swing set in large Buffalo yard

Surprisingly large backyard is hidden in Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko There’s plenty of room for the Thomson children to play in this huge backyard in the City of Buffalo. From left are Hunter, 11; Mackenzie, 5, and Evelyn, 8. The Thomsons shared their yard during Garden Walk Buffalo on July 24 and 25, and visitors were amazed that such a large expanse was located at 55 Hodge, not far from Children’s Hospital. The L-shaped yard extends approximately 180 feet away from the back deck, then actually…

tall grass in median garden in Buffalo NY

Medians get makeover on Minnesota Ave. in Buffalo’s University Heights

The median gardens that were started 10 years ago on Minnesota Ave. in Buffalo had begun to fade. Residents who had been active in maintaining the gardens “moved, passed away or got tied up with their busy lives,” said Yvonne Brown, a member of the Minnesota Avenue Block Club. The median gardens got new life this year with funding from a City of Buffalo Livable Communities Block Grant, private donations and donations from the residents themselves. “Now we’re working on…

water feature in Tonawanda NY

Water features highlight garden on Ken-Ton Garden Tour

A waterfall, pond and giant water wheel beguiled visitors to the backyard of John and Joanne Perrello at 2674 Colvin Blvd., Town of Tonawanda, during the Ken-Ton Garden Tour on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 7 and 8. While they grew vegetables for about 30 years, the Perrellos started the water features just three years ago, beginning with the waterfall, which you can see in the background of the first photo. They put in the pond, which you can see in…

Carlos and Susan Gartin of Buffalo

Gracious patio garden graces once-abandoned lot in Buffalo

What was once an abandoned lot is now a lovely backyard patio for Susan and Carlos Gartin. They shared their creation during the Black Rock and Riverside Tour of Gardens on Saturday, Aug. 7. The lot is on East St., just behind their home at 169 Dearborn St.  It had been a dumping ground for asphalt, concrete and bricks, and the weeds grew seven feet high, Carlos said. The Gartins bought it in August 2009. Now flower beds are tucked…

sculpture garden Elmwood Ave. Buffalo

Buffalo sculptor shares tips on cheap gardening

Gardening doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby. “I didn’t spend one cent on this garden,” said Dave Derner, who created a backyard retreat at 1088 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, where he lives above Half & Half Trading Co. He got plants that nurseries or co-ops were going to throw out. Friends gave him plants as well. Many of the plants flourished. “I just put things in and let them grow,” Derner said. “It’s amazing how things just want to grow.”…

visitors to East Aurora Garden Club flower show

Get great ideas for container plantings

by Connie Oswald Stofko Container plantings are so versatile. If your outdoor space is limited to an apartment balcony, a container can serve as your entire garden. Containers can also decorate porches and patios, or fill in bare spots in a larger garden.  They can be created in any style. Visitors got lots of great ideas for container plantings at the Poetry & Posies standard flower show of the East Aurora Garden Club on Saturday and Sunday, July 31 and…

view of right side 36 N Parade Buffalo

Winners announced in Front Yard Competition

by Connie Oswald Stofko The voting is done, and the front yard of the large Victorian at 28/36 North Parade in Buffalo won the first place People’s Choice Award for large gardens in the Front Yard Competition of the National Garden Festival in Buffalo. It was designed by The English Gardener, Ltd. Professional landscapers donated their time and materials to transform 19 front yards as part of the Front Yard Competition, the first event of its kind in the country….

front garden on West Ferry in Buffalo

Lush gardens featured on West Ferry during Garden Walk Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko Lynn and Alan Stout have lived at 801 West Ferry, Buffalo, for 20 years, and they have built their lavish gardens bit by bit. They shared their work with the public during Garden Walk Buffalo on Saturday and Sunday, July 24 and 25. About 350 gardens were displayed on Garden Walk Buffalo, making it one of the largest garden tours in the nation. Visitors to the Stouts’ home were treated to large, full gardens in both…

South Buffalo side garden

Border garden provides privacy in South Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko A new border garden gives a South Buffalo backyard more privacy. The gardens at 222 Cumberland Ave. were on display Sunday, July 18 during the 10th annual South Buffalo Alive garden walk. Dave Testa, who lives in the corner property with Jack Tontillo, envisioned the kind of mixed border you might see at a big English house. “I hate the formality of straight lines,” he said, explaining the curved design he used. When choosing plants, “I…

Lancaster front

Lush perennial borders accent Lancaster home

by Connie Oswald Stofko When the Hagemans started gardening nine years ago, they had nothing but bushes. Now perennial beds fill both their front yard and backyard. “Every year my husband says he’s not going to make me another border, and every year he makes me another border,” Debbie Hageman said. She and her husband Cliff shared their garden at 73 Grant St. with visitors  during the 7th Annual Lancaster Garden Walk on Saturday and Sunday, July 17 and 18….