Moving announcement! New link to visit!
7 October 2018 | 11:08 pm
I have switched formats for this blog—from Blogger to Wordpress. This blog will stay here for archival purposes, no changes, but no additional posts either.

The posts from this site were forwarded to the new site, still accessible at

The new blog allows many new features. Stop over and check it out and book mark it!
Buffalo gardens all together...
Gardens to travel to...
Feature garden video content...

And still feature current posts.

The sun rises first on the Buffalo's East Side gardens!
23 July 2018 | 11:30 am

Gardeners of Buffalo's East Side banded together to create the first-ever garden tour on Saturday, July 21, 2018. And it was great.

Mary Vanvorst, a Gardens Buffalo Niagara (GBN) volunteer, Master Gardener of the Cornell Cooperative Erie County Program, and all around mensch (inside joke) helped East Side gardeners through the process of starting a tour —setting dates, soliciting gardens, coordinating  poster, map, and lawn sign printing, finding donations or sponsors, and much more. If you've ever volunteered to help run a garden tour, you know the myriad tasks that have to get done.

The Berry-Walker Garden
Mary came to the group after having developed and planned GBN's Buffalo Beyond Flowers Sustainability in Action and the East Side Momentum bus tours. Both tours featured unique gardens and projects on Buffalo's East side, and Westside, that demonstrate urban farming, community gardening, land reclamation through native species plantings, composting facilities, water reclamation projects, and much more. These tours take place in August and are now run by Explore Buffalo.

The Hodge Garden
The East Side gardeners embraced to idea and ran with, quickly garnering 40+ gardens. An impressive start for a first-time tour. Gardens Buffalo Niagara was secured as a 501(c)3 pass-through, and for promotional support, as well as a web presence on its (this) site. The group also received a generous donation from an anonymous donor, helping to defray expenses.
Buffalo's newest garden tour was born!

The group had me (I'm a graphic designer) design their logo, flyers, lawn signs and map. I could not be happier that I had even the smallest part in helping make it happen.
I did get the “warm fluffies” when I saw so many people out in gardens, appreciating the efforts of the gardeners and getting to know one another. Who’d have thought white folks with maps walking through the Fruitbelt could bring tears to one's eyes?

The Lott Garden
One unique thing I noticed is that the gardeners were so very proud of their gardens that they were more likely to personally show visitors around their gardens and point things out, rather than on most other tours where gardeners  are still friendly and approachable, but generally give visitors space and time to wander about. On this tour, it seemed as though most gardeners wanted to grab you by the hand and walk you through their gardens and show you what they see! I loved that.

Whether it's in East Aurora, or on the East Side, it's always great to see people bond over a common interest in gardening. Buffalo's East Side has a large African American population, but is much more diverse than most think.

The Elek Garden
Like any other garden tours that have no lofty garden criteria, no judging, and no fees to enter, there were some gardens that shone brighter than others. That's part of the exciting part though—over time gardeners "up their game", some gardeners encourage neighbors and friends to participate, and that makes a great tour greater. We've seen it over and over again in garden tours across the region.
And Mary and the east Side volunteer group should  feel tremendously satisfied to have been the spark (and the glue) to make it happen.

We're all hoping it becomes its own thing with its own leader(s) and volunteers—and funding sources. That’s the only way it’ll become sustainable. And I think it has a good shot now that Mary's efforts made the first one  happen. There is an audience and appetite for it.

The Brown Garden
This was no small undertaking. The GBN board is grateful to Mary and the gardeners of the East Side (and in awe). I, having been involved in garden tours and tourism for more than 20 years, could not be more proud of anything that the dozens and dozens of volunteers have done over the decades, than I am of these gardener's efforts with this tour.

This new tour, in my mind, helps fulfill Garden Walk Buffalo founder Marvin Lunenfeld’s vision of a democratic, egalitarian approach to a community effort through gardening. That vision seems more “whole”, now that more of Buffalo is a part of it, and it will only grow. Especially a part of Buffalo that’s been not been appreciated as it should be over the years.

East Side Garden Walk gardeners—I am your biggest fan.

The Thompson Garden.
Futures Academy Community Garden
The Berry-Walker Garden.
The Berry-Walker Garden.
The Wilson Street Farm. I bought some tomatoes here.
Chestnut Garden–Tony had ice cream!
The Berry-Walker Garden.
The Elek Garden
The Fabiniak Garden
The Bolden Garden
The Garner Garden

It's no too late to register for the specialty bus tours:
  • Buffalo Beyond Flowers
    Saturday, August 4, 2018, 10am
    Come see how Buffalo is going green – from a multi-million dollar project on Lake Erie to ecological renewal at the Central Terminal and an urban farm on the City’s West Side. Enjoy visiting a series of environmental successes and meet the individuals who made them happen. General Admission: $35; Explorer Pass Holders: $30. Admission includes docent-led tour, round-trip transportation with bus driver tip, plus a box lunch.
  • East Side Momentum
    Saturday, August 11, 2018, 9am
    Buffalo’s East Side is an area of distinct and evolving neighborhoods. Come visit a variety of sites that reveal its diversity. Project leaders will tell the stories behind sites including the Tu Hieu Buddhist Cultural Center, the Wilson Street Urban Farm, Pelion Community Garden at City Honors High School, and the ‘None Like You/We Care’ Community Center that pretty much does it all.  General Admission: $25; Explorer Pass Holders: $20; Admission includes docent-led tour and round-trip transportation with bus driver tip.

Having a ball in the garden
17 July 2018 | 11:00 am

After all these years of visiting Garden Walk Buffalo gardens, I still, on occasion, find gardens that leave me awestruck and delighted. This is this year's entry. The home garden of Julia and Tony Favorito on Linwood Avenue is a creative person's dream garden. The creative people are both designers, Tony a toy designer at Fisher Price; Julia a freelance designer of anything she can get her hands on—toys, gardens, interiors, and her crowning garden achievement—this sphere she built (yes, she built it herself).

The deck inside comfortably fits
5-6 Adirondack Chairs.
New this year, it was built in time for Tony's birthday this year. Julia also built it so there would be something interesting in the back yard to look at all year round from inside the house, but especially something significant and sculptural to see in the wintertime.

She purchased the plans for the sphere online, and had the wooden marine-grade staves custom milled by a friend, they had to be of exacting sizes. Then she assembled the base, then built the deck that is the interior platform, then finished the rest of the sphere.

And that cubist sculpture in the foreground? Tony learned how to weld and made that himself.

The large wall in the background is the back wall of the squash courts for the Delaware Avenue's Saturn Club. It was there when they moved in. They planted and encouraged the ivy on the wall.

The staves were curved as they were
installed. They were delivered flat.
Even without the sphere, it's a pretty amazing garden—where creative people, talented DIYers are married with style and good taste. There's a formal parterre garden, fire pit, vegetable potager, outdoor dining are and still plenty of room for a large lawn and an oversized Buckminster Fuller-ish sphere.

I hope you can find your way to this Linwood Avenue garden on Garden Walk Buffalo next Saturday and Sunday, July 28 & 29, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Rather than blather, let me show you some photos...
A kitchen garden, intermixed with perennials, takes up a side yard.
Much like fruit stays fresh under a pyramid, based on my research, I can now unequivocally state that a beer tastes better in a sphere.
A well-placed spotlight projects art on that big solid wall.
Sculpture you can party in.
The fire pit with a sexy little wall with an espalier.
The formal French parterre garden.
I have a new favorite garden. You must by now too.

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