There are many elements to the landscaping at the Williamsville home of Susan Holt: a long stone wall, a winding gravel path leading to a secluded shade garden, a waterfall as the focal point of a lush back yard. The vegetation is full, abundant, interesting and colorful.
What you won’t see is many flowers. Some of the few blooms are on the flowering dogwood, the white flowers on the bush in the first photo.
“I intentionally have a foliage garden,” Holt said. “I won’t do flowering plants unless they have decent foliage. I like green.”
Her gardens in Williamsville were on display Saturday, June 26, in the seventh annual Williamsville Garden Walk.
Holt has lived in the home for five years. What would normally be a front and side yard has been converted to a curving gravel path that leads to a quiet, shady courtyard with a small, tranquil fountain. The plants are large and full. They include a rhododendron that is perhaps six feet tall. She rescued it from “sick bay” at a florist, and it flourished where it was planted. Other plants that do well in her shade garden are maidenhair fern, which she says is winter hardy in the Buffalo area, and Japanese maple.
All of her gardens have been developed over the short span of five years.
Holt’s advice to gardeners is that if you see a plant you like, try it.
“If it doesn’t like you, don’t get upset,” she said. “Try moving it.”
If, after three moves it still doesn’t do well, then you can give up on that plant, she said.
An outdoor art show featuring works by members of the Williamsville Art Society was held in conjunction with the garden walk.
Other activities included a talk on perennials by Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s Florist & Greenhouses; a display of garden photography by Susan Kogutek at the Williamsville Meeting House, and a sidewalk sale by local businesses. There was also a farmers market, which is held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday.
“Having this garden walk shows our village in a really great light,” said Mary Lowther, Williamsville mayor. “Gardening is the number one hobby in the United States. What a great way to see a community.”