Lovely Lancaster Ave gardens at Buffa10

Playful wall decor in a Lancaster Avenue garden

Wrapping up my series about Garden Bloggers Buffa10, I’ve saved some of the best gardens for last, as did our hosts in arranging access to the remarkable Lancaster Avenue gardens for the final day of the event.

We had the pleasure of not only strolling this lovely street and getting a sneak peek at several Garden Walk gardens but also meeting the homeowners who created them. They were present during our self-guided visits, and many of them joined us for lunch afterward in the garden of their neighbor and our host Jim Charlier.

This image and the following six are from a delightful corner garden on Lancaster. (I’m kicking myself for not having written down any of the gardeners’ names. My apologies to these generous folks.)

The pinwheel phlox, daisies, lilies, and beebalm occupy a large flowerbed that extends into this garden’s front lawn.

In a broad side yard to the left of the house, a hosta-edged arbor beckons you into a surprisingly formal garden enclosed by a lattice-topped wood fence.

From inside the formal side garden, we are looking back through the arbor at the flower garden.

The ordered and mostly evergreen formal garden was a surprise after the more cottagey feel of the front garden. I thought it beautifully designed and very restful.

This robin was gorging on viburnum berries in one corner of the garden.

Back out front, alongside the front walk, another touch of formality appears with these enormous white hydrangeas wrangled into place by a boxwood parterre.

Across the street, a neighboring couple have created this beautiful scene on their double-lot property. Where a house used to stand, a large, sunny, side-yard garden now offers strolling paths and a shady arbor to sit.

Toward the back, a gardening bench makes a pleasant focal point.

It was fun to see my much-touted ‘Senorita Rosalita’ cleome growing bushy and tall in pots next to a well-appointed doghouse.

In another garden down the street, shade and a contemplative Asian aesthetic create a completely different mood.

Gorgeous plant combination

A waterfall cascades into a small pool that feeds into another.

At the back of the garden, two seating areas are set behind a low wall of what looks to be paver blocks, with sturdy pillars marking the entry to this garden room. I admired the execution of the hardscaping, which is composed of materials readily available to do-it-yourselfers: gravel, concrete pavers, and paver blocks.

The homeowners told me they’d done it themselves, and they’d taken pains to be sure the lines and leveling were precise. No doubt they prepped just as carefully with compacted paver base in a precisely excavated space. And that’s why it looks so good.

Just a few more doors down the street we found another treasure: this back garden built around a focal-point water feature (not pictured–sorry) composed of three large, stacked rectangular boulders sitting in a small pond. The surrounding garden was playful and intriguing, with a somewhat dressy cut-stone path/patio curving into the space.

I don’t know if I could even pick a favorite among the Lancaster Avenue gardens. Lucky, lucky Jim doesn’t have to. Aside from his own lovely garden, he can visit his neighbors’ edens by simply strolling down the street. Creativity, horticultural know-how, and warm hospitality—that’s what Buffalo has going for it, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to bask in its glow for a little while.

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

20 Responses

  1. You got some great photos of those gardens! You must have had great timing, they were full of garden-bloggers when I visited them. Weren’t the faux window and tree awesome? I wish I had the courage to try something like that on our shed.

    Oh, I bet you do have the courage, Heather. Go for it! —Pam

  2. Lots of love in these gardens. The wall art is a hoot–would look at home in Austin.

    A hoot–does it have an owl box? If not it needs one, doesn’t it? —Pam

  3. The bird house collection is a new idea for me! Wow.
    It’s all beautiful. Thanks for sharing these gardens with us.
    David :-)

    My pleasure, David. —Pam

  4. This is my favorite garden you have shown from Buffalo, by a slight edge. It has a great integration of hardscape-plants, bed shapes / paths, and great plant massing.

    Which of these is your fave, David? There are five gardens featured in this post. —Pam

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I really like that painted tree. That is one way to get a big tree in a small garden. Those edges in that formal garden are perfect. WOW. It always looks so good to have those neat edges. The patio is great too. Just everything you featured was wonderful.

    Lots of great ideas in these gardens. You are right that a neat edge makes a garden look great. —Pam

  6. What great pictures you got of the Lancaster Avenue gardens. You have a good eye for garden beauty, and good planting design.

