Newcomers to Buffalo like how garden evolves with help from neighbors

stone patio in Buffalo NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
grape arbor over garage door in Buffalo NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

“Going into my garden is like going into another world,”  said Lyne Richmond.  “It’s very peaceful.

“So much of what’s in my garden is from my neighbors, and that gives it more meaning.”

Lyne and her husband Ken live at 81 Larchmont Rd., Buffalo. You can see their garden during the Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk in the University area of Buffalo and Amherst from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 12.

Maps will be available on the day of the walk at the UB Anderson Gallery, 1 Martha Jackson Place (off Englewood south of Kenmore Ave.), Buffalo.

The Richmonds’ gardens have evolved with help from their friends.

The couple had grass in their backyard and didn’t plan to create a patio, but when a neighbor was replacing her patio, she told Lyne she could take whatever stone she wanted.

Initially Lyne took some pieces with the intention of using them in the public median in front of her house. She plants flowers there for the neighborhood to enjoy, and the stone would fill in some bare spots.

After placing some in the median, she took three or four pieces of stone into her backyard and realized they would make a cool patio. She didn’t have enough stone to do the entire project, so she bought more.

Then a neighbor offered Lyne some leftover dirt. Lyne had purchased more stone than she needed for her patio project, so she had leftovers there, too. She had to do something with all that great leftover material, so she created a garden bed by the driveway outside the garage door, which you can see above left.

Lyne had always wanted an arbor, so she built one above the garage door. She planted grapes, not realizing they would attract bees– and a skunk.

“Luckily the dogs listened well that day and came back when they were called,”  she said.

checkerboard effect with stones and succulents in Buffalo NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

As Lyne walks around the yard, she points out features that were made possible when other gardeners shared what they had. A neighbor offered Lyne the wisteria that she was going to get rid of. It had been growing on their property for years but never bloomed.

Lyne gratefully accepted and got the lattice support, too, which they attached to the garage– you can see it behind the patio table in the first photo. It took four years for the wisteria to bloom, but this year it got a great many flowers.

Another day she was admiring the tiger lilies in a neighbor’s yard, and the neighbor gave her some.

“It’s all sharing,” Lyne said. “I love that.”

Lyne helps her neighbors, too. In addition to maintaining the flowers in the median, Lyne also volunteers with Re-Tree Western New York. Many of the street trees in her neighborhood were lost after the October Storm in 2006.

In another area of her yard, Lyne wanted to rip out a concrete slab near the house and replace it with Medina stone, but her husband thought it would be too much work tearing out the concrete. Instead, they placed the stone over the concrete in a checkerboard pattern and filled in the remaining squares with walkable succulents. Those plants need just a tiny amount of soil, and they can even grow in gravel, she noted.

“It’s good stuff,” Lyne said.

lava rocks on patio in Buffalo NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
sculptural tree in Buffalo NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

Lyne has a degree in graphic design and now does ceramics that are on the sculptural side, and her artist’s eye is apparent in the yard. When she was laying out the stone for the patio, she moved each stone many times as she puzzled through the design until she got it just right.

An arrangement of lava rocks is part of the patio, accented naturally by moss.

She likes “sculptural” trees with unusual shapes and growing habits that she calls “Dr. Seuss bushes.” You can see one in the photo below.

“I realized that all those bushes he drew, he didn’t make up,” Lyne said. “They really existed. They make me smile.”

The banner is from Lincoln Park Zoo in Riverside, IL, where the family used to live.

Lyne is originally from Maryland where the gardening style is a little bit different than it is here. There they always have foundation shrubs nearest the house, and flowers in front of the shrubs.

In Buffalo, there is a greater emphasis on flowers, sometimes to the exclusion of evergreen shrubs, but then many gardens have nothing to look at in the winter.

Lyne has brought some of her hometown gardening style with her to Buffalo. In the front yard, you can see the many different colored shrubs that will still look great in winter.

The Richmonds have lived in Western New York only since 2006.

“We’re new to Buffalo, and I love Buffalo people,” Lyne said. “They don’t put on airs. If they ask you how you feel, it’s because they want to know.”

Lyne treasures the relationships she has made here with neighbors and gardeners, as well as what they have shared with her.

“Not having any family here, it’s one more thing that makes my garden more comfortable,” she said.

foundation plantings with evergreens in Buffalo NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

See gardens from previous years on Samuel Capen Garden Walk

2013: Gardener goes old school with organic gardening

2012: Broken pipe prompts Buffalo gardeners to create grassless yard

2011: Vintage patio furniture is a highlight of Eggertsville garden

2010: Medians get makeover on Minnesota Ave. in Buffalo’s University Heights

2010: Grassless yards make Eggertsville property a mow-free zone

2010: Eggertsville gardener still dealing with aftereffects of October Storm

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

2 Comments on “Newcomers to Buffalo like how garden evolves with help from neighbors

  1. What an interesting garden and gardener. Lynn’s garden is a treasure in our neighborhood. We hope to see everyone on Saturday at Capen Garden Walk.

  2. This is one of my favorite garden walks in the area. It has some wonderful gardens and residential architecture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *