Vertical garden made from old gutters draws attention on last garden walk of year

red tire container garden in Buffalo NY
A brightly painted tire forms a container garden that adds color to the front yard. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
rain gutter vertical garden in Buffalo NY
A vertical garden is made out of rain gutters. It was planted with  succulents and annuals, including some impatiens that were doing well. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

“We just really like recycling,” said Carrie Madigan, who gardens with her mother Patty Connors at 180 Crowley Ave., Buffalo. “I don’t want to buy something super expensive if I can make it.”

Visitors saw many examples of her creative gardening on a budget during the 11th annual Black Rock & Riverside Tour of Gardens held Aug. 1. The Starry Night Garden Tour was held during the evening. It was the last garden walk of the season for Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara, formerly the National Garden Festival.

“I like planting a whole bunch of flowers to make the house look pretty,” Madigan.

The containers that the flowers are in add even more interest. While some are in conventional pots, others are in recycled creations, such as an old tire painted bright red in  the front yard.

Look past it to the garden along the porch and you’ll notice the railing from an old crib that is used as a small fence. You’ll also see roses and sunflowers, which her mother loves.

crib railing as fence in gardn
A railing from an old crib becomes a fence in the front yard. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

As you walk to the backyard, the vertical garden made of rain gutters catches your eye. Madigan got the idea online from Alaskan gardeners who wanted to protect their plants from pests on the ground.

There was nothing in the yard when they moved in five years ago, Madigan said. When they started to dig, they uncovered 30 cinder blocks and lots of bricks. They’re not sure if the previous residents had a deck, or if perhaps the bricks were there because the backyard sometimes floods.

raised bed made with old crib
This raised bed is made from an old crib. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

They added lots of dirt and created some raised beds in back.

Connors made one out of the old crib of Madigan’s daughter. Nearby are simple five-gallon buckets, a great size for a tomato plant. Against the fence is an old wagon that holds yet more vegetables.

Another vegetable garden was in an inflatable pool– was, past tense. The night before the garden walk, Madigan heard cats in the yard. She woke up to find the cats had punctured the pool and it had deflated. She may cut the pool away and build some kind of walls for the bed.

Notice the trellis in the pool garden. Madigan’s father garbage picked a fabric gazebo from the curb, and the supports have been repurposed as a trellis. Four other supports, standing upright in a square rather than an A-shape, are used for her beans. A friend told her that upright supports are better for beans.

pool as container garden
An inflatable pool can be used as a container for a vegetable garden, but make sure there’s nothing around that might puncture it. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

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