Hand-built barns, ponds and lavish gardens mark Tonawanda property

Brian and Linda Blyth in their garden in Tonawanda NY
view of trellis in Tonawanda NY garden

The first thing you notice about the yard of Brian and Linda Blyth is how beautiful it is.The next thing that surprises visitors is how large it is.

“It goes back and back and back,” Linda said.

The Blyths showed their yard at 939 Delaware Road, Tonawanda, during the Ken-Ton Garden Tour on July 21 and 22.

You can also see their garden from 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday, July 26 during the Open Gardens of the National Garden Festival. This is the last week of Open Gardens.

view of buildings in garden in Tonawanda NY

We visited the Blyths at the end of June.

Because of the way the streets angle, their lot is 400 feet deep and is one of the largest lots in Tonawanda. Above left is a trellis on a path leading away from the house.

handmade wagon in Tonawanda NY

Linda’s grandparents used to own the home, built around 1949. She remembers that when she was a child, her grandfather would have truckloads of leaves dumped on the property, which he would till into the ground. As a result, they have good soil.

Brian lays out the gardens.

“He’s pretty much the artist,” Linda said. “He decides how they should flow and where they should go.”

hammock in Tonawanda NY garden

“We intersperse flowers and vegetables,” Brian said. “I like the looks of the big pumpkin leaves and the uprightness of the corn stalks. They look nice with the flowers.”

Edging is tremendously important to the look of the garden, he said, and he will manicure the edges of the garden beds with scissors.

The property has two barns, a gazebo, arbors and trellises, all built by Brian. You can get a glimpse of some of the structures above right.

first pond with waterfall in garden in Tonawanda NY

He also made several wooden wagons, wheels and all. You can see one in the photo above left.

While Brian is busy with his woodworking, Linda enjoys embroidery. Brian is wearing a shirt embroidered with the saying, “I fought  the lawn and the lawn won.”

The hammock, above right, is a great place to rest, but it doesn’t get used that much. From spring to summer, the Blyths are working in the yard sunup to sundown.

They can’t simply take a casual stroll through their gardens without pulling weeds.

“Sometimes we say, ‘Well, let’s go through the garden and just enjoy it,'” Linda said, “but it never works.” They say their motto is, “Never walk past a weed!”

second pond in Tonawanda NY

One area that does get used every day is the gazebo where they eat breakfast and dinner. It even has a refrigerator and microwave.

Another lovely feature is a beautiful pond with a waterfall. It’s covered with colorful water lilies. If you look carefully at the photo above left, you can spot a frog toward the lower left corner.

view toward back of house Tonawanda NY

As you continue along the path past more garden beds, you get a surprise– yet another pond! The second pond, seen in the photo at right,  is more natural, with the grassy banks sloping into the water.

As you head back to the house, you get the feeling you’re on a country path instead of in the middle of a busy suburb.

Linda is always looking for new and interesting flowers. Below are just a few:

crazy daisy in Tonawanda NY
Crazy Daisy has skinny petals giving the flower a ruffled, almost fuzzy look.
Banana Cream daisy in Tonawanda NY
‘Banana Cream’ daisy has yellowish petals.
sea holly Miss Wilmots Ghost in Tonawanda NY
Sea holly ‘Miss Wilmot’s Ghost’ makes a nice dried flower.
Green Jewel echinacea in Tonawanda NY
‘Green Jewel’ echinacea is a new green variety of echinacea. You may be familiar with the purple coneflower, which is a pink variety of echinacea.

Garden walk next week:

Garden Walk Buffalo

Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Garden Walk Buffalo is the largest garden tour in America! Find a list of locations where you can pick up a paper map of the garden locations. Get a pdf of the map right here.

Photos by Connie Oswald Stofko

3 Comments on “Hand-built barns, ponds and lavish gardens mark Tonawanda property

  1. I so enjoyed reading this article and viewing the pictures of Brian and Linda’s Garden. My brother told me years ago about this surprising garden. For the love of plants!

  2. They have quite a bit in this garden. The hammock is a nice spot for resting, even though they do not use it much.

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