Too shady for grass, Hamburg yard is filled with gardens, paths & curios

sunny garden bed with bed frame in Hamburg NYby Connie Oswald Stofko

An iron headboard and foot board give another meaning to the term “garden bed” in this yard at 224 East Prospect Ave., Hamburg, where Kathleen Winter shared her gardens during Buzz Around Hambug on Saturday and Sunday, July 14 and 15.overview of backyard in Hamburg NY

This part of Winter’s front yard is one of the few sunny spots on her property. Her side and back yards are under a canopy of tree branches, which is delightful during the hot weather we’ve been having. Unfortunately, it’s so shady that she can’t grow grass.

Her solution was to create pathways and garden beds, which you can see in the photo at left.pick axes and bed pan as garden decorations

But what’s really unusual is the way Winter uses found objects.

“I don’t throw anything away,” she said. “If it’s rusted, I stick it in the garden.”

In the photo at right is a small collection of her curios in one bed. In the foreground, a set of pick axes forms a daisy design. Behind that is a chair planter that Winter made from posts left over from her fence. Toward the left, the white plant container is an old fashioned enameled metal bed pan.grapevine trellis in Hamburg NY

In the photo above is a trellis that her sister twined with grape vines. Items collected over years by her father, whose job it was to clear away train wrecks, are hung from the trellis, including rusted chains, screws, nuts and bolts.wicker chair as plant holder in Hamburg NY

“I’m just a collector of junk like he was,” Winter said fondly.

Because there isn’t much color in her yard, Winter likes to set baskets of annuals around the yard. At right, an old wicker chair may be too rickety to support a person, but it can easily hold a pot of flowers.

She uses shoes and work boots as containers for plants, which is  something she’s been doing for years. When her son was a child, he used to tell his friends, “Don’t take your shoes off or my mom will put a flower in it.”

When Winter installed the patio, shown at left, she had sand left over. Her nephew enjoyed playing in, so she built a sand box for him.

patio and sandbox in Hamburg NY yardWinter made many of the bird houses that decorate her garden. One has license plates for the roof and another has a faucet for a perch. Below right, rusty door hinges, a draw pull, a heavy door lock and a huge safety pin accessorize yet another bird house. tree house in Hamburg NY

Below are a few more views from Winter’s yard, which might give you ideas on how you can use items you may already have in your own garden.

lawn mower as decoration in grassless yard in Hamburg NY
An old push mower has no work to do in this grassless yard and becomes a lawn ornament.


old barrel and crate in Hamburg NY
Old barrels and a crate marked “Queen City Pure  Water” make unusual container gardens.
pine cones in old pail in Hamburg NY garden
Because the bottom is falling off, this bucket is no good for hauling water, but it looks great spilling out a mound of pine cones.
vases and cultivator decorate Hamburg NY garden
To the right is an old cultivator, and  the creation to the left holds water or seed for birds. Winter put it together using silicone glue and vases and glass dishes from a second-hand store.

Don’t miss these other stories of garden walks from this past weekend:

Gardens surround hand-built log home in Grand Island

South Buffalo gardener fills many gardens with plants that spread

Broken pipe prompts Buffalo gardeners to create grassless yards



Garden walks coming up next weekend:

Amherst Garden Walk

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 21

Get a map of the gardens here.

Ken-Ton Garden Tour, 10th anniversary

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22, with night tour on Saturday from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.

This self-guided tour will take place in the Village of Kenmore and the Town of Tonawanda. The night tour, called Saturday Night Lights, will be held 8:30 to 10:30 pm. Saturday, July 21.  Look for a guide to the gardens here.


Lancaster Garden Walk

10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22

The 9th annual Lancaster Garden Walk is a free self-guided tour of gardens. Programs are available at Two Chicks and a Rooster, 720 Aurora Street in the Town of Lancaster, and at Petals to Please,  corner of Central Avenue and Pleasant Avenue in the Village of Lancaster. For more information visit or visit them on Facebook. See the list of gardens on the 2012 Lancaster Garden Walk and a map of the walk.


West Seneca Garden Walk

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22

The West Seneca Garden Walk will take place for the first time this year. Pick up maps at Ebenezer Greenhouse, 1347 Union Rd., West Seneca. Get maps right here. Maps will also be available on the Burchfield Nature & Art Center website.


Photos by Connie Oswald Stofko

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