As much as I love urban gardens—their verticality, their elegant hardscaping and surrounding architecture—I wonder what it would be like to have acres to play with. Or at least one acre. If I judged by the comments of the suburban gardeners who visit me during Garden Walk, I would assume all suburban gardens are filled with a few bushes and a whole lot of chewed off stubs, the ravaged remains left by hordes of ravenous deer and rabbits. Discouraging. Doesn’t make you want to run out and start gardening in the burbs.
Fortunately, I know this dreary picture is far from true, largely through the bloggings of many of you. And just last weekend, I visited one of the most gloriously abundant suburban gardens I have ever seen. It was part of the Ken-Ton (Kenmore-Tonawanda) Garden Walk, just outside the Buffalo city limits.
Behind an unprepossessing little Cape Cod (above) lies a winding, meandering series of beds, ponds, trellises, arbors, sheds, even a little train. I was particularly impressed with how food gardens were blended with flower gardens, and nothing was behind wire fencing. I also loved the use of many, many old-fashioned annuals such as cleome, castor bean, lavatera, nicotiana, and amaranth.
The owners, the Blyths, have a small mail order seed company, Song ‘n’ Bird Gardens; there’s no website, but I think the stapled catalogs are distributed locally. They grow a variety of annuals from seed and sell them in fours and sixes for pick-up.
Who would have known that such a place was a few miles away? This definitely solves my seed-starting problems. I’ll be ordering plants from them, including castor bean. Mine (from seed) is now about 12 inches high, and none of my indoor-started seeds made it.
This garden would not be my garden. It’s a bit too rustic, and some of the annuals are not my favorites. But I am tempted by the idea of having something this extensive to wander through. No designers or landscapers here: just a plant-loving couple who are all too willing to share it with others.Posted by Elizabeth Licata on August 6, 2008 at 5:00 am, in the category Real Gardens.