by Connie Oswald Stofko
A natural slope creates a terraced effect in the backyard of Darryl Moden and Chuck Hidy, and they take advantage of it with features including a Medina stone wall and steps leading up to a pergola that serves as a gateway to the top tier.
This is one of about 25 properties you can see on the Amherst Garden Walk to be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 12. You can pick up maps at the Town of Amherst Municipal Building, 5583 Main St., Amherst; at Arbordale Nurseries, 480 Dodge Rd, Getzville; at Menne Nursery, 3100 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst, or online.
On the day of the walk, you can also pick up maps at Moden and Hidy’s home, 111 Campus Drive West, Amherst.
Moden is originally from Medina, and they brought all the stone for their projects from Medina.
They built the Craftsman-style pergolas themselves. You can see one pergola in the photo at the beginning of this article. There’s a second pergola over a hot tub on the patio. The pergolas are constructed from hemlock from a mill in Medina. When it’s stained, it looks like cedar.
Carrying through with the Craftsman style theme are lighting fixtures made by Hidy. The one above is in the front garden.
Another stunning feature is a 2,200-gallon koi pond, which you can see above. It’s 3 ½ feet deep in the center with a shallower shelf along the edge. Yellow, white and pink lilies live in the pond.
The pond is positioned so that people walking down the street can get a view of it from the sidewalk as they stroll by.
A heron was bothering the fish, but since Moden and Hidy stretched a net in place, it visited once and hasn’t returned. (The net will be removed for the walk.)
They don’t close the pond down for the winter; they keep the waterfall running to inhibit ice formation to help the fish survive. Even if the top of the pond and the outside of the waterfall is caked in ice, there is still water flowing beneath the ice crust. Moden will break up the ice to make sure it doesn’t freeze solid.
“In the winter, when everything is all white, it’s wonderful to see the waterfall,” Moden said.
The fish are fine because the pond is deep enough for them to overwinter. During the winter, the fish move in slow motion and go into a state of torpor, which is like hibernation.
There are many garden beds throughout the property, but there are wide swaths of lawn as well, which you can see in the photo at left. This view is from the back of the yard looking toward the house.
“We like the openness,” Moden said. “It’s a park-like setting.
“People are always amazed when they visit. They say, ‘I’d never expect that all this was back here.'”
There are many perennials, including hostas planted under pine trees.
Tip: For a dramatic look at night, add uplighting to your trees. In the photo above, you can see one of the lights that is aimed at the pine branches.
Here’s something I had never seen before: Flower stalks on the succulent called hens and chicks.
There were five stalks when I visited, with the tallest easily a foot high. While the plant has gotten flowers before, Moden said, these are bigger than in previous years, perhaps because we’ve gotten so much rain this year.
Check out one more view below, and see some gardens from the Amherst Garden Walk in previous years.
See gardens from Amherst Garden Walk in previous years
Upcoming Garden Walks
Amherst Garden Walk 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, July 12
Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday July 12
Buzz Around Hamburg, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 12 and 13
Lockport in Bloom Garden Tour 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 12 and 13, with an evening garden walk 6:30 – 9 p.m. Saturday, July 13
Snyder-CleveHill Garden View 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, July 13
Ken-Ton Garden Tour daytime walk from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday & Sunday, July 19 & 20 and night lights tour from 8:30-11 p.m. Friday & Saturday, July 18 & 19
Lancaster Garden Walk night lights from 8:45 to 11 p.m. Friday, July 18 and daytime walk 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 19 and 20
Williamsville Garden Walk 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, July 19
West Seneca Tour of Gardens 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 19 and 20
South Buffalo Alive 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, July 20
Garden Walk Buffalo 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27
Black Rock & Riverside Tour of Gardens on Saturday, August 2 from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. for the daytime walk and 8-10 p.m. for the Starry Night Garden Tour