Cool corporate landscaping



Those are three words I rarely use together. But I’m very impressed with what my friend Dave Majewski has done with the front garden of The Mansion on Delaware, Buffalo’s premier boutique hotel. (I’ve deliberately linked to a local architecture site, as I can’t stand the hotel’s flashcentric official one.) Normally, a fancy joint like this wouldn’t tolerate a naturalistic planting (a bit stiff now, but it’s new) of echinacea, perovskia, fragrant abelia, and heptacodium. The taxus (Golden Treasure) I’m less crazy about, but I suppose an evergreen shrub was required.


We had a fashion shoot there (the interior is just as fabulous as the interior and not stuffy at all) and I was admiring the plants, when one of the maintenance staff started raving about the fragrance of the abelia and the beautiful winter form of the salix matsudana “Scarlet Curls,” which are used as shrubs close to the building. You rarely get that kind of spontaneous enthusiasm from those whose job it is to maintain the grounds.


Majewski is known to prefer native plants and organic methods; across the street from the place, the parking lot is surrounded by clouds of bright rudbeckia. These are certainly common plants around here, but they’re a pleasant change from the impatiens, geraniums, and stonescaping one often sees around public buildings.


I think I’m most jealous of the salix and the heptacodium. I wonder if the heptacodium would take a bit of shade …

Sorry for not getting an all-inclusive view—difficult to get that perspective today, but I’ll try to add it.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. Elizabeth: Nice post as always! I do have a Heptacodium in a high canopy shade situation and it does fine. I do get quite a few flowers. Your info.

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