by Connie Oswald Stofko
Jim Charlier wanted to build a gardening shed. But where could he put a shed in his small Buffalo yard?
His wife Leslie suggested taking down the jungle gym that their daughter Margaux didn’t use and put a shed there.
“It was Leslie’s idea,” Charlier said, “then I took it to the nth degree.”
This elaborate, quirky and practical shed is just one of the cool things you can see this weekend on Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest garden tour in the United States.
Garden Walk Buffalo will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 24 and 25. It’s free. (We may get rain again this weekend, so take an umbrella and wear shoes or boots that will keep your feet dry.)
The new headquarters for the walk is Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo. You can get your map, purchase merchandise, and ask questions from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. both days. The 2021 merchandise collection features the work of artist Margaret Raab.
You can also pick up maps (but no merchandise) at these locations:
- First Presbyterian Church, 1 Symphony Circle (Restrooms!)
- West Side Community Services, 161 Vermont Street
- The Martin House, 125 Jewett Parkway (Restrooms!)
Here are even more ways to get maps:
- New! Get the Garden Walk Buffalo app wherever you buy your apps.
- Download an abridged PDF here.
- Pick up a map at select sponsor locations.
How famous is this shed?
Even if you have never visited the Charliers’ home on Garden Walk Buffalo or Open Gardens, you may recognize the shed because photos have appeared in publications in Western New York and St. Catharines. It’s been on TV, in This Old House magazine (twice!) and Fine Gardening Magazine online. It was featured in a tourism campaign by Visit Buffalo Niagara. The shed’s photo has been in three books: Secret Buffalo: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure by Elizabeth Licata, Buffalo From A To Z: Come Take a Tour With Me by Brigette Atlas-Callahan and Kristin Made-Warham, and Buffalo-Style Gardens that Charlier wrote with Sally Cunningham. The shed has appeared in many blogs and is all over Pinterest.
This wasn’t just luck.
Charlier is an avid gardener and garden blogger (Art of Gardening). He was president of Garden Walk Buffalo for seven years and is one of the founders of Gardens Buffalo Niagara, the group that pulled together all the local garden walks and added events such as Open Gardens and the Buffalo Style Garden Art Sale. He’s fervent about bringing tourists to Western New York.
And he runs his own company, JCharlier Communication Design.
“I’m in marketing,” Charlier said. “It’s what I do!”
So with a quirky, one-of-a-kind gardening shed that epitomizes Buffalo-style gardening right in his own backyard, he used it to let the world know about all the amazing gardening treasures we have in Western New York.