by Connie Oswald Stofko
Cindy and Peter Loomis moved into their Cottage District home 19 years ago without seeing the front of the house. The tiny front yard was filled with a large hedge and two tall pine trees, which hid the house from the street.
It wasn’t a neighborhood where people wanted to sit out front. The area was beginning to turn around, but there were still drug deals and prostitution, Cindy said.
But Cindy likes light, so she and Peter began to clear the yard. She cut down the hedge while Peter took down as many of the pine branches as he could. (They later called a tree company to complete the job.)
It was the first time they had seen the front of the house.
And the neighbors came out and actually applauded.
“It turned the neighborhood around,” Cindy said. “Neighbors started talking to each other, trading plants. I literally knew nothing about gardening. The neighbors trained me.”
Other neighbors started to make improvements to their front yards. Then they worked to get rid of absentee landlords.
“It shows the impact gardening had on community revitalization,” Peter said.
Cindy Loomis has been active with Garden Walk Buffalo and served as president for three years.
You can see the Loomises’ gardens and hear more about their gardening adventures during Open Gardens.
How to visit Open Gardens
You can see lots of great gardens and hear riveting stories when you visit Open Gardens. These are selected gardens that you can visit on Thursdays and Fridays at certain times and dates. The gardens are clustered in 12 geographic areas that you can visit over the course of five weeks.
Open Gardens start July 2, so hurry to get your Open Gardens guide. There are three ways to get the guide: