Buffalo? you say-why would you want to go to Buffalo? Isn’t it covered in snow and not much else? Wrong….There’s something in the water in Buffalo and I suspect it may be the gardening bug.
This once mighty and by all accounts wealthy city has in recent years fallen upon difficult times but is currently undergoing major urban renewal and it’s being lead by many in the community who are just crazy about gardens and gardening and all things green and that got my attention. So, I packed my suitcase again, labelled it ‘USA or Bust’ and headed 11,333 miles or 18238 km which included three plane changes and an 8-hour train ride!
I attended the 2017 Garden Writers Association annual symposium which was held at The Buffalo Convention Centre at the beginning of August and the news is all good.
My friend from Arizona, Horticulturist, Arborist, and Blogger, AZ plant lady and I spent a couple of wonderful days exploring (walking, lots of walking) the city together before the conference. We ate twice at the same place-it was so good and we also snuck in some doughnut holes at Tim Hortons.
Like many cities, Buffalo has great bones, clean wide streets and really beautiful architecture, an interesting and diverse food culture, lovely lake views, theatres, good soil (important for us gardeners) and another magical, essential ingredient passionate people- willing to beautify their city and showcase it to the world in order to re-build it and give it a new identity.
A Farmers Market in the main street was in full swing during one of our morning walks. The blueberries were the biggest I have ever seen and they tasted so juicy and sweet.
We stumbled across a small but very worthwhile community education garden at Canalside and under a freeway overpass where edibles and perennials for beneficial insects were thriving in raised beds. Each bed contained decorative garden ephemera as well as practical information to show adults and children, how easy it can be to grow veggies in their homes in small spaces.
Canalside is also home to test gardens and magical views of the eastern end of Lake Erie.
Our conference took place the week after Garden Walk Buffalo, which is an annual event with more than 400 (!!!!) gardens open to the public on one weekend. More than 350 garden communicators gathered to visit the best of these gardens and more.
Buffalo is on the precipice of something great, I’m looking forward to seeing how this hidden gem of a city emerges from its cocoon like the butterflies that are being encouraged by its gardeners.
If you are visiting Niagara Falls then why not jump over the US border and check out Buffalo in August-the gardens are just lovely.
Special Thanks to the local GWA organising committee and for all the gardeners who shared their gardens with us for #GWA17