Photo by KC Kratt.
I’m no great gardener. I’m no great writer either. I’m not even a good photographer. But I like gardens, I like design, I like to travel and like to share. So here’s some gardens I’ve visited, and when I can, I’ll show how I’ve incorporate what I’ve seen in my garden.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so, if you don’t mind, I’ll have more photos and fewer words. If you’re looking for Latin names, plant lists, and hardiness zones, this is not the site for you. If you’re looking for inspiration, ideas, and to see gardens you may never have seen, or would like to visit, this site is for you.
Along with Co-writer Sally Cunningham, I have written a 224-page 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, published by garden book specialists, and great people of St. Lynn’s Press of Pittsburgh, PA.
My own garden was featured in the May 2017 issue of This Old House magazine in an eight-page feature. You can visit the online version here.
From 2006 to 2012, I was president of Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest garden tour in America – with more than 400 open gardens throughout a walkable portion of the beautiful city of Buffalo. These creative urban gardens are open the last full weekend of July each year. Garden Walk Buffalo attracts 60,000+ attendees from around the U.S., Canada, and abroad every year. In addition, I currently chair the Marketing Committee for the group, as well as board member of its parent group, Gardens Buffalo Niagara. I’m also on its Open Gardens Committee, and the Buffalo-style Garden Art Sale Committee, among others.
Garden Walk Buffalo, and dozens of Buffalo gardens, have been featured in national publications and websites from my media relations efforts – Better Homes & Gardens specialty publications, Martha Stewart Living online, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal, TheAtlantic.com, Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Garden Gate magazine, Great Backyard Gardens, Backyard Solutions and many other magazines, websites and newspapers.
I am also vice president of Gardens Buffalo Niagara – a garden tourism series of activities and events including 14 weekend community garden tours, a garden bike tour, garden-themed bus tours, a garden art sale, 90 Open Gardens on Thursdays and Fridays throughout Western New York, and specialty garden-themed tours of Buffalo’s East side and Buffalo’s sustainability efforts. I was a co-founder of The National Buffalo Garden Festival, which merged with Garden Walk Buffalo in 2015, creating Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara.
I have operated my own advertising design business, JCharlier Communication Design, since 2000, having spent my “formative years” in adverting agencies in Buffalo, NY. My work (logos to print advertising to TV spots) have been honored with local, regional and national awards and have appeared in major industry publications.
I am the fortunate recipient of the Advertising Club of Buffalo’s David I. Levy Award recognizing outstanding achievement and service in the communications industry over an extended period of time, including contributions to my employers, the industry, and the community.
As an advertising designer, my regional clients have included Horizon Health Services, Marrano Homes, UB Law, Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, Eye Care and Vision Associates (ECVA), Fisher-Price, Hospice Buffalo, Schofield Care, Young Audiences of WNY, and dozens more.
I served as Vice President of the board of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Graycliff (a house museum), on the advisory council of the Castellani Art Museum, the Marketing Committee of Urban Roots Community Garden Center, co-founder of the National Buffalo Garden Festival, three-term past president of the Art Directors Club of Buffalo. I am currently on the board of the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens.
I accepted an international tourism award on behalf of the National Garden Festival – the Garden Tourism Promotion of the year award from the Garden Tourism Conference in Toronto in March of 2013. The Conference is held by the International Garden Tourism Network.
I’ve designed & produced a 120-page coffee-table book on Buffalo’s gardens with writer Elizabeth Licata and photographer Don Zinteck. Other books I’ve designed include Nickel City Chef, Buffalo’s Finest Chefs and Ingredients; The Buffalo Philharmonic, the BPO Celebrates the first 75 years; and AUDieu, Buffalo Says Goodbye to Memorial Auditorium.
I’ve been told that I am the country’s second leading garden tourism expert – by the country’s leading garden tourism expert, Richard Benfield. Mostly, he says, because there is no one else. I’ve written a book jacket endorsement for his book – the only book ever written on garden tourism – titled Garden Tourism.
Photo by Beth Insalaco.
I’ve given talks about garden tourism and consult with gardening organizations from around the country to help start, or further develop, their own garden tourism marketing. I have presented twice at the International Garden Tourism Network’s North American Conference.
