Garden art at the Allentown Festival



This will be quite a series of Buffalo-centric posts, as you’ll see, but I could not resist sharing with the Rant crowd what is taking place outside my doorstep this weekend. For some years I have noticed that more and more of the wares sold at the Allentown Art Festival, a huge outdoor arts and crafts vendathon held every year here since 1957, are clearly meant for the garden. I guess even if less people are gardening, they still need tchotchkies to dress up the gardens they aren’t gardening in. There is quite a range, but nearly everything has a purpose, from traditional plant holders and trellises to a huge variety of devices meant to dispense water, including many types of decorative sprinklers and even some outdoor showers (at top).

BirdbathThen there were some very pretty glass objects meant to hold candles, serve as birdbaths, and catch the sun.

Perhaps because it is summer, the craftspeople are aiming at outdoor living, but I find it encouraging that there is such an increasing number of garden objects at this show. Of course, not all are to my taste, but I am considering a black free-standing hanging basket holder (a good way to add quick color to a bed of perennial foliage), and I’m always up for ways to light the garden at night, though colored glass candle holders may not be the solution. As I don’t live in Margaritaville, however, I will never be the purchaser of any of these.


Elsewhere at the festival, some artists are emulating the natural world rather than providing accessories for it.Birdman_2


I was also told today that a local artist is creating an installation of over 1200 maple seedlings for a new museum. I’ll keep you posted.

Previous articleSpray Now!
Next articleGuest Rant: An Architect Among Us
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 regular 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, I’m glad you did a post on this. Every garden catalog I receive has more and more “garden art”, some of which sets my heart pitter-patter. Do I need a kinetic orbiter of colorful metal cups that catch the wind; or green glass globes sprinkled with phosphorescent paint that glow in the nighttime? Maybe. What I do like is knowing they’re out there if I want them so I like this trend of more “garden art.”

    While touring gardens yesterday, the dubious gardener kept asking me, “didn’t we see this one last year?” and I could confidently reply based on whether I recognized the tchotchkies which set a garden apart, for better or for worse!

  2. Elizabeth, this is a very interesting topic, as usual. I think I am afraid that if I start putting garden art into my garden, I won’t be able to afford the plants! So far I have resisted but it will be interesting to see what others have to say about this.

  3. “Allentown” must be well known to Buffalo residents, but I grew up near Philly and the only Allentown I know (and the one that comes up first in a Google search) is Allentown, PA.

    Every time there is a post here or at GWI about Allentown my bad-at-geography brain short-circuits a little more 😉

  4. Yes, I know, Allentown, PA would be more familiar as it is a whole city, not just a neighborhood. We are very fortunate to own for our website, instead of them. In my defense, I did mention Buffalo in the first sentence!

Comments are closed.