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Garden fresh ideas

You’ve heard the phrase “farm to table.” By now you’re probably familiar with “garden to table” – the movement toward growing your own delicious, healthy food – whether it’s in pots, raised beds or large lots.

With planting season not far off, inspiration for this and more can be found at Plantasia at the Fairgrounds Event Center and Artisan Hall in Hamburg – from the organic-blueberry stand display built by Buffalo Tree House to the exhibit created by students from the Niagara County Community College (NCCC) horticulture program and McKinley High School continuing-education program.

But why stop there? With all this enthusiasm for planting vegetables, fruits and herbs, outdoor kitchens continue to be a hot topic, said Mike Frank, owner of Chevalier Outdoor Living. His display includes a backyard pizza oven, with a well-accessorized dining table nearby.

“I wanted to create a semi-sophisticated pizza party,” said his wife Sue, who chose a black-and-white diamond-patterned tablecloth as the base for her tablescape.

Now in its 15th year, the four-day Plantasia – dubbed “Western New York’s Premier Garden and Landscape Show” – runs through Sunday. It’s here you’ll find landscaped beds with flowers, shrubs and trees; water features; garden furniture, art and accessories; hardscaping ideas (paths, pergolas, etc.); grills; garden-inspired jewelry and more, as well as a lineup of seminars given by Certified Nursery & Landscape Professionals (CNLPs) and garden experts.

This year’s theme: Every Garden Tells a Story. Think fairy tales, romance novels and such.

A few other trends:

• Succulents, succulents and more succulents: You will find them throughout – in everything from small burlap-wrapped pots to mega-size containers. They even are the inspiration for decorative items such as candle bases.

• Garden illumination. “Lighting seems to be getting bigger every year,” said Chris Zeisz, show chairman and owner of Snyder Ridge Landscaping. He pointed out a multicolored sparkling lighting system installed behind a round wall of ivy topiary in a featured display.

• Into the woods: Menne Nursery & Garden Artistry designed a backyard space with plenty of privacy. “We tried to make it natural and woodsy – and more enclosed. We brought in a lot of woodland plants – weeping Japanese maple, a variety of hostas, rhododendrons for spring flowers and hydrangeas for summer flowers,” said Guy T. Berberich, home and garden decor manager. Furniture crafted from ipe hardwood enhances the look.

• Cheerful brights: Outdoor accessories such as generously proportioned pillows, wall clocks and hammock chairs add a fun punch of color to porches and other outdoor spaces, said MJ Brown, owner of Tangled Twigs in Ellicottville. At the same time she sees vintage accessories as a good fit for gardens; she designs garden stakes with tops crafted from vintage china, for example. She also sees a continued interest in subdued, Zen-inspired gardens. “They’re so soothing,” she said.


What to know: Plantasia, which opened Thursday, continues through Sunday at the Fairgrounds Event Center and Artisan Hall, 5820 South Park Ave., Hamburg. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available during show hours at the Event Center’s Box Office. General adult admission, $9; senior citizens, $7 (age 60 and older; no other discounts apply). Children age 12 and younger are free. See for lists of educational seminars, exhibitors, vendors, events, general admission discount coupon, directions and the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens’ daily schedule of happenings at the Adventure to the Lonely Mountain children’s garden. Parking is free.