Buffalo in Bloom

by Kerri Linsenbigler

Roses and daisies and tulips, oh my! July 28 and 29, take a stroll through Buffalo’s best yards on Garden Walk Buffalo. With more than 380 gardens on display, this flower celebration is the largest garden walk in the country.

From Delaware Park to downtown, Buffalo is in full bloom. Grab a homegrown tomato from a vegetable garden, meditate by a pond or appreciate the artwork of an Allentown sculpture garden. Buffalo’s uniquely styled gardens are on display, welcoming you to be a nosy neighbor.

The best part? It’s all free. Even the Garden Walk Shuttle that transports you around the city has no charge.

So, grab a friend and head out for a day filled with sunshine and floral fragrances. I know I will.

For more information go to www.gardenwalkbuffalo.com.

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And the winners are…

Lockwoods Nursery & Farm won the People's Choice Award for their work at 75 Crowley Avenue

Two weeks ago, members of the Western New York State Nursery and Landscape Association, Master Gardeners of the Cornell Cooperative Extension and teams from the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy transformed a block of 15 gardens on Crowley Avenue in Buffalo, bordering Riverside Park. Last week, the public voted for their favorites, a group of local media scored each garden, and a panel of gardening professionals reviewed the yards on technical criteria. And on July 25, organizers of the National Garden Festival announced the Front Yard Contest award recipients.

And now, for the results – drumroll, please…

People’s Choice Award
First Place: Lockwood’s Greenhouses and Farm for 75 Crowley Avenue
Second Place: Richardson’s Landscape Services for 27 Crowley Avenue

Media Award
First Place: Lockwoods Greenhouses and Farm for 75 Crowley Avenue
Second Place: Richardson’s Landscape Services for 27 Crowley Avenue
Third Place: Beyond the Basics Property Services, Inc. for 49 Crowley Avenue

Sustainability/Low Maintenance Landscape Award
The English Gardener for 65 Crowley Avenue

Best Use of Hardscape Award
Dore Landscape Associates, Inc. for 31 Crowley Avenue

Best Use of Space/Overcoming Landscape Challenges Award
Richardson’s Landscape Services for 27 Crowley Avenue

Best Cooperative Venture: Improving a Neighborhood Through Collaboration Award
Beyond the Basics Property Services, Inc., Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension for 47 and 49 Crowley Avenue

Cornell University Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Award for Best Use of Flowers
Richardson’s Landscape Services for 27 Crowley Avenue

Congrats to everyone!

The Front Yard Contest was coordinated by the Western New York State Nursery & Landscape Association, the New York State Certified Nursery and Landscape Professionals, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Visit Buffalo Niagara, and the National Garden Festival organizing committee. National Garden Festival organizers believe it is the only such civic-minded garden competition in the country.

The contest was sponsored by Monrovia Nurseries, with additional support from Lakeside Sod, Akron Tree Farms and Unilock, Inc.

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Neighbors Grateful for and Determined to Keep Up Results of Front Yard Contest

For all the “ooh’s” and “aah’s” coming from visitors to the 2012 National Garden Festival’s Front Yard Contest on Crowley Ave beside Riverside Park – voting now open, check out before and after photos here! – the biggest gushing is coming from the residents themselves as they witness and take part in a true aesthetic transformation on their humble street.

Sensing in advance the impending attention and support, some homeowners seized the opportunity to make other home improvements.

“The first thing I did was finish siding the house and hang new gutters,” said James Woelfle, who owns and rents 75 Crowley, upon learning that the contest was coming to his street. “We did everything nice we could before they got here, but when I came back and saw what they did, I called my girlfriend and said, ‘You’re not gonna believe this.’”

James Woelfle and his girlfriend Mary Ann pose beside the work of Lockwood's Greenhouses at the home they own and rent on 75 Crowley

On the flip side of Woelfle’s advance work, his girlfiend Mary Ann promises to continue the upkeep post-contest. “Pure tears,” she said of her response to her first sight of the work done by Lockwood’s Greenhouses that is sure to be a top contender in the contest. “It’s amazing that they’d do something like this; we’re so grateful. We’re gonna buy them a fruit basket. And we’re gonna try to keep this up – how would you let something like this go?”

Jessie Bindics, who along with three generations of her family has lived at 27 Crowley for over 40 years, is similarly determined and grateful. “This is absolutely gorgeous,” she said as she gazed at her new yard, which includes her own contributions along with a complete overhaul by Richardson Landscape Services. “Everybody deserves to win, but I want to win it. I’ve been up at 6am, doing what they say to keep it up – they say I’m doing it right, and that’s what I’m gonna do.

The front porch at 27 Crowley has been busy throughout the Front Yard Contest

“These guys are just amazing – they said they’d come back and get it ready for the winter for me. Nobody asked them to do that for me. Next year, you look and see, it’s gonna look the same. When something like this is given to you, you need to take care of it.”

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The Festival on Film

The ninth episode of Buffalo. For Real TV invites you to get all the dirt on the National Garden Festival and Garden Walk Buffalo. Produced by Visit Buffalo Niagara and First + Main Media.

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2012 Front Lawn Contest, Day 4 Photos – The English Gardner Leads the Way

As work continued Thursday in Day 4 of the 2012 National Garden Festival’s Front Yard Contest, the crew from The English Gardener took the spotlight on Crowley Ave while residents began to take over upkeep of their newly beautified yards.

Today’s the final day of work – more stories from the action on the street to come!










