by Connie Oswald Stofko
“It’s not meant to look perfect or manicured,” Dr. Kenton Bruce Anderson said of his front yard at 44 Montrose Ave., Buffalo. “It’s meant to be carefree, but look as if somebody takes care of it.”
You can see this fun garden on the Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, July 16.
The walk will also feature a night tour called Capen by Night from 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. Saturday. You can see Anderson’s gardens then as well.
Maps can be picked up at the UB Anderson Gallery, 1 Martha Jackson Pl., Buffalo during the day. After 6 p.m. you can pick them up at St. Andrew’s UHAA Sculpture Garden, 3107 Main St., Buffalo.
The tour is free and self-guided.
The garden walk will feature more than 70 private and public gardens in the University Heights and Eggertsville neighborhoods surrounding the University at Buffalo South Campus.
Anderson’s front yard is small, but there is a lot to see. The gardens change color throughout the growing season. In early spring, with the forsythia and daffodils in bloom, yellow was the predominant color.
Then the pallette shifted to powder blue, he said, as the forget-me-nots formed a blue cloud over the landscape.
Yellow came back as the predominant color when the lupine took over.
Now the yard is multi-colored, with bold blue delphinium, salmon-colored roses and annuals of many different shades.
Anderson likes to use ground covers such as creeping jenny and creeping phlox. He transplants those into areas where they are needed, and if the plants get out of control, he just weeds out the extra plants.
Food plants are interspersed with the flowers. They include oregano and dill– Swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on the dill.
To grow cherry tomatoes, he just tosses some old tomatoes on the ground. In the spring, the plants sprout and he weeds out the excess plants. This might not work with other tomato varieties that take longer to bear fruit, Anderson said, but it works for the cherry tomatoes.
He recommends avoiding landscape fabric. Where he used landscape fabric, the fruit had a dull taste, but where he didn’t use landscape fabric, the fruit was flavorful.
Two trees in his hellstrip that you don’t commonly see are American chestnut trees. These natives were nearly wiped out by a blight in the early 1900s. Anderson had these new disease-resistant specimens shipped in from Florida.
Here are other garden walks taking place this weekend:
- The City of Tonawanda Garden Walk will hold a Friday Night Lights from 8:30 p.m. – 11 p.m. Friday, July 15 and a daytime walk from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, July 16. The tour is free and self-guided. Maps will be available in the mayor’s office, 200 Niagara St.; the Recreation Department, 291 Kohler St.; the senior center, 35 Main St., and the public library, 333 Main St., City of Tonawanda.
- The Lancaster Garden Walk will be hold a nighttime viewing from 8:45 p.m. – 10:45 p.m. Friday, July 15 and the daytime tour from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17. The tour is free and self-guided. Maps for the event can be picked up at Two Chicks and a Rooster, 732 Aurora St.; Petals to Please, 5870 Broadway, and Simply Italiano, 85 Central Ave., Lancaster. On Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting, some gardens will host local artists displaying and selling art as well as working on new pieces.
- The Village of Williamsville Garden Walk will be held from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, July 16. The tour is free and self-guided. Maps for the event can be picked up the day of the walk at the Williamsville Village Hall, 5565 Main St., Williamsville. The garden walk’s Second Annual Mini Fairy Garden Contest will be open to the public. The walk will also feature a basket raffle and tickets will be available for purchase at the welcome tent.
- The South Buffalo Alive garden walk will be held from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday, July 17. Maps for the tour can be picked up at the Tim Russert’s Children’s Garden, 2002 South Park Ave., Buffalo. The tour is self-guided. Organizers request a $2 donation. There will also be a farmers market at Cazenovia Park in front of the casino from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- The Orleans County Master Gardeners will hold their Garden Path Tour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 16. It will feature six private gardens in the Medina and Albion area. Tickets are $10. To get tickets, call (585) 798-4265, email firstname.lastname@example.org, stop into the Extension office at 12690 State Route 31, Albion, or buy them from a Master Gardener. After you make your payment, you will be given the ticket package, which includes the ticket; a booklet with a few coupons, advertisements and details about the gardens, and a map to the gardens. Proceeds go back to the Master Gardener program, which funds educational workshops, trainings and other various programs.