I like to think I’ve taken my years of experience in advertising and PR and used these powers for good, promoting the image of Buffalo, NY that I see (as opposed to using my powers for evil – not that I haven’t done that too!) I will not stop until Buffalo is recognized nationally as a great gardening destination. Wish me luck.
I am fortunate to have married Leslie (1989!), and she’s fortunate to be a flight attendant since well before that. We travel whenever we can, and have visited destinations throughout the U.S. and the world. Our daughter, Margaux, is a teacher that works with kids with special needs.
- Buffalo Day at Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY
Garden Walk Buffalo, a City Transformed by Gardening
- WNY Hosta Society and Buffalo Area Daylily Society, East Aurora, NY
Garden Photos, Grow Your Know How
- Creative Mornings Buffalo, Delaware Park Casino, Creative Changemaker of the Month, interview and three-minute quick talk
- 20th Century Club, Buffalo
Stealing Ideas from Garden Tours Like Garden Walk Buffalo
- America in Bloom Symposium & Awards, San Luis Obispo, California, 2016.
Tourism from Beautiful Home Gardens: Generating tourism revenue with Minimal Investment
- Garden Tourism Conference, Toronto, Ontario, 2015.
Panel participant on The Value of Tourism Awards
- Garden Tourism Conference, Toronto, Ontario.
Gardens & Tourism: A Match for Success March 18 &19, 2013
- University at Buffalo Gender Institute – Buffalo Gardens Symposium
- Buffalo & Erie County Public Library – Gardening Week
- Center for the Study of Art, Architecture, History and Nature – “Imagine” Series
- WNYS Landscape & Nursery Association – Plantasia Lecture Series
- Western New York Hosta Society
Published Articles & Interviews
- THE PUBLIC weekly newspaper, “The Buffalo-style Garden” June 2018
- THE PUBLIC weekly newspaper, “Garden Tourism by the Numbers,” June 2016
- Leaf online magazine, “Flower Markets – Amsterdam Netherlands Bloemenmarkt,” Spring 2012.
- Real Gardens magazine, “Start a garden tour,” Summer 2011.
- The Buffalo News, “Our Generous Gardeners make Buffalo a Destination,” Thursday, July 28, 2011.
- INTERVIEW Buffalo Rising online magazine, “Garden Walk: Interview with Jim Charlier,” March 19, 2011.
- The Buffalo News, “Why Should Buffalo, NY be the Best Garden Destination in the Nation?” Friday, June 16, 2010
- INTERVIEW Buffalo Spree magazine, “716 Q&A – Jim Charlier: Talking the talk about walking the (Garden) Walk,” June 2010.
- People Places Plants, “Communicating Horticulturally” Spring 2008.
My Garden Has Appeared in:
- This Old House Magazine, “Small Wonder.” an eight-page spread, June 2017,
visit online version here.
- Buffalo Spree Magazine, “Chic Shed,” June 2017
- Garden Gate magazine, “How to create curb appeal,” August 2012
- Real Gardens, “Vine & Dandy,” Summer 2012
- Backyard Solutions, “Avoid Costly Mistakes,” Spring 2012
- The Buffalo News’ Buffalo Magazine, “It’s Winter, It’s Buffalo, Grow Something Indoors,” February/March 2011
- Fine Gardening, “Spice up the night,” August 2010
- Horticulture, “Walk This Way, Hometown Pride Blooms at Garden Walk Buffalo,” June/July 2010
- Great Backyards, “Attention to Details,” 2009
- Buffalo-Style Gardens, by Sally Cunningham and Jim Charlier, St. Lynn’s Press, 2019
- The Urban Garden: 101 Ways to grow Food and Beauty in the City, by Kathy Jentz and Teri Speight, Cool Springs Press, 2022
- Cultivating Garden Style: Inspired Ideas and Practical Advice to Unleash your Garden Personality, by Rochelle Greayer, Timber Press, 2014
Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces, by Susan Morrison and Rebbecca Sweet, “Fruit Trees for Gardens of Every Size, Dwarf Columnar Trees,” Cool Springs Press, 2011
- Garden Walk Buffalo, by Elizabeth Licata, with photographer Don Zinteck, designed by Jim Charlier, Buffalo Heritage Unlimited, 2006
- The Buffalo News, “New Ideas from Creative Gardeners,” August 5, 2016 with accompanying online slideshow.
- Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Nation’s largest garden tour is about to bloom in Buffalo,” July 2008