You can visit all of Cherie St. Pierre’s gardens in Eggertsville as part of the Open Gardens program of the National Garden Festival, but one is so different than the others that we had to give it an article of its own.
While St. Pierre’s home and an adjoining property have traditional yards, her rental property across the street at 3887 Bailey has no grass in its front or backyard!
She loves gardening, but the retired art teacher doesn’t want to be bothered cutting grass. She has a lawn service for her home and adjoining property, but when she bought the home across the street, she decided she didn’t want the added expense of having the lawn service mow those small front and back lawns, too. So St. Pierre chose an option that’s more common in the city than the suburbs: She turned both yards into gardens.
The front yard features straight lines of plants that includes small shrubs, perennials and some annuals. The light green mounds near the bottom of the first photo are artemesia. (This photo was taken in late evening; in the daytime artemesia is silvery green.) Beyond that, the row of flowering portulaca loves the heat of the day. The chartruese mounds that line the walkway are Scottish moss (not to be confused with Irish moss, which is dark green).
Visitors to the home are welcomed by two large pots of annuals placed at the base of the front steps. St. Pierre chose million bells, which bloom until it snows, and which you don’t have to “dead head” (remove dead flowers to encourage more blooming). She bought the flowers in hanging baskets, removed the hangers from the baskets, and placed the flowers, basket and all, into her large pot.
Breaking up the straight lines of the yard is the curved line of the flower bed against the house. The tall purple flower you see there is liatris.
The right of way, or section of land between the sidewalk and street, can be tricky. If you fill it in with flowers, where do you set your garbage cans on collection day? St. Pierre addressed this problem with the use of pavers surrounded by gravel.
The pavers are the diamond shapes you see in the photo. They are 20-inch squares that come in different colors, she explained.
St. Pierre makes good use of the pavers in the backyard as well. They form paths and a patio, too. The pavers are surrounded by mulch, which fills in space that otherwise would have to be covered in grass or flowers to look finished.
When she gets weeds, she said she sprays them with weed killer to make them easier to pull out.
St. Pierre notes that an advantage of using the pavers for the patio is that, unlike concrete, the pavers aren’t permanent. They can simply be lifted when your landscaping needs change.
St. Pierre’s gardens are open from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 8, 15 and 22.
Her gardens were also part of the Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk on Saturday, July 17. The walk is presented by the University Heights Collaborative, the Eggertsville Community Organization and the University at Buffalo.