by Connie Oswald Stofko
What I want you to notice about these photos are actually the things you can’t see.
In the first photo, you don’t see an air conditioner. Instead you see a garden.
This was in the yard of Pat Noonan of Hamburg, who shared her landscape on the Hamburg Garden Walk in 2017. I stood right in front of this garden and didn’t know there was an air conditioner there until it was pointed out to me.
A small white fence surrounding the air conditioner is the first level of disguise. Then, planted in the garden bed, are ivy along the ground and a large fern in front of the fence.
Finally, a large pot full of annuals draws your attention away from what the gardener doesn’t want you to see.
The tallest plant in the pot is a grass called King Tut. There is an elephant ear plant with dark leaves and a caladium with multi-colored leaves. A yellowish-green sweet potato vine cascades over the edge of the pot. Noonan changes up the annuals every year.
The second photo was taken in the driveway at the home of Carol Case Siracuse and Tom Palamusa in the Elmwood Village in Buffalo. I saw their garden when GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators held tours as part of its conference this summer here in Buffalo. You might have seen this garden on Garden Walk Buffalo.
What you don’t see in this photo are the neighbor’s utility boxes. Instead you see a beautiful Asian-inspired bamboo fountain and screen. The screen can be opened when you need to get at the utility boxes. Instead of walking past something ugly every day, these folks found a clever way to incorporate it into their landscape.
Also notice that while there is only a very narrow space between their driveway and the neighbor’s house, the space is planted, not dismissed.
I took the final photo from an angle so that you could see some of what the plantings were obscuring. The electrical boxes are less noticeable from the street.
This photo was taken at the home of Paul and Debbie Acquisto in Grand Island. You can see more photos of their landscape that I took during the Grand Island Garden Walk in 2013.
If you have something unsightly in your yard, don’t just hope that no one will notice it. Blend it into your landscape.