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Outdoor spaces: A lakeside garden in Wanakah

Nick and Beth Buscaglia said they are so busy preparing their garden in the spring that they sometimes pull a car onto the lawn, turn on the headlights and illuminate the front garden so they can work after the sun goes down.

“We work in the garden nonstop in May and June – day and night, as they say,” said Beth Buscaglia, an architect.

July is a particularly busy month in the garden. The Buscaglias host an annual Fourth of July family reunion at their Wanakah home.

The couple, both of whom have full-time careers, also have participated in Gardens Buffalo Niagara's Open Gardens event the past three years, inviting guests to stroll their lakeside property from 5 p.m. to sunset on Fridays in July.

There’s a lot to see – from sun and shade gardens to sculptures, fountains and a koi pond.

Old wheelbarrows, including one that is more than 100 years old, serve as planters throughout the garden. So, too, does their collection of Italian pottery from the Amalfi Coast. Cow bells hang from an old tree. Air ferns are displayed inside a 6-foot-tall chair shaped like half of a birdcage.

The chair was a TJ Maxx find, said Nick Buscaglia, senior vice president in the residential division at M&T Bank.

Landscape lighting includes up lights, down lights, garden torches, string lights and path lights, said Buscaglia, who collects Italian ceramic Sicilian donkeys, one of which he displays outdoors.

The large covered patio is furnished with a table and chairs for dining as well as all-weather wicker seating with vintage styling.

Floral-print pillows that belonged to Nick Buscaglia’s “Aunt Beaty” top the light-green cushions. Large Italian pottery pieces add splashes of color. Two of these glass-topped urns hold Boston ferns; another, a collection of shells.

Large garden beds spread from the front yard, along the sides of the house to the back. A drip system helps keep everything watered.

The side garden at the home of Nick and Beth Buscaglia. (Shuran Huang/Buffalo News)

A berm near the street is planted with fountain grasses. In the beds near the front of the house, two panicle hydrangea shrubs – one Limelight and the other Mammoth – grow to about 7 feet each summer, after being cut down to a foot in the late fall.

A 6- to 8-foot deep English-style garden runs 300 feet from the street to the shore of the lake. Planted here are roses, coneflowers, shrimp plant, fig trees, rhubarb, astilbe, crocosmia, Japanese maple, hostas, hydrangeas and caladium – a tropical plant with bulbs that need to be overwintered.

Large old maple and oak trees – and a large American buffalo statue with Italian flags as its eyes – also are found on the property.

The Buscaglias planted a small vegetable garden that they have not been too successful at but hope to improve next season.

The couple said they like to have garden color all season long.

“We do more than 50 pots of annuals – lantana, begonias, coleus, mandevilla (a tropical used as an annual) – with the plan to move them around when a perennial stops blooming,” Beth Buscaglia said.

They also grow Asiatic lilies in pots.

After a busy day, the Buscaglias said they enjoy walking the grounds with a glass of wine and observing the gardens.

“We talk about what we like or what we may want to move or change,” Nick said.

“It’s our reward at the end of the day – to see how everything is doing,” Beth added.

* Take a look at last week's Outdoor Spaces feature:

Outdoor spaces: A garden of rocks, not just a rock garden

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