Common ground

Bird St garden partyNo matter where a group of gardeners may convene, we will always find common ground and inspiration. This past weekend about 70 of us from all over North America got together in Buffalo, NY for the 3rd annual garden bloggers meet-up. If you’re only vaguely familiar with Buffalo’s riches to rags industrial history, or like me, have passed through without stopping, it might seem like an unlikely city for a garden tour. But, believe it or not, Buffalo is definitely on the map as a rich horticultural destination.

Thanks to our hosts Elizabeth Licata and Jim Charlier (and a gajillion sponsors), we were treated to a sneak peek into a few gardens on the Buffalo Garden Walk – over 350 gardens all over the city will be open to the public (free and self-guided) the weekend of July 24-25. Since 1995, this (non-competitive) tour has grown block by block and become a floriferous symbol of urban renewal and civic pride. In every neighborhood that we went to, there was visible proof of gardeners inspiring neighbors to be adventurous gardeners. I’ve never seen such a concentration of densely and diversely planted postage-stamp sized gardens and am left to wonder if there’s a way to achieve the same feeling of intimacy on a slightly larger piece of property like my garden or even within Blithewold…

an illusion of space in an Allentown gardenLittle Summer St. garden with a factory relic backdropCottage district garden in the rain (beehives on the garage roof!)

We also took in Erie Basin Marina University Test Gardens, Buffalo Japanese Garden, Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, Lockwoods Greenhouses, and Mike and Kathy Shadrack’s (they literally wrote the books on hostas) amazing hosta/hemerocallis garden deep in the woods of North Boston, NY (all pictured below). I feel like I still have a lot to process and learn from seeing these places and hope to revisit them in future posts.

Erie Basin Marina University Test Garden flagged with favoritesBuffalo Japanese GardenHarry Lockwood of Lockwood's Greenhouses pointing out their  succession planting of corn and mums.Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Garden Shadrack terrace garden strolling the Shadrack terrace garden

group shotSince there are easily as many reasons to garden – and blog – as there are those of us who do it, the inspiration we can glean from each other – not to mention our surroundings – is infinite. I’m so glad to have had a chance to meet so many compatriots all at once and I’m eager now to see more photos from the weekend and read everyone’s thoughts about Buffa10. For a list of links to posts already written about the event, click here.

Have you found common ground on unfamiliar turf (in Buffalo or anywhere else) and come home inspired?