Barbara and The Elmwood Village Association, after completing a collaborative garden and green space construction project at Elmwood and Bidwell in 2014, asked Buffalo Horticulture if we could help make Christmas trees available in the Elmwood Village once again as they had disappeared several years previous. This is our third season delivering them to the Elmwood Bidwell Farmer’s Market space through the holidays. This season we have also set up a market as part of an event with Wrafterbuilt at their store in Allentown.
I have come to think of our Christmas tree markets as having a reciprocal relationship between our professional tradition and the neighborhood's want to have its means for living accessible immediately nearby. I live on the West Side in the 14213, West Utica Street. I would be happiest if I never had to go north of Forest Avenue or South of Tupper - something that in the winter I can pull off for a couple weeks at a time. There is no amount of money I'm not willing to pay the Lexington Coop for the safety of not heading past Buff State (Eventually I break down and muster the courage to head up to Aldi). Ninety-nine of a hundred coffees I have still come from the cafes/caffes in The Village and not the new wave of High Coffee anchoring and changing old neighborhoods to new ones. "Urban Roots” is one of Buffalo Horticulture's most visited vendors because of its proximity. There are countless restaurants I can't bear to eat at again but will because they are close. Unfortunately not much in the way of utility is really available near to us. I can get cat liter at Rite Aid or cat food at the Elmwood Village Pet Store but if I need socks or basic white "Fruit of the Loom" T-shirts (The corner Bodega doesn't carry my brand) I have to head up to the parking lot land to the North.
I think it is the responsibility of Buffalo Horticulture to act as the portal for Christmas Trees to flow into The Village, Allentown, and the neighborhoods we represent. The tradition has always been filled by the industry we image ourselves attached to and if we are to represent this historical niche as "Nursery & Landscape" in our community then we don't get to pick and choose what is easiest and most profitable. If Buffalo Horticulture is to fulfill its traditional role then we can't stop at “Design and Build;" it leaves the community incomplete as well as Buffalo Horticulture’s identity. Also, the traditional space that community and business are reciprocally built on is left vacant, like the parking lots that have replaced them.
"I can't have mention of 'The Sex Playlist' on my page. We are a business!"
Most recently, in a negotiation, I sat at a table trying to pull a project together that, right now, is stalled because of a difference in an understanding of value. On one side of the conversation a party sat with an empty table before them. On my side there were three clipboards, one with my work notebook and the other two with lists, charts, and diagrams that imagined a resolution in our understanding so our collaboration could be move forward.
The history of economic thought, going back to Aristotle and Adam Smith, recognizes a tradition that believes all value is created from work and the labor of a body. Following this tradition, "Buffalo Horticulture's" social media (here specifically responding to Instagram) aims to demonstrate a way of living, a lifestyle, and a process that is constantly adding value because it is always "doing work" - asking and answering questions, in addition to the obvious hole digging and raking. I am always aiming to "show the work" so one can recognize a special value in Buffalo Horticulture.
I often suspect others avoid showing the work because it is too dirty and no one wants to be associated with dirt. They want to be seen as "High" and not having to ever labor.
"I am a business."
I think that to create values that are good for people we need businesses to engage in some healthy allegory - see "The Sex Playlist" on the Buffalo Horticulture Instagram page October 20th, 2017 - aiming towards things that aren't so easy to articulate, aren't so straightforward. How can one create "value" and only engage in "sterile" articulations? We as artisans, creators, makers, and "small business people," live - while unspoken - in criticism of "corporate ways" and "corporate makings and products." We are the carriers of culture, skill, and tradition in our fields and communities.
And so it will follow, the images of our businesses must be different. We don't copy and emulate corporate behavior to demonstrate that we are like them. We present our own identities, because it is where others can find value.
May. Its when the Crabapples bloom. While there are 100s of cultivars of Crabapple out there, most of the Crab's we see in the neighborhood are predominantly only of four to five cultivars that have been planted by City of Buffalo Forestry and neighborhood volunteers. A solid performer, but sometimes the crown needs to be raised so to make room for the sidewalk, which I've done here.
By the end of May we've all probably been out to get annuals at the greenhouse. Here is my favorite, Weber's out in West Seneca. More importantly is how this overlooks an empty greenhouse from the old Majewski Nursery, once one of the biggest around, now evidence of an every changing structure in the horticultural business and industry.
A before image of a sizable project we worked in the 14213. I see this as a look into what a "Buffalo Garden" is and also evidence of how many people are moving into the neighborhood as we are constantly taking yards that haven't been cared for in years (a generation or two) and making them into clean useable spaces.
'Flame' Willow - We have been using this plant since the middle of last decade, back when Emily was working with me. She introduced it to me. You will find a close friend to this plant 'Scarlet Curls' Willow at "The Mansion on Delaware" from when we landscaped that together in +/- 2005. Here, I've harvested some from my backyard. Perhaps this is the precursor to arrangements Ferncroft and I will put together for a wedding this weekend at the Hotel Henri that feature long 5-6' branches of this Willow.
Spiraea x VanHouteii. I have a story to tell of this plant going back a shade over ten years now and how its influence changed the path of Buffalo Horticulture's thinking to what we are today. Here, this Spiraea, is at "The Territory," a collaborative art space and garden on Bidwell Parkway in the 14222.
Meeting with a client over the weekend, speaking of a bare soil area under the shade of some Pine trees, I suggested we just put mulch instead of trying to grow grass that will never grow. Recognizing at the same time this mulched area would, if the client chose for a more manicured look, cause more work in managing spontaneous naturally occuring vegetation, I pointed out that we are only mulching as a sign, to signify, like a word, only in landscape not text, that there is human intention, intelligence, and care given to this space.
From and image I can never make a one-to-one copy of a floral arrangement or garden. It can never be the original; at best the artist can attempt a simulation of the original.
Even to discuss this "simulation," we would have to pull apart and recognize how we understand what "the original" is.
As a designer, I might say the original has a sense, "a gesture," a poetic, a fantasy, a statement, or a signification in the language of the field.
Secondly, the original has its form, its tactility, its visual quality. I may speak of this as texture, proportion, intensity, balance, repetition, unity, form, shape, etc.
The struggle always confronted - creating anxiety, depression, and separation - is in the translation from the artists body, where and how the artist knows the original, into language that the consumer uses. We'll call this "The Discourse of Flowers" (following Roland Barthes), a language seperate from the body and sensibility.
As when the artist
Opens her mouth to utter
"We aren't using Peonies or Ranunculus"
- and everything you so much love and know,
Only simulations of them,
Translations to best approximate the original you've
At this point
Landscape designer and Proprietor of Buffalo Horticulture