Garden Walk Buffalo, Real Gardens

I Aspire to Buffalo-Style Gardening


Elizabeth’s recent post about the new term “Buffalo-style gardening” got me thinking. The style is said to be characterized by gardening not landscaping, man-made objects, and less lawn, but to me there’s more to this, my favorite style of gardening ever. Isally1‘d add to the list: color and lots of it, and plenty of seating. Not just seating but full-scale party rooms like Gordon Ballard’s amazing garden, shown above. (Thanks to GardenWalk Buffalo for the images.)

Or how about Jim Charlier’s garden, for crissakes? And though tiny, Elizabeth’s garden hosts parties and high-impact color, too. (Shown here with party animals Sally Cunningham, Jim Charlier and Gordon Ballard.)


Then there are buffalos as garden ornaments.


And these crazy planters made from tires.

OLD Back Garden
Here are some touches of Buffalo style I’ve added to my own gardens. The first was buying Adirondack chairs in teal. Another, painting the back wall of my house turquoise and decorating it further with cheap metal art.



Homemade leaf castings in more bright colors.

New Back Garden5

In my current garden I’ve added increasingly colorful garden flags, an orange dragon (a $3 yard sale find), and the concrete puppy I’ve had all my life.


I painted my privacy screens teal to match the Adirondacks, then hung some Mardi Gras beads and a Mexican metal fish on one of them.


The other screen is adorned only by the lush Bignonia vine and colorful Acuba ‘Picturata.’ Both are evergreen, as is the Sedum groundcover.


Most Buffalo-style of all may be my patios, like this one in my front yard, as seen in April of this year.

I’d love nothing more than for Buffalo-style gardening to spread across this great nation and beyond, but realistically, it’ll be adopted by the plant-loving, creative, colorful few, which would still be great. More people will see their Inner Buffalo Gardener come out to play, thanks to all the attention Buffalo gardens are getting and the Garden Writers Association holding their annual conference there next year.

Photo credit for puppy collage: Heather Brooks.

Posted by on June 10, 2016 at 8:16 am, in the category Garden Walk Buffalo, Real Gardens.
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10 responses to “I Aspire to Buffalo-Style Gardening”

  1. Deirdre says:

    DC Tropics;

    I was born in Buffalo, but Mother couldn’t stand the climate, so we moved to Seattle. I’ve never regretted the move. We really can garden year round.

  2. Julie says:

    My best friend and partner in gardening are traveling to the Buffalo Garden Walk this year from southern Vermont simply based on the blogs from this site. Can’t wait to see the gardens and the uniqueness of it all. Cannot. Wait.

  3. I actually like both too. There’s something I secretly do love about the pristine “golf course yard” But then I do love the Buffalo Garden Walk each year and how I never see a garden quite like another one….actually….I never know what I’ll see so I always make sure my camera is handy for inspiration!!!

  4. eliz says:

    Good work with those leaf castings Susan!

  5. Tibs says:

    What, no bottle trees? Tire planters are socially acceptable now? If this type of garden was seen in a rural area it would be made fun of by people. Location, matters. Not saying I don’t like it, just think it ironic.

  6. David Lincoln says:

    I’m 70 miles diwn the thruway (Rochester).
    I like and try to do this type of gardening in the backyard ( I call it ” Whimaculture) ) although I do admit to a more formal English front yard with Boxwood and lots of green with a hint of terra cotta.
    Perhaps it’s like a secret garden with these attributes in the back.

  7. Amy Zhang says:

    How beautiful the garden is! It’s nice to wake up by the singing of birds in the morning, to be cooled up by the wind when sitting under the trees.

  8. kermit says:

    Love your garden, Susan! There is a place for calm, a place for formal art, and a place for practical people who don’t especially care what their property looks like as long as it’s neat enough. But I want a place to play, and if I must play more slowly than I did forty years ago, what better place than my own garden?

    I hadn’t realized that my gardening impulses had a genre name. These are excellent for upbeat relaxation. I have to stay focused far too much and for too long at work, and it’s good to unwind and let my available energy take me where it will. These gardens remind me of a child’s day of play during summer off from school. It’s not that these gardens lack cohesion, but rather they seem to have grown without a tight leash. I think that – excuse me, there’s a squirrel that needs my attention.

  9. DC Tropics says:

    It’s nice to see Buffalo getting some recognition for its gardens. Little did I know, when I was growing up in Buffalo, how spoiled I was with such a good gardening climate! Buffalo has a (well-deserved) reputation for snowy winters but the rest of the year, the climate is quite pleasant. I miss those summer nights when the temperature cools down so nicely…

  10. Laura Munoz says:

    I love the colors and exuberance of these gardens. They’re simple, eclectic, and fun. I’d much rather have a Buffalo-styled garden than one of neatly clipped hedges and a manicured lawn although those gardens have their place too.