Upon interviewing Elizabeth Licata on her new book, Secret Buffalo – A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure, we agreed that it would be fun to post three articles from the book. Together, we chose the articles, which was not an easy task considering that there are so many that spoke to both of us. In the end, we whittled down the list. The 3rd article that we opted to run is titled:
A Spectacular Creekside Retreat (Author: Elizabeth Licata)
Those who make the extra effort to find this expansive and impressive private garden can go away knowing they’ve seen one of Western New York’s best. The garden is only available for viewing during Fridays in July. Mike and Kathy Shadrack took over the property of a former Buffalo Bills player and transformed it into—yes—a showplace, but a showplace with subtlety. To begin with, the house and adjacent deck are built over a tree-lined creek, with expansive terraced gardens surrounding the house.
Sunny areas feature bright beds of daylilies, iris, spring bulbs,and flowering shrubs, while shaded areas highlight a variety of hostas—more than 1,000—including many rare cultivars, as well as other shade perennials.
Smug Creek Gardens also features obelisks, sculptures, and less definable types of garden art. Almost every plant is labeled. The Shadracks, who have written books on hostas, are well known to garden professionals throughout the US, but much less so in Western New York. With the advent of the Open Gardens program, however, it’s possible for local enthusiasts to visit a space previously familiar only to in-the-know plant specialists. In addition to Open Gardens, the Shadracks sometimes host special events at their property, occasionally serving high tea as a nod to Mike’s 40 years as an English bobby before he moved to the US and married Kathy. It’s just as much fun to spend time with this charming couple as it is to tour their gardens.
Smug Creek Gardens
WHAT: A spectacular creekside garden
WHERE: Hamburg, NY
PRO TIP: Smug Creek is open to the public on Friday afternoons in July, as part of the Open Gardens program. Visit gardensbuffaloniagara.com for more information.
The book is available at Talking Leaves, Thin Ice. For those living out of town, Talking Leaves will ship the book directly to you – order online here.