Best. Garden Walk. Ever.



Please excuse me boring you just one last time (until next year) with an event that almost all of you will never attend. These are the wonderful things about Garden Walk 2008:


Susan, Michele, and I truly spent quality time touring around Buffalo, both architecture and gardens. We saw abandoned houses on the East Side as well as beautiful old architecture and Olmsted’s masterful park and parkway system on the West Side. We saw a green roof, a straw bale greenhouse, a co-op urban garden center, and a crazy front garden by a Vietnamese gardener who gives new meaning to the phrase “curb appeal.” (above)


We got drunk with some of the best gardeners in Buffalo or anywhere, including the beautiful Sally Cunningham (seen above with über gardener Gordon Ballard at right and behind him Garden Walk president Jim Charlier), author of an illuminating book on companion plantings (featured on our sidebar) and a passionate proponent of sensible, sustainable gardening on the local radio and in her newspaper column. We were also joined by Charlotte and Ellen, of My Sister’s Garden and frequent commenter/horticulturalist Terry Etttinger and his sister Marie.


People from Utah, Cleveland, Florida, and everywhere else came through my garden, including this friendly face, Mischelle (Sorry, goofed on this before. I am senile.) Carpenter, a Garden Rant reader from Northeastern PA, who never comments, but came to Garden Walk after reading about it on this blog.

I heard some of the most gratifying comments I’ve ever heard, including those that used words like creative, artistic, lush, and peaceful. Usually it’s just “lot of work,” which makes me feel guilty because it really isn’t. (Compared to many other things.)

I still can’t believe Susan and Michele took the time from their busy summers to make the tedious drive here. I hope they found it worthwhile. I know I did, and I’m even more convinced that an event like this is one of the best ways to affirm and reinforce the importance of what we all do in our gardens.

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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. Not boring at all! More pictures if you have them! You must have been busy with hostess duties! Nothing like a garden tour to get the garden spruced up!

  2. I HEART Buffalo! This is “Jennifer” (actually Mischelle) from Northeast PA breaking my comment-less state to let ranters know how impressed I was with Garden Walk. The gardens were wonderful – at least the 100 or so I got to – and the architecture was diverse, but the people? Wow. The people of Buffalo were friendly and welcoming. Garden hosts and “walkers” alike gave great advice on places to eat and see during our visit. Oh yeah, and the city was super-easy to navigate and had great flow.

    Thank you, Elizabeth, for blogging about this event and for being so gracious during our visit. We’re definitely coming back for Garden Walk 2009.

    If it’s OK, I’ll post again later today with a link to pictures.

  3. Sorry, Mischelle–I have fixed. Please DO link to images, for our other readers. I honestly do not have many. I am hoping Charlotte and Ellen will have some of theirs up soon on their blog.

  4. If anyone has photos to link to – I’ll be adding all those links to the Garden Walk website so all other fans of the Walk can see them as well. I love seeing the Walk through the eyes of other people.

  5. Buffalo is one of the most beautiful cities in the world! And nobody knows it but the people who live there, Susan, and me.

  6. I am one of the tourist from Florida.

    Elizabeth- I saw your garden with Hal Leader.
    Hal shouted for you, but you didn’t appear. I have really wanted to meet you, another soul sister who likes wine with her gardening.

    Loved your garden, got a fab pic of one our your orange lilies. Your mural is perfect, being a muralist and garden designer, all I have to say about is- perfect. See some more pics of your garden and many more at on the walk at

    Buffalo is really blooming, walking the walk and talking the talk- An amazing feat.
    Three cheers for the President of Garden Walk Buffalo, Jim Charlier and his army of beautifiers.

    I left Buffalo fourteen years ago and now live in Tampa Bay Florida. On my most recent trip to Buffalo I saw many notable positive changes in the city’s quaint neighborhoods. More cheers for the homeowners of Buffalo!

    I biked to numerous gardens on Garden Walk Buffalo and was knocked out by what individual citizens have done to help beautify Buffalo.
    GWB and Buffalo in Bloom have done more than add color to gardens. It appears that these projects planted strong seeds in the community; the harvest is rich now, seen in the proliferation of both strikingly beautiful gardens and exterior residential upgrades. A good virus- perhaps starting with simple projects like planting a few flowers, gaining strength with ambitious undertakings such as restoring elaborate wooden porches.
    As garden designer (who also has a serious case of the “Flower Crazed Bug”), I came back to Florida armed with new ideas for the numerous beautification initiatives I am currently working on in the Tampa Bay area.

    – Siobhan Nehin/ Queen of The Garden Fairies

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