Garden Bloggers Buffa10: First day impressions

Sweet-smelling, freckled lilies. Crimson bee balm as tall as myself. Soft-textured lawn grass spangled with white clover, so different from Austin’s coarse, shaggy St. Augustine and so much more inviting. Tall, brick Victorian homes standing shoulder-to-shoulder on streets shaded by goth-cloaked Norway maples. A city eager to shake its reputation for snowbound winters and rust-belt decline, optimistic about rebranding itself as a destination for garden tourism thanks to the success of its annual Garden Walk. Friendly homeowners inviting us into their matchbox-sized, bursting-at-the-seams gardens, so creative in their use of raised beds, containers, espaliered trees, and trellised vines to pack in the maximum number of plants, always saving room for at least one small patio to sit and enjoy the view.

These are my impressions after four days in Buffalo, New York, where this year’s national garden blogger meet-up, Buffa10, was hosted courtesy of Elizabeth Licata (Gardening While Intoxicated and Garden Rant) and Jim Charlier (Art of Gardening).

Without further ado, let me share with you a few pictures from my first afternoon and evening in Buffalo, which included a happy hour visit to Elizabeth’s garden; a stroll down her lovely street to see a neighbor’s garden; hug-happy reunions with bloggers befriended at previous meet-ups in Austin and Chicago and cheerful greetings with bloggers newly met; and dinner in the sunken patio garden of the stately Twentieth Century Club.

All photos above are from the charming (and much less crowded with bloggers) garden of Elizabeth’s neighbor, pictured here admiring the view with Frances of Fairegarden (on the left).

Another neighbor’s front garden enticed with these enormous blue hydrangeas.

Blue heaven!

At yet another house, this arched gate tantalized with the promise of a hidden garden. Can you imagine living on a street with so much garden goodness? Lucky, lucky Elizabeth.

Of course, garden blogger meet-ups are really all about fellow bloggers (the gardens are an enticing bonus). My travel partner Diana (Sharing Nature’s Garden), Kris (Blithewold and A Trench Manicure), and Jean (Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog) check out something just beyond my frame. I wonder what it was?

Despite the shade cast by tall houses and narrow lots, the gardens contained plenty of flowery color in every pocket of sun. This one even had planters improvised out of a stock tank and galvanized wash buckets. How Texas of them!

The delightful Meems (Hoe and Shovel) taking a picture in Elizabeth’s side garden.

Only a couple of blocks away from Elizabeth’s house, our dinner destination on Thursday night was the Twentieth Century Club. Many of us were a little wilted (yes, even we Texans; we stay indoors with the A/C on in summer, you know) thanks to sticky, 90-degree temperatures; ironically, Buffalo was hotter than Austin that day. But the club’s shady sunken garden—and about five chugged glasses of ice water—immediately cooled me down.

The surrounding garden? Lovely.

Kylee (Our Little Acre and The Soil Sisters), pictured at center, always has the biggest smile on her face. Her mother, Louise, who traveled with her, is pictured at left. Barbara of B Wise Gardening is on the right. Look at those cameras, poised to shoot. Garden bloggers are a camera-happy group.

Wishes do come true, and one of mine was that the first garden bloggers meet-up in Austin would grow into something bigger and better each year. Having gone to Chicago and now Buffalo, with Seattle likely poised to host next year, I am happy to say that wish has been fulfilled. Thank you, Buffalo!

More to come soon…

All material © 2006-2010 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

26 Responses

  1. Cyndy says:

    This event was just magical – beautiful gardens, lovely people, seamlessly organized. Love your photos, especially that intriguing archway. Great meeting you!

    It was so nice to meet you at last, Cyndy. Thanks for letting us drag you to dinner that night. It gave me a chance to get to know you better. —Pam

  2. Loree says:

    SEATTLE!!! Hey…this I can do! That would be very very cool.

    Thanks for the pictures and coverage of Day 1. The only thing that I worry about seeing these pictures? You all have such fancy cameras! Mine couldn’t compete. I guess I have about a year to shop and learn how to use a ‘real’ camera….