    Thanks, Yvonne. Right back at ‘cha. I’m going to be a regular reader of your blog now that I’ve seen your gorgeous gardens and images. —Pam

  7. Les says:

    What a great collection of gardens. It makes we wish I could have gone, and that I lived in a neighborhood of people that gardened on such a level.

    I hope you can go next year, Les. Rumor is Seattle will host. —Pam

  8. Darla says:

    I was wondering if the neighbors have a sense of competition with one another if they work together? I love the first garden shown here where the less formal garden meanders to the formal setting.

    Good question, Darla. See Jim’s reply below. —Pam

  9. Melinda Perkins says:

    I just found your wonderful website and am enjoying it immensely!! Thank you so much for sharing with the rest of us gardeners. We’ve built a new home out in the country and I’m working hard to get that established look like we had in our former home. Your website gives me lots of inspiration and fun.
    From your new fan in North Central Texas.

    Hi, Melinda. Thanks for reading! I love comments like yours. Happy digging! —Pam

  10. Rebecca says:

    You make me want to go home and finish my yard… these pictures are just gorgeous. I just got started removing old weedy shrubs and plan on a privacy fence in August.. now I know what I want it to look like on the inside when I am done.

    I’m glad to share the inspiration I got while in Buffalo. I’m ready to make some changes too—when it cools down about 20 degrees. —Pam

  11. Kathleen says:

    Oh my goodness. I had no idea all this beauty existed in Buffalo. I would love to live on a street where all the neighbors gardened. These are fantastic. I couldn’t pick a favorite either. Very inspiring. Makes me want to go out and work in my own garden. Okay, maybe not until it cools off a little…. :-)

    Me either—not until fall! Buffaloans can rest from gardening in winter. Here in central Texas, summer is a good time to take off. —Pam

  12. I like that orderly back garden. It has lots of places to rest the eye.
    I guess that kind of garden would be more work….keeping everything so tidy.

    The pinwheel phlox is a stunner, too. Wonder where to find those.

    I used to think formal gardens were more work. But now I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. Flower gardens, for example, can take a lot more time with weeding, deadheading, trimming, dividing, cutting back, etc. Food for thought. —Pam

  13. @ Darla,
    Competition? No, not at all. Each gardener does their own thing for their own enjoyment, and their own level of gardening skill and enjoy their own unique garden design. These gardens have not changed much over the last ten years, so there’s no one-upmanship or keeping up with the Jones’. Alec, the gardener of the less-formal garden that leads into the more formal green space doesn’t even live there. That’s his parent’s house. There’s also a “thing” in most garden walk neighborhoods that the more gardens on the map “dots on the map” the more visitors, so neighbors encourage each other to get gardening and get on the Walk so their efforts can be appreciated by more people.

    Thanks for answering Darla’s question, Jim. —Pam

  14. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Many of the same things caught my eye on Lancaster Avenue … imagine the pleasure of gardening on a street where just about every resident also does so! Wouldn’t it be wonderful?

    Yes, absolutely! —Pam

  15. Mostly I can’t believe how lush and healthy all these plants are and how perfect the gardens look. And those crisp edges!

    Remember, they were all prepped for our visit plus the Garden Walk tour that occurs this weekend. Maybe they keep their gardens looking that good all season, but I suspect they really are human, like the rest of us. ;-) —Pam

  16. Layanee says:

    Your photos never disappoint Pam. I have one of those phlox. It is curious and called ‘Peppermint Twist’. Doesn’t smell like peppermint though. LOL

    Like a Xmas candy–how fun! —Pam

  17. Another great post Pam. It was great to see you again!

    I just wanted you to know I added your blog to the soon to be launched North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association blog roll for NC Blogs!

    I also wanted to make sure you received my new link for Gardening With Confidence’s blog:

    Thanks! I hope you are doing well!


    Hi, Helen. Thanks for adding Digging to your blogroll. I already had your new link on mine. —Pam

  18. Chookie says:

    Oh… swoon… Must do more open gardens this year!

  19. Jean says:

    Pam, weren’t you complaining that your Lancaster Ave photos were to blasted by the sun to post? Posh!! :-)

    There were quite a few shots I really wanted that didn’t turn out, particularly of Mary’s garden and Jim’s garden. But the ones on the shady side of the street turned out better. :-) —Pam

  20. […] more playful, not to mention economical, the owner of this Lancaster Avenue garden in Buffalo creatively turned a neighbor’s wall into a fun focal point for her own […]