Brightly painted house in Buffalo’s Cottage District

As part of the Garden Writers Association conference in Buffalo, I just visited part of the city called the Cottage District. Talking to some of the home owners, I learned that fifteen years ago this area was somewhat derelict. What rescued it? The power of gardening.

One of the homeowners, an avid gardener, not only planted his own front yard. He decided to plant six other front yards at his own expense. This inspired more people to start gardening, often by replacing tiny lawns with perennials and shrubs and to start renovating their front porches. This was also the beginning of a community. Homes that were purchased for ridiculously low prices have since been resold for more than could have been imagined.

The houses themselves are brightly and beautifully painted and the gardens are, of course, full of color and art.

One of my favorites had a white picket fence around the tiny front yard that is very simple, mostly green and with pots of hanging ferns on the porch . As you walk the driveway to the back, you encounter a gate that is painted white with purple flowers. Once inside the gate, you find a garden full of bright colors (chartreuse, red, orange, and yellow) and several seating areas. There is a rusty red fence, the color of which was repeated by the Monarda in front it. That color was repeated on the inside of the entry gate.

Aristolochia durior in bloom

I’ve seen Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia durior) many times but never in bloom. Here on the front porch was one in bloom. What a treat!

Buffalo is noted for its annual Garden Walk and the fact that every garden on it was designed by the homeowner. All of the gardens we saw were on the Walk last weekend but were kept open for us to see this weekend. Kudos to Buffalo!