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!