Sunday, July 27, 2008

Buffalo Garden Walk

Life Balance: a feat we try to achieve while searching to be the best that we can we, while simultaneously raising our children to do the same. This is the equilibrium in our inner life force whereby our heartbeat matches the divine force that exists all around us. When this life balance peaks, our sense of peace, joy, love and wisdom acts as one with our very soul.

Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed. ---Walt Whitman

Yesterday I had the glorious joy of doing Garden Walk Buffalo with my good friend Miss Kodak. In Buffalo, in the last week of July every year, about 300 homes and more open their yards to strangers to view their nature's landscapes. We get to see up close their outdoor artworks, bursting with color and beauty, all neat and tidy for the guests of thousands.

We settled on the blocks surrounding Richmond and Sumner as our starting point. Very pretty indeed. We happened upon a little cottage street with charming views. One house used umbrellas to light the world. She had many umbrellas hanging throughout the side and back garden, with lights inside to cast a glow in the darkness from their bright colors. There also was a hot tub with some suitcases floating on top, as well as suitcases piled to the side to be used as a table. It was a wonderful slice of Eden. The umbrellas and suitcases created the sense of flying away to paradise; of packing yourself suitcase of troubles and landing in a cove of serenity.

Another trove of beauty was hidden behind 4 houses in an area the size of my suburban lot. We took a moment to cascade our eyes at the 4 different living spaces, sitting at angles and corners to each other, 2 behind the front. We wondered if the 2 front houses were built first, and then the other 2 were added later, perhaps to house children or extended family. As we walked in to view the gardenscapes, we were further delighted by an alley between the 2 back houses. Upon opening the gate, we were transferred to an alley in an English village, complete with 3 charming cottages. There was a cobblestone walkway in front and between each, with side gardens and back patios with fences for separation. Very peaceful and pretty.

As we further walked and delighted in the use of space and light, we happened upon Dorchester avenue. In the center island down the half-mile parkway, were planted many garden treasures, some simple, many complex in texture, color and size of plantings. One simple planting, had a beautiful pink rose bush in the center, trimmed so only the top half contained leaves and flowers. Surrounding it were simple plantings of pink and green, spread out for space and air. It was really attractive. As we turned into the only house on that part of the street listed in the directory, we found a charming back patio with the most interesting bush of the day. It was a cone shaped hydrangea in a light pink, about 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide. It dominated the one side of the stone patio with its elegance. As we greeted the owner and talked about the transformation of her private garden, we glanced up to the topmost level of her deck. Amazingly, they had planted cantaloupes in pots, "because you know how you always search for the perfect melon in the store and can't find one."

It was really interesting as we walked to see the use of color and texture to make the eye wander. One patio was interesting in the levels of plants along the fence. First of all, they used the fence almost as a wall in a living room. There was stain glassed windows, framed Garden walk posters, iron and plaster artwork, all hanging amongst the plants. In the front of the garden were the perennials like bee balm, purple cone flowers and black eyed Susan's. Most people plant these to the back of the garden, and plant the shorter annuals in front, but not in this paradise. Instead, behind the perennials were pots and boxes holding up planters with annuals and multicolored coleus in lime and pink. At first glance, you would think these plants suddenly grew that tall, but we fettered out the careful placement of pots. Above these plantings often were other smaller pots cleverly attached to the fence. When you stepped back and took it all in, it appeared to be well groomed plants of different heights, arranged for peak viewing. This was the most magnificent garden of all and must have taken hundreds of hours to arrange.

As we returned home, we stopped at the Buffalo Historical Society to see the Japanese gardens. So simple in its tranquility on the lake. When we journeyed onto the Scajacquada expressway, we glanced over at the steps of the Albright Knox art gallery, where several exquisite bridal parties were capturing the beauty of the their new life on the gorgeous summer day.

God's architecture and sculpture were everywhere to see yesterday, but it was in the joy of the new brides that I think it was really captured. Their grace and love were the whipped cream on a perfect cup of a day.

Check out the flowers today and bring joy to your heart.


Shari Schmidt said...

Garden walks are so wonderful. We did one this weekend. I'm glad you enjoyed yours.

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