If you happen to be spending some time at Delaware Park this summer, around the area of the stone bridge near the casino, you will notice an area of manicured plantings. The plantings were conducted by Timothy Sick, a Buffalo resident who felt that he wanted to give back to the community in some way, but until recently was not presented the perfect opportunity. I caught up with Tim and asked him a few questions regarding his contribution to the park:
How did you come up with the exact site for the landscape project?
When I first met my partner, we walked the “Park Lake” and I thought it should be a perfect spot for rhododendrons and azaleas.
Do you have a green thumb and/or knowledge of professional landscaping?
My background as a graduate from Alfred State College is with a degree in Landscape Design Development in 1980.
How did your idea fit in with the Olmsted-designed park?
As the years went on I discovered that Olmsted had designated this area for just such a purpose.
What was the area like when you first came across it?
It had been cut down during the Bike Path Rapist time period, for being over grown and a lack of maintenance.
What was it that led to your decision to move forward wight he project?
Salvatore Zambito II and I have rehabbed around 80 Properties in our time together of 14 Years and have landscaped a lot of homes, but I found that I wasn’t able to return to care for them. I wanting to give more back to Buffalo, so I contacted the Olmsted Conservancy and asked if I could donate these trees and shrubs to that area. Unfortunately I was told by earlier administrations that they were in need of building their membership fund, [and didn’t need plantings].
So what changed?
Last year I was told that Director/CEO Thomas Herrera-Mishler had come on board and was a great asset to The Conservancy and that he would listen to my proposal… and he did. He liked what I had in mind and wanted me to work with the park’s landscape architect Brian Dold to create the evergreen area all over again.
How did you proceed from there?
We had several meetings and I was able to convince them I had the knowledge and I had the “wherewithal” to fund the project and we agreed on the plantings.
When did you start?
The first week of June myself and my crew of 9 started to plant 130 trees and shrubs and completed the project in 3 weeks. [After the initial plantings] while working on our other development projects, we would go over and do some work here and there.
What did the plantings require?
Each plant had to have the entire clay area [surrounding the roots] removed and the soil augmented with sand and peat moss to give the shrubs proper soil conditions. From there we water when necessary and have mulched the entire area that we’ve done.
What sorts of plants did you use?
Some of the plants are rhododendrons, azaleas, holly, leucothoe, hydrangea, hemlocks, hawthorn, magnolia, ornamental pines, potentilla, smoke tree and many others.
After the plantings, who will take care of the area?
Our promise is to take care of this area for 10 years and hopefully continue on in its development until I pass away!
What led you to do this giant undertaking?
I feel you should give back to the community that has helped you in your growth in life. This is a 5 year project that I am funding $20,000/year for a total of $100,000 and hope to put in about 600+ trees and shrubs. I’m having fun and my only issue is with careless dog owners that have let their dogs pee on the shrubs, which has killed 5 shrubs so far.