Breathing new life into Buffalo, one petunia at a time!

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.

 

Stunning Cone flowers

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!

Lovely buildings on every corner

Buffalo Theatre district

Even the office building are into plants

Great spot for a meal-we ate here twice!

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.

Don’t these look delicious?

Farmers market baskets

Eat your greens

Juiciest blueberries I have ever tasted

I can’t un-smell these beauties

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.

Lake Erie and the test gardens

Rebuilding Buffalo one petunia at a time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

https://gardensbuffaloniagara.com/events/garden-walk-buffalo/

 

 

First Class Contemporary Design-Atlanta Style

Over the past few years, many of my landscape designs have involved interpreting garden spaces surrounding Giorgi Exclusive home designs in Perth, Western Australia. I have completed four of these high-end gardens in the past two years and so you can imagine how excited I was to check out a contemporary garden in Atlanta during my trip there in September and I was so pleased to see and confirm that my garden plantings are really ‘bang on’ trend with comparable cutting edge designs in the USA.

I will admit it, I do at times question myself, I suppose it’s natural, there have been times when my clients look at me with that “are you serious?, you want to plant that?!” kind of look because they are too polite to say it out aloud and I go back and think and look and check and read and re-read again…I guess that’s a part of any healthy creative process and the mental torture that anyone designing something puts themselves through…probably pretty normal I expect.

Creating a garden space around a contemporary home can be challenging because the Landscape Designer needs to consider what the Architect had in mind and provide a design that is sympathetic to that design while at the same time offering much needed green space for the family. The garden needs to support the family that is going to live there. It’s a significant investment for the garden owner at the end of their build but I must say that for me the garden is the icing on the cake of a new home (I find it hard to get excited about tiles). The work of the Garden Designer is the finishing touch, when that lawn is down it tells the neighbourhood-This House is finally complete, a family is moving in.

Here’s my Top 5 Tips for creating a Stylish Contemporary Garden

  1. Improve the soil. This is probably the most important aspect fo creating a new garden. It makes no sense trying to plant new plants beautifully nurtured by the wholesale grower into builders sand leftover from the build. New soil enriched with mature compost is an essential foundation for any garden
  2. Invest in Large Trees.  I always try and include as many mature trees into the design as I can, the idea is that the new home sits comfortably back into the landscape in as short as time as possible. Mature trees give you this
  3. Mass Plantings for a bold effect. Large drifts of plants particularly when working with hard landscaped raised beds always looks best. Colour, shape and variations of light through shadows by plants against walls can be achieved through careful selection of mass planted foliage plants
  4. Include Edibles. I always try to include edibles in every garden every client needs at least a few herbs to compliment their cooking
  5. Include Flowers Yes, green is a colour and I love it but I am a sucker for flowers. I follow the same disciplined principle of mass planting whatever I choose for best effect. This does not mean I plant a monoculture, just that there is never one or two of anything in the contemporary gardens I create .

Here’s some images from the Private Garden of Robin and Marc Pollack just outside Atlanta Georgia

Bold and Cobalt Blue Contemporary art to compliment the landscape

Bold and Cobalt Blue Contemporary art to compliment the landscape

Even the birds live a stylish life here

Even the birds live a stylish life here

Attention to detail

Attention to detail a place for everything

Foliage provides a pop of colour

Foliage provides a pop of colour

img_2750img_2755

Challenging variation in heights-note one of my favourite plants Ficus Pumila on white wall

Challenging variation in heights-note one of my favourite plants self clinging, easy trim, Ficus Pumila on white walls

Imagine standing around here with a nice glass of red on a cold winters night

Imagine standing around here with a nice glass of red on a cold winters night

Who wouldn't want to dine here?

Who wouldn’t want to dine here?

 

Mass planting for a stylish effect

Mass planting for a stylish effect

Love the variations of underfoot hardscaping

Love the variations of underfoot hardscaping

A very stylish way to invite nature into the garden

A very stylish way to invite nature into the garden

Groups of three pots in dark charcoal

Groups of three pots in dark charcoal

Stunning outdoor seating for the whole family

Stunning outdoor seating for the whole family

Always room for Edibles

Always room for edibles

Garden Writers on tour

Garden Writers on tour

Every good painting needs a splash of red

Every good painting needs a splash of red

Plants that provide shadows on white walls-living art

Plants that provide shadows on white walls-living art

img_2758

Even the Glasshouse offers contemporary style

Even the Glasshouse offers contemporary style

How did they get those post up there?

How did they get those post up there?

A cool place to sit

A cool place to sit

Check out Giorgi Exclusive Homes at their website http://www.giorgi.co