    You will have no excuse for not making it to a Seattle fling, Loree. I count on finally meeting you there! As for the cameras, you have nothing to compete with. There were some nice cameras there. But most of us had point-and-shoots (including me). Some used only camera phones; I used mine for sending instant tweets. And some people took no pictures at all. It’s all good. —Pam

  3. Frances says:

    It was splendid to get together again with friends from Austin and Chicago and meet new ones, dear Pam. You set the pace with the first fling and they do keep growing well, fertilized with the passion of garden bloggers. Thanks for the linkage and a photo of me that is half decent. Now that is the sign of a true photographic talent! I found Elizabeth’s neighbor to be very friendly and her garden was marvelous.:-)

    Oh, Frances, it isn’t hard to get a good picture of you! But you are welcome. I’m so glad we had time to visit again in Buffalo. —Pam

  4. Carol says:

    It was an enchanting street… it is amazing how “big” the gardens can be in such small spaces. They were charming. Good to see you again!!

    And you, Carol. I will now think of you with the line, “Let the agaves roam free.” (Wasn’t that it?) —Pam

  5. Thanks for the 1st update on your trip. A nice change for me to look at, esp the vivid greens of so much foliage, plus the blues of the hydrangeas.

    It was very different for me too. I couldn’t get over the fineness of the lawn grass, of all things. I absolutely coveted it, and I’m not even a lawn person. (And neither are most Buffalo gardeners, from what I saw.) —Pam

  6. commonweeder says:

    I am enjoying having all these ‘travel albums’ to help me remember this fantastic meet-up. The tiny gardens stuffed with beautiful flowers were just a metaphor for the weekend stuffed with beautiful new friendships.

    That’s a perfect analogy, Commonweeder. It was so nice to meet you in person last weekend! —Pam

  7. Gail says:

    Pam, Something wonderful began in Austin not so very long ago!~I am so glad I had the gumption to attend and join this remarkable community of passionate gardeners and caring people. Buffalo was everything I hoped and then some~gail

    I am so glad you had the gumption to attend also, Gail. It was the start of a treasured new friendship for me. Hope to see you in Austin one of these days. —Pam

  8. Looks like you all had a wonderful time. The gardens look beautiful.
    I bet everyone came home with tons of ideas.

    Thanks for sharing.

    My pleasure, Linda. It was all so much fun. I hope you can attend one day. —Pam

  9. Jenny says:

    I have been waiting eagerly for you to share your visit with us and I was not disappointed. All that lush color. What a delightful setting for your first dinner. Can’t wait for the rest. One day we will drag our trailer up there and it had better coincide with the garden walk!

    I hope you’ll drag your trailer to Seattle next year for the next meet-up! You would have so much fun. Diana and I mentioned several times how we wished you were there (as I was bragging on your garden to people). —Pam

  10. And this is exactly why I didn’t take any photos the first day, because I knew someone would take excellent photos and write it up perfectly! Plus I was too busy sweating…5 glasses of ice water did not do it for me.

    Boy, was it hot that first day! I was pretty busy sweating too. It was so nice to meet you and your husband, Heather. And thanks again for that rescue from the long walk home! —Pam

  11. SEATTLE….OMG…better start saving my pennies NOW. Because I won’t have any book royalties yet by the time next year rolls around. Sniff.

    Seriously, Pam, so glad this has become a regular event, and that you all had such fun. I’m not very green with envy, reading the various reports. Not hardly. Sigh.

