Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's Right Around the Corner: GARDEN WALK

Well, it's almost July 10th, and I have to tell you that this day has been lurking in the shadows until the recent gallop it took on in just the past week. I feel like all of a sudden it's here and I'm not even half way finished; but then again, isn't that true of most things?

If you remember when I started this blog (and if you REALLY do, congratulations, YOU are my biggest fan!) it was to coordinate the Garden Walk, and really was meant to be a way for me to learn more about gardening and share my novice gardening ideas and follies with the world, hence: Niagara Novice. But as the day came and went that July 10th, three years ago, I decided that I loved writing too much to stop ... and thus, the sometimes all over the map Color Outside the Lines became my forum for sharing everything I know, think, and feel about the things that make for a well rounded life.

But, for a minute - we'll get back to Garden Walk. It started simply as an idea; a novelty of one lazy night of sipping on wine and laughing with friends. But as it grew, and it did grow, it became something else. Something no longer a novelty, no longer an idea, but an event, and a successful one at that. People who I didn't know on the street were suddenly stopping by to see what garden goodies I was toting home, and people I thought didn't garden were creating these awe worthy displays in baskets, pots, and in their front yards. It was gratifying, and stimulating, and all of things that it was supposed to be.

Here are some photos from the first year, courtesy of BFD Photography Studio:

Beautiful, right? Yes, there are some very talented novice gardeners and even a couple garden pros on our tiny street of 47 houses. And that's what makes the walk so special. Every garden is a different style: cottage, formal, sun, shade, filled with perennials, potted with annuals - there's endless supply of inspiration and beauty at every turn. After the first year, we were astonished by the success and moved forward to another winter of planning for the second annual walk. That winter, we included Chilton Avenue, a street that abuts Orchard Parkway to the North, and is filled with charming homes and gardens that deserved some attention. Of course, the weather wasn't so accommodating in 2009:

The kids were huddled up on the porch of where it all started selling hand painted river rocks and lemonade to benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand for Childhood Cancer Research. The rain fell for most of the morning and early afternoon, but afterward, the skies opened up and the sun came through, allowing almost 500 people to enjoy the gardens.

It was a bit soggy, but it ended beautifully and we all found ourselves excited about what changes might happen in the year to come. Of course, my garden grew and grew and grew, until eventually it looked like this in August:

This year, with the addition of the pergola, and the new tree and perennial bed surrounding it; topped off with a heat wave of unprecedented proportion, and the garden is popping all over the place! I've got things I didn't think were going to come back peaking up along the fence, and things that were never supposed to be bigger than 6" around coming back 12 and 20" around. So, although the look isn't necessarily as I had predicted, it's lovely none the less, and ready for you to come visit! So if you're in the neighborhood (I know many of you aren't) stop by Saturday between 9 and 3 and take a peak at all the gardens. For those of you who can't I'll have our yard, and all of the special touches I've got planned up for your pleasure on Monday.

Now, I'm off to do real work for the next 6 hours, before I have to run home and try to find a space for the plants I bought last week that I have absolutely no place for!


  1. Artie, I do remember the first garden walk! I have always been so enamored with this idea. Such a wonderful way to revitalize a neighborhood - old or new. Can't wait to see the current garden walk pictures.

    We are going on the annual pond tour in two weeks. I'll share the pictures of that then.

  2. Hi Artie!
    I love the Garden Walk idea!!! What a wonderful way to bring the neighborhood together. I am looking forward to seeing the photos next week. Wish I could see the gardens in person.

    Jane (artfully graced)

  3. Beautiful gardens! Great idea about the garden walk, Artie!...Christine

  4. Artie, your garden is always amazing! I wish I lived close enough to come...I'd be there so fast! What a neat yearly tradition for your neighborhood. Looking forward to seeing the pics! :-)

  5. What an inspiring idea! Good on you to get things going in your neighbourhood. Looking forward to Monday's post.