was given as a gift. I painted it to blend in with the sky.
A purple door in a hedge. It didn’t lead to a fantasy world, just the compost bin. Found in a garden in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada.
Good use of old sleds. Found in a Dorchester street garden on Garden Walk Buffalo.
Bird silhouettes on a gate in a KenTon Garden Tour garden.
Painted hosta rock. Unexpected and beautiful. Found in a Cheektowaga garden on the Tours of Open Gardens in July.
Mini-landscape in a Cheektowaga garden on the Tours of Open Gardens in July.
Painted shutters in a garden on Delavan Avenue on garden Walk Buffalo
Its best when you know the story of this table on Norwood Avenue on Garden Walk Buffalo. It was the limb of a tree in the back yard of this house.
An ever-changing, odd assortment of collected items forming a tableau where it’s tough to grow plants.
“I am Groot.”

3 comments on “Little garden touches

  1. Terry F

    Some great things there. The vases on the pitchfork are clever…but your readers should kniw those vases and most a modern glass you pick up at the hobby store aren’t going to be color stable in the sun.y faves are still your tool door handle and pot lampshades.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought about that when I saw those colored vases. I had some that looked like colored glass but were a plastic coating!


  2. Loved the inventiveness of all of these, Jim. The final kicker is “I am Groot” – I may need to add that to my own garden 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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