Buffalo Garden

Spring into inaction

Snow the first week of May? Yeah, we had that. But there were nice days too.

I did stain the deck! The pear tree espalier is starting to green up. Even has some blossoms.
Snow the first week of May? Yeah, we had that.

But there were nice days too. I got out and stained our deck. I just needed 48 hours of above 45º with days of no direct sunlight, and no precipitation for the 48 hours. I found that magic time this past week. Though I think we had that sort of weather through much of March.

The tulips in the hellstrip are in a mad crescendo currently.

I see passersby stopping all day long to check them out. Some even stop to take pictures. I’ve always thought that whatever you do in your front yard you do for the neighborhood. I think the effort and expense out there is worth every bit. The tulips are all from Colorblends Wholesale Flowerbulbs.

Tulips in front of the Dutch Colonial house. A match made in Holland.
This is normally the weekend we buy our annuals to fill baskets, boxes and pots.

Not happening. Since many garden centers are open, but many have different shopping “strategies” to keep customers safe and healthy. We’ll have to strategize how best to get our annuals. Some garden centers are order-online-pick-up-curbside, some are by appointment, some allow a small number in the store at a time, some are doing online-ordering with delivery.

It’s definitely a conservative year, financially, for us. My wife works for an airline and we aren’t really sure what will happen, income-wise, come fall. We’ll do up our usual window boxes and baskets, but not much more, as in the past.

We’ve gotten out there to do some cleaning up but nothing significant – it’s too early. There’s been some weeding, clipping, and chipping.

We can’t travel, but we did walk over to the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park to see the cherry trees in bloom. I was surprised there wasn’t a bit more physical distancing going on, but it was beautiful.
No Garden Walk Buffalo this year

We’ll change from having the two-day Garden Walk Buffalo in July this year to a (mostly) online appreciation of Buffalo’s gardens for the month of July.

It’s called Buffalo Garden Views: Sharing in July. It was sad to make the final decision to not hold the Walk this year, it’s 26th. It’s too big an undertaking to plan and then cancel and event for 65,000+ people – and more than 400 gardens! Most importantly, the group was concerned for the health and well-being of the gardeners, guests and volunteers – many of whom fall into the “at-risk” category, by virtue of age.

So I’ve spent these colder weekend days working on Buffalo Garden Views. Filling up every day of the month with online content is a big undertaking and huge team effort. I’ll post more about it in the upcoming weeks, once we settle on July’s activities.

In the meantime, here’s what’s going on in the garden…
The hanging Hens & Chicks and sedum vertical garden looks great. I didn’t cover it this winter with burlap. It wasn’t that harsh a winter. It’s never looked this good this early. I usually have to buy a dozen or more Hens & Chicks to fill in. This year I won’t have to. Even the ones that look brown and dead in this photo are actually alive an growing.
Last year I added some chicken wire to the arbor uprights where the clematis vines grow. After some clean-up of dead vines, they easily got clipped onto the wire. No more sloppy tying to the pole with ugly plastic ties. These reusable clips my wife found in Germany.
For my wife’s birthday, I bought her a squirrel picnic table. Don’t worry, I got her better gifts too. We’re still married. Haven’t seen a squirrel near it yet.
One of my favorite rites of spring – using the compost made over the winter.
Sexy looking compost, no?


And for your enjoyment, tulips and snowflakes. May their sightings be rare…

Jim Charlier is an advertising designer/photographer/crafter with a serious gardening problem. He's co-written a garden design book featuring the funky, quirky and fun gardens by the gardeners of Buffalo titled "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" (BuffaloStyleGardens.com); he writes a long-standing garden blog (ArtofGardening.org); led the largest garden tour in America, Garden Walk Buffalo; has written for, or provided photography for dozens of magazines and books; has made presentations and participated in panel discussions on garden design and garden tourism nationally and internationally.

7 comments on “Spring into inaction

  1. Ah, you enjoy compost, too! Digging in my 15 x 20 x 5 ft leaf pile for nature-made compost and then screening it (1/4″ hardware cloth) is also something I really enjoy, followed by mixing it into powdered clay and some amendments for garden soil. Digging holes and making soil is gardening to me.
    Here in Northern VA, the warm winter followed by a very cold late February has killed a lot of my azalea buds, but some survived. You may share this set of views of the garden so far, and the pictures are downloadable.


    Good luck with your late spring garden!


  2. connie661

    Yes, I love your compost! And your gardens, too.


  3. I got similar vine clips from Lee Valley Tools. What ColorBlends mix was it? Or did you mix your own?


    • It was a couple blends – Jacques & Jill, Sol Array, and The Crusaders blends. I might not do the double tulips. I like the taller upright blends of similar heights.


  4. Cristy

    So, you’ll probably see a lot from me around here from now on. I’m an Oswego native, grew up gardening with my grandpa and mom. Moved to CA in ‘’95 and enjoyed the milder climate gardening there for several years before moving to the high desert southwest in 2001. Gardening is a huge challenge here, for me, a north eastern gal. I have fallen in LOVE with many plants that thrive here and am soaking up all I can about what I can expect – hoping to relocate closer to ‘home’ sooner than later. Love seeing your sedum wall! I have many favorite sedums, this is very encouraging.

    I found your Buffalo garden movement a few years ago on Instagram, somehow in a reference to a garden fling in Texas!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nadine Cook

    Good morning Jim! I love keeping up with your WordPress writings! I’d like to make a suggestion, please… What if the Garden Walk ran for a whole week and it was only the front yard gardens of people’s homes, that way walkers could enjoy the front gardens it would keep the event active on the calendar and with a reminder to wear a mask as you walk would be prudent. If the front yard walk was extended for a whole week versus a weekend, it would allow for spacing out the crowds people could walk & avoid people fro. being too many at 1 time on the street.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment Nadine. I’m afraid it’s not up to me – and the decision has been made for the year already. We will be offering a min-tour of front yard gardens to be taken ANYTIME in July of select streets in select neighborhoods. We’ll release one or two new ones every Sunday in July as part of our “Buffalo Garden Views” virtual tour of Buffalo gardens. Visit GardenWalkBuffalo.com for more of what we have planned…


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