We’re back home after a weekend down in Buffalo New York, where we attended the annual Garden Walk Buffalo event. This year over 400 gardeners in the city opened up their gardens to the public.
Last year, I was unable to attend because I was laid up with a broken ankle, but that didn’t stop Tuffy P from attending with her friend Cathy P. This year Tuffy P and I attended the event along with cousins Brenda and Greg.
When we arrived at Garden Walk headquarters, in a seniors centre near the cottage district, we saw our friends Jennifer and Keith. Jennifer is likely the most skilled and knowledgeable gardener I know. She is also responsible for a great garden blog called The Fabulous Garden.
It is impossible to see all 400 gardens in two days. However, we gave it a good shot. We walked through so many Buffalo neighbourhoods until my dogs were howlin’, as the saying goes, and it was time for a cold beer and some good food.
Buffalo is less than two hours away from Toronto and yet it is a city I haven’t spent much time with. Unfairly, I associate it with channel 7 television during my childhood with Dialing for Dollars, Commander Tom, and Irv Weinstein telling us about the latest suspicious house fires.
This weekend we walked some very different areas of the city pulled together by the Garden Walk. Sure there are some expensive areas with huge homes and some very well-dressed gardens. However we also saw some communities in transition, areas being cleaned up, rebuilt, and restored, and we learned about the role of community gardens in that change. We walked through one community garden created on an abandoned lot where once stood what we were told was a 3-story crack house. We met a fellow who occupied an abandoned property, squatting there until he could take possession of the property, including house and coach house – for $4,000. This was a house which needed a great deal of work, and the improvements this homeowner has made are part of a general trend in this community.
Here are a few photos of gardens we saw.