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Early glance at the Front Yard Contest in National Garden Festival

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Buffalo is home to the National Garden Festival, a five-week urban restoration project that’s highlighted by a Front Yard Contest. This year, the block that connects Crowley Avenue to Niagara Street—at the foot of Olmsted-designed Riverside Park—has captured the attention of seven professional landscaping organizations, who are volunteering to transform weed-infested, barren front lawns and porches into proud works of art.

Before work this morning, I had the opportunity to swing over to Riverside to investigate.

“Never in my life did I dream that something like this would happen,” said the owner of 25 Crowley Ave., whose front lawn was one of the first to receive treatment from Richardson Landscape Services. Hanging flower baskets, a litany of radiant flowers, a tilled front lawn and painted stairs greet onlookers, serving as a taste for what was in store for the 14 other lots.

This gratitude was echoed by several other owners—notably Jackie and Dorothy, two other Crowley inhabitants. The duo pointed to the narrow alleyway separating two houses where landscapers hoped to add a terrace and enliven a rusting white bench hiding in the back corner. It takes creativity to beautify a broken-down neighborhood, and bringing life to deteriorating pieces is a good microcosm of Buffalo’s direction as a city.

Here’s a list of the landscaping businesses that are participating:

—Beyond the Basics Property Services, Inc.
—Dore Landscape Associates
—The English Gardener, Ltd
—Murray Brothers Nurseries, Inc.
—Richardson Landscape Services
—Lockwood’s Greenhouses
—Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy with the Master Gardeners of the Cornell Cooperative Extension

Prizes are awarded at the end of the voting period, which concludes July 21. Ballots are available outside each home on Crowley Avenue.

So far, many of the front yards have been cleared for work, a tease of potential. Here are a few more photos of the featured block:

There’s an opportunity for the public to help out tomorrow, as the Front Yard Contest welcomes anyone to volunteer tomorrow (Wednesday) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the proper contact for that is Steven Nagowski at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

TAGGED: front yard contest, national garden festival buffalo, olmsted parks conservancy

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