Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Makings of a Garden

I'm only partially ashamed to admit that the idea for our Orchard Parkway Garden Walk came from a long night of wine sipping, err, drinking on the porch of my good friend "Margaret's" house. We had just attended the Garden Walk in our neighboring Buffalo, and thought - why can't we do it here?

Even though it was dark, we surveyed the yards of our neighbors with the light from the lamp posts situated on our parkway, and said: "Some of these are better than the ones we saw there!" And there it was - a test, a challenge - to engage our neighbors into playing along with our idea that we too could have a Garden Walk.

We started a block club, and soon enough, spring and summer came and gardens bloomed. People who had never planted, did, and those who didn't plant, cleaned, trimmed, and mowed. The whole street was a vision of perfection for that day, 300 people crowded the street on foot, smiling and laughing, going from garden to garden, and Scott, "Margaret" and I smiled and said: "See, we knew we could do it!"

A neighbor, and good friend is quite the gardener. Her yard was a stand out, one that Margaret and I surveyed from the front porch of her home under the lights of the parkway. Melisa's garden was already one of the best on the street, but she did make a few additions last year. Hydrangea and Banana Palm, Weeping Cherry Tree, and a few fun annuals. I spoke to her yesterday, and she's thinking of adding bird of paradise this year ... how fun is that?

Here the porch where it all started. "Margaret's" house. Her gorgeous hydrangeas bloomed through the fall, and actually helped me out immensely during my back yard party. What you miss here is the beautiful early summer blooms Margaret has from her gorgeous pink and white peonies, and the forsythia. Like the curtains on the porch? It pays to have friends with power tools - (i.e., I hung them!) Margaret and I had a hard time finding good ferns last year. These were much smaller than the ones we found the year before, and if I am correct, they didn't fare was well as the earlier ones either. Because Margaret's porch is so inviting, it's home to many a late night gathering of good friends, and served as the "hot-spot" last May for my 26th birthday party.

And here we have my house, Hosta Heaven! Our front yard is almost entirely shaded by the large trees planted over 100 years ago that line our street. Hosta's have been my one true standby over the past couple of years, coming back and flourishing without much effort. Two days before the garden walk, I picked up the potted palms you see in the background to add height to the garden. I never even planted them thinking there wasn't anyway they were going to make it ... but to my surprise, they lasted well into fall right where they were, and I think will become a happy member of Hosta Heaven from now on. Coleus, Coral Bells, Astilbe, and white impatiens add a pop of color to the space.

So as the skies still fill with sunless gray hues, reminding me everyday that it's still March in Western New York, I look forward to July 11, this year's Garden Walk, and all of the lovely gardens that will be featured there. If you're in the area, feel free to email me for more information!


  1. Love it! Did you charge for it? Donate the monies to a charity? Love that you came up with that...and love that you are doing it again. Looking forward to pix!!

  2. Oh I love Margaret's porch and have always dreamed of having one like it. Would it be for sale? :)

    With the addition of new flowers, I can only imagine how amazing your flower beds will be this year.
    (As my new gardens got off to such a late start last summer, I am anxious to see how they progress.)

    Hmmmm, a Garden Walk on July 11th you say. It is a very tempting thought since you are just a stone's throw away.

  3. How beautiful and what a fun project to get going with your neighbors!

    I love our little slice of heaven out in the middle of nowhere - but you've made me remember how great it can be to live in an actual 'neighborhood'!

  4. Wow, a great idea and results. I can see why Margaret's would be everyone's favorite. Perfection. And shall I dare say I like the grey?? lol
    And yours is great too, Artie! I love hosta but the deer and ground moles here do too. I finally had to leave them in their plastic pots to plant in the ground to keep the moles from destroying them. Is that an enclosed porch on the front of your house?

    G in CT

  5. Hey Artie, My blogger doesn't do a very good job of keeping updated on posts. Sorry I missed your last one.
    I'm glad that life has settled down enough for you to visit blogland again. I'll be looking forward to seeing more of your garden as spring arrives.
    Hugs, B.

  6. Bravo! I started a Home and Garden tour in our old neighborhood seven years ago and am amazed at how popular it has become. It also created a new found pride of place for so many neighbors who embraced it with enthusiasm. Hard work, but definitely worth the effort in a lovely, old neighborhood.

    And boy, do these pictures make me long for Spring. I can't wait to get my hands in the dirt again!

  7. I love the idea of a Garden Walk. These are amazing photos, Artie. I am really longing for Spring, this year!!

    The previous post was lovely also.

  8. the photos are just so beautiful and inspiring. thanks for sharing some green...all we see around here is white right now!

  9. It's going to be a really fun garden walk. So exciting! Your hostas are ever so happy in their heaven. Looks wonderful and how much more special to have good neighbors.