I know, Elizabeth has already published a photo of this Buffalo garden in an immigrant neighborhood, but it’s worth revisiting because it breaks every rule of good gardening taste–and transcends them into sublimity. In other words, I completely love it.
In one sense, this garden is not very representative of Buffalo as I’ve seen it. Buffalo has the most extraordinary collection of domestic architecture imaginable, thanks to enormous riches during some very good eras–Italianate, Second Empire, Shingle, all the way up to Frank Lloyd Wright. This, on the other hand, is a pretty ordinary house. Also, most of the Buffalo gardens I’ve seen are very sophisticated, with lots of stonework underfoot and carefully edited plantings, not wild and crazy like this.
However, I do think this garden is representative in its general air of happiness and pride of place. Buffalo’s reputation to the outside world is that of another poverty-ridden rust-belt relic not worth troubling about. But that reputation fails to take into account the city’s absurd beauty, and the fact that Buffalo is full of people who, instead of considering it obsolete, recognize that it’s a great place to live, restore their wild houses to a high degree of authenticity, and throw open their pocket gardens to the world every year during Garden Walk.
In this era of $4.50 a gallon gasoline, peak oil, climate change, and a new consciousness about not being so damned wasteful as a people any more, the “modern” mode of living trumpeted so relentlessly by our culture–a brand-new McMansion with granite countertops in a suburb created out of nowhere–is revealing itself hour by hour to be an outdated folly.
As for forgotten old Buffalo, well, it certainly looks like the future to me.