    By all means, start saving your pennies, Jodi. I just knew I was going to meet you this year, since Buffalo is relatively close to you, or at least within spitting distance. Alas, no Jodi. Next year, OK? —Pam

  12. Thanks for creating this beautiful armchair tour for us stay-behinds, Pam! Can’t wait for the next installation…

    It was my pleasure, Jocelyn. I’m going to work on my next post tonight. —Pam

  13. Wonderful looks into the gardens! Thanks for sharing the experience with us “bloggers back home” and letting us see the faces of our favorite bloggers, too.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it. I hope you can come next year, Cameron. —Pam

  14. Fougères says:

    Pam, as always, beautiful pictures. The Monarda is stunning with the blue door as a background. Thanks for allowing me to tag along, if only via “Digging.” I can’t wait for the next report. I especially liked the statue of a lady with a vine creeping upwards and forming a green necklace.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the virtual visit, Fougères. Please feel free to tag along anytime. —Pam

  15. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    It is so much fun seeing the participants in such gorgeous settings. I can’t wait to see more.

    I’ll have more tomorrow, Lisa. —Pam

  16. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Pam, that was a lovely summation of the experience. Despite the heat’s having followed us from Texas, it was a fabulous weekend and I am already missing friends both old and new!

    Me too, Cindy. It was a delightful four days—heat, rain, and all. —Pam

  17. Oh, so much fun reliving it all with your gorgeous pictures while sitting on my couch in Toronto. So glad there are so many good photographers in the garden blogging bunch.

    Sarah, it was a delight to meet you. I’m so glad a few Canadians joined us this year to make it an international bloggers get-together. —Pam

  18. Town Mouse says:

    Seattle, eh? Couldn’t it be Portland? Mmmm. But it does look like fun…Thanks so much for the post (and by the way, I have two posts about two national parks, Great Basin and Arches waiting in the wings). Was thinking of you as I visited…

    A West Coast location should please you California garden bloggers, so I look forward to meeting you next year. No excuses not to come, TM! I’ll look for your national park posts when I come up for air after all this Buffa10 post reading. Or better yet, maybe you’ll leave your links on my national park wrap-up post? That way I’ll be sure to find them, as will others reading about national park trips. —Pam

  19. Jean says:

    Pam, your photos look great (I don’t know what you were talking about in your tweet!). I agree with Cindy, that’s a great summation. It most be thrilling to realize what you’ve created!

    Thanks, Jean. I culled a lot of blurry photos to get these few. And yes, seeing Spring Fling grow and blossom is indeed thrilling. —Pam

  20. Lynn says:

    Such lush beautiful gardens. The hydrangeas are stunning. Thank you for sharing the lovely photos.

    My pleasure, Lynn! —Pam

  21. Darla says:

    I am still enjoying touring these gardens and seeing the bloggers through so many cool blogs! Great photos.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the virtual Buffa10, Darla. Hope to meet you in person at the next one! —Pam

  22. It looks like so much fun, Pam – but reading about your encounter with fine-textured Northern lawn grass cracks me up. I did it in reverse, leaving fescues and Bluegrass for the broadleaved St Augustine which didn’t even look like grass to me.
    The upside is – St Augustine does not set off my grass allergies.

    The sunken garden dining area is just lovely and you caught some cool photos of the bloggers.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  23. kerri says:

    Pam, your photos and narrative give us a small but delightful taste of the festivities and it looks like such fun! There are some very creative gardeners in Buffalo! You shot some beautiful scenes, and what a treat to see the faces of our blog friends enjoying each other’s company.
    How ironic for you to be in upstate NY on one of the hottest days I can remember. I’ve been thinking of my Austin garden friends during this hot, dry spell and have new appreciation for the weather conditions that you and your gardens have to contend with. I’m glad Friday and Saturday cooled off a little for you. That air felt so good to us after Thursday’s horrible heat and humidity. It was 98º in the shade on our back porch!
    Looking forward to seeing more of the fun, especially those people pics! Thanks for sharing.

  24. Barbara H. says:

    Seattle! Hmmm, I might have to try blogging. I’m a former Portlander and what a great reason this would be to go back to the Northwest for a visit. Thanks for the lovely tours of Buffalo. Who knew?

  25. What a lovely collection of photos, and what wonderful memories we will all have from Buffa10.

  26. chuck b. says:

    That 20th C Club looks great! I love that kind of outdoor ambiance.