Thursday, March 20, 2014

2014 Buffalo Bucket List

It’s the first day of spring – YIPPEE!!!!! That means my on-call time for snow is almost over (come on, April 1st!) and soon I’ll be able to use all that comp time I racked up. I’ve got plenty of trips and races on my schedule this spring, summer and fall, but I’m also looking forward to exploring this wonderful place I live. Here are 10 places and things I’m looking forward to checking out over the next few months – at least until the snow flies again :(
  • Plantasia – Plantasia opens today – perfect timing! I’ll be hitting the show this weekend, getting all kinds of ideas for my garden and backyard.
  • Route 20 Ice Cream – located in Orchard Park, Route 20 features – in addition to great Perry’s Ice Cream – a cool “retro” museum with items from “eras gone by,” including a fully-operational 1955 GE TV!
  • Canalside – I have yet to check out the new downtown venue for EVERYTHING – concerts, fitness classes, special events and much more.
  • Erie BasinMarina Trial Garden – visited this on a Garden Festival bus trip a couple of years ago – hopefully this will still be on Garden Walk Buffalo’s drop-off route.
  • Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival – the inaugural festival at the Japanese Garden, part of Delaware Park and located behind the Buffalo History Museum.
  • Seneca Niagara Casino – I haven’t been to the casino in over two years – therefore I haven’t seen the updates!
  • Garden Walk Buffalo – celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, it’s the largest garden walk in the COUNTRY, with more than 350 open gardens.
  • Buffalo Bisons game – I haven’t been to a Bisons game in years either – affordable fun!
  • Buffalo Bites food tour – I saw a television piece on Ch. 2 about these tours last year – I immediately said, “I need to go on one of these!”
  • Buffalo Central Terminal – the Central Terminal is being renovated to its former glory – my uncle is one of the retired volunteer sheet metal workers who have already reconstructed some of the pieces.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

2014 Garden Walks in Buffalo

Here’s a preliminary list of this year’s garden walks and tours in conjunction with the National Garden Festival (not a full list!).
  • Lewiston Garden Fest – June 21st and 22nd
  • Parkside Garden Tour – June 29th
  • Town of Amherst Garden Tour – July 12th
  • The Buzz Around Hamburg Garden Walk – July 12th and 13th
  • Lockport in Bloom – July 12th and 13th
  • Village of Williamsville Garden Tour – July 19th
  • KenTon Garden Tour – July 18th and 19th – Night Lights, July 19th and 20th – daytime
  • Garden Walk Buffalo – July 26th and 27th
  • Black Rock & Riverside Tour of Gardens – August 2nd

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Planning the garden 2014: Zinnias

When it comes to my annual garden in front of my house, I tend to go with actual plants – marigolds, coleus, perilla, New Guinea impatiens (and “regular” impatiens before downy mildew) – mixed with bulbs like glads, cannas and dahlias. Over the last couple of years, I added some seeds to the mix: my corner cutting garden of zinnias.

Zinnias are some of the greatest flowers ever because they’re so easy to grow from seed: you can direct seed by digging a shallow trench (1/2” to 3/4"), planting the seeds, covering them and watering – within a few weeks, you’ll see all kinds of little green plants sprouting up! Once they start poppin’, you’ll probably want to thin them out some, either by eliminating smaller seedlings or by transplanting them into other areas. I, however, do not practice what I just preached (or at least what I’ve read): I leave them all grow, tall and colorful – I haven’t had too many problems with spots until late in the season (like mid- to late September).

My favorite thing about zinnias – besides their simplicity – is the wide range of colors they’re available in. Red, pink, orange, green (yes, green flowers!), purple, violet, white – there are also lots of bi-color flowers! I plant a variety of colors and bi-colors, and use them in vases throughout my kitchen, dining area and living room.

all photos: - 2013