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2012 Front Lawn Contest, Day 3 Photos – Olmsted & Cornell Lead Volunteer Day

Check out these photos taken by Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s Stan Jennings from Day 3 of the 2012 National Garden Festival’s Front Yard Contest – and read this story about the volunteer effort led by Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and the Master Gardeners of the Cornell Cooperative Extension!














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Front Yard Contest – Day 4 Morning Video

Here’s what the scene looked like on Crowley Avenue on the morning of Thursday, July 12 – day four of the National Garden Festival‘s Front Yard Contest. Many of the front yards are complete or almost there!

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Olmsted Conservancy, Cornell Master Gardeners, & Volunteers Work on Crowley Ave

By Seamus Gallivan

The story of Day Three at the 2012 National Garden Festival’s Front Yard Contest was the crew of volunteers corralled by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (BOPC), teaming with Master Gardeners from the Cornell Cooperative Extension to further transform a growing number of front lawns on Riverside Park-bordering Crowley Ave.

Extending Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision of connecting the city through his historic parks system, BOPC’s call for volunteers brought parks supporters from well beyond the Riverside neighborhood being beautified, such as West Seneca resident Cindy Battista. “We just love all the parks and this whole story,” she said, her teenage son at her side. “I took a vacation day and he’s off from school – it’s great to be able to help out. These parks are our treasures, we’re so lucky to have them; we live close to them as well, for us it’s Cazenovia Park.

“This is fantastic,” she added as she observed the arrival of another round of flowers. “It builds community among these residents, the parks, the master gardeners, and people like us who have no special skills but are willing to help.”

Cornell Master Gardener Marlene Liberti, who also has a hands-on role with Buffalo in Bloom, marveled at the scene she and Cindy shared in. “This is one of the best things to happen for our parks system – just look at that,” she said as she pointed toward BOPC CEO Thomas Herrera-Mishler doing yard work a few feet away. “That’s the head of our parks fixing up a front lawn of parks neighbor – this is special.”

The occasion is special for the conservancy as well. “It’s not very often we get to work with the community out on their turf – usually, people come to us, so having that level of collaboration with the neighborhood is wonderful,” said BOPC Manager of Volunteers Steven Nagowski. “The neighbors have been great. They’ve been very supportive and are out here helping us – we’re having a blast.”

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Local Landscapers Lead Community-Building Effort in Front Yard Contest

By Seamus Gallivan

Below the welcome sign on the website for Dore Landscape Associates is the statement, “We are an interesting group of people that do interesting things.” It’s no wonder, then, that they’re right at home in the middle of the 2012 National Garden Festival’s Front Yard Contest on Crowley Ave, at the southern line of Riverside Park.

Ed Dore is a lifer in the landscaping business, raised around Kensington Ave and now based in the Pendleton area, where he has operated Dore Landscape Associates for the past 30 of his 42 years in the trade. Going above and beyond an already admirable effort in transforming and/or preparing 11 homes on Crowley, Dore and his crew deflect attention for themselves, instead insisting that they’re representing the Western New York State Nursery & Landscape Association, or as he wishes to call it, Landscape WNY.

“Some would say about Crowley, ‘How many people there are going to call on us later to do further landscaping and other work?’” Dore said during a brief break from his hands-on work. “But we see a bigger picture.”

Ed Dore works solo

For the 70-year-old association that funds scholarships, works with students at McKinley High School, and collaborates with community organizations such as PUSH Buffalo, Re-Tree WNY, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, and Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, Dore has observed in three years of Front Yard Contests a unique experience among those who connected to the effort.

“Aaron Bartley from PUSH said in an article in The Buffalo News recently that landscaping is critical to community, and he’s absolutely right,” said Dore. “This is critical to building community – when you can get all these neighbors out together, they get energized to do more at their own houses and the park next to them.”

Ed Dore teaches Bea Tabar about her new landscaping at 55 Crowley

Dore has not only gone above and beyond in working on more lawns than originally planned – in one home lives an elderly Hungarian woman who speaks little English and is understandably skeptical about all these free services, so Dore called her daughter, who lives in Canada, to ensure proper communication. He has been passing his phone back and forth with her mother to ensure each party understands needs and services, and the fact that there are no strings attached to the Front Yard Contest.

“There is a firm belief among those in our group that this is a very worthy thing to do, and for me, this is fun,” he declared. “This is what we do, and we enjoy this opportunity to give back.”

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2012 Front Lawn Contest, Day 2 Photos – Transformation on Crowley Ave

The Transformation of Crowley Ave for the 2012 National Garden Festival‘s Front Yard Contest is well underway – compare these photos below with the before photos on the festival website, so much done and we’re only two days in!

21 Crowley


23 Crowley


25 Crowley


25 Crowley


25 Crowley front stones


25 Crowley memorial stone


29 Crowley


31 Crowley


45 Crowley


49 Crowley


Beyond the Basics went above and beyond the front yard at 49 Crowley


Looking out from the new pathway between 49 & 47 Crowley

[caption id="attachment_66" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="49 Crowley"][/caption]

Ed Dore teaches Bea Tabar about her new landscaping at 55 Crowley


Ed Dore instructs his crew as Bea Tabar talks to her neighbor


Neighbors carry on a conversation as landscapers work between them


Dore Landscaping Associates crew at work


Ed Dore works solo


Crew from the English Gardner works at 65 Crowley


Lockwood's staff discusses their work at 75 Crowley

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