As Michele explores ways to garden more, I’m totally ready to garden less. I love spending time outside in our current 80-plus October temps (soon to drop, I know), but I’d rather not weed, water, prune, or plant. It’s as much as I can do to get the damn bulbs in, and please don’t mention leaf raking. Though, by the looks of it, we’ll be very close to Thanksgiving before it’s time to do that.
At this point in the year, I’d rather revel in nature than attempt to maintain it. Yesterday, we drove into WNY’s ski country, which is the only area where fall colors are beginning to appear. Closer to Buffalo, everything is still quite green, including an unusual wilderness area that’s about 3 minutes from Buffalo’s City Hall.
Tifft Nature Preserve is a classic example of making environmental lemonade. A former farm, then shipping center, the 264 acres fell into disuse and eventually were used as a dump by the city. In the 70s, the movement to turn this land into a nature preserve began, and the waste was enclosed. Ponds were dug, wildflowers were planted, and a large cattail marsh was conserved. (Hazardous waste was removed.) Now, the area is designated an “important bird area” by Audubon.
It is truly lovely in a very understated way—just cattails, wooden boardwalks and raised walkways, water, trees, plants, and birds (There are more animals, but I’ve only seen birds). There aren’t the variety of wildflowers one might see in a truly unspoiled woodland, but the bird action is impressive (264 species and subspecies recorded; 64 species breeding there)—especially if you know birds, which I can’t say I do.
I didn’t find fall today but I did find a beautiful, quiet spot that needs no watering.