An entire street adjacent to Olmsted’s Riverside Park is about to get a major makeover thanks to an incredible community effort. For the third year in a row the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Visit Buffalo Niagara and the professional landscape industry are forging ahead to beautify fifteen houses on Crowley Avenue that face the park. While today’s announcement was moving in so many ways, it was the reaction from the homeowners that was the icing on the cake. At then end of the press conference a series of hoots and hollers came from the homeowners, many of whom have lived in the neighborhood for most of their lives. “We’ll make sure that everyone gets water and coffee on us!” shouted one of the ladies whose front yard was going to be redone. “You don’t know how much this means to us… thank you, thank you, thank you!!!”
New to this year’s makeover is the partnership between the Olmsted Conservancy and a number of Master Gardeners who have helped to design the yards. “Working together to build a better Olmsted Park neighborhood is the essence of the National Garden Festival’s Front Yard Contest,” says Thomas Herrera-Mishler, president and CEO of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. “The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy will be turning the contest into a teaching and learning moment. The conservancy’s operation and design teams are pairing with Master Gardeners of the Cornell Cooperative Extension and local volunteers to adopt some of the front yards as part of our ongoing staff development program – with our community benefitting from the results.”
The event is part of the National Garden Festival and is being coordinated by the Western New York State Nursery and Landscape Association, the New York State Certified Nursery and Landscape Professionals the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Visit Buffalo Niagara and the National Garden Festival organizing committee. On Jul 11, 2012 from 8am to 4pm, the public is invited to come out and help with this important feel-good initiative (email to RSVP).
The contest is sponsored by Monrovia Nurseries, with additional support from Lakeside Sod, Akron Tree Farms and Unilock, Inc.
The following landscape firms, garden centers and volunteers are participating in the competition:
Beyond the Basics Property Services, Inc.
Dore Landscape Associates
The English Gardener, Ltd
Murray Brothers Nurseries, Inc.
Richardson Landscape Services
Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservatory with the Master Gardeners of the Cornell Cooperative Extension
The Front Yard Contest has a viewing and voting component (learn more here) and training for residents on how to maintain the landscaping. The materials being used are part of a xeriscaping technique where the soil mix and the plants chosen are less susceptible to current drought conditions. Organizers of the Front Yard Contest have stated that they believe that this is the only civic-minded garden competition of this sort in the country. Another reason that Buffalo is truly The City of Good Neighbors.