Thursday, June 15, 2006

Talking the talk: Martin



I first met Martin during Garden Walk 2004; we were having the usual post-GW festivities chez my patio when a couple of invitees came up to me and said, “We really want you to see what’s going on at your neighbor’s place.” Turns out they were friends of Martin’s, who had recently moved here from Atlanta, and was in the middle of restoring a huge, partially-trashed Victorian down the street. I and many of my equally nosy neighbors had checked this place out when it was up for sale; all of us had shuddered at what would be necessary to bring it back.

But when, drinks in hand, we all trooped over to Martin’s house in late summer, 2004, it already looked amazing. He had removed tons of asphalt siding, repainted, fixed all the windows, restored the wood floors (which he later lightened), and beautifully finished the walls and ceilings. Even the garden had a good head start—he entered it in Garden Walk the next year. This year, however, he is taking it to a new level. During our conversation for the GW book, Martin explained plans for his back garden that will literally blow every other pondsman in Buffalo out of the water.

Unfortunately, I am unable to reveal those plans at this time. I can say that visitors during GW 2006 will walk into a back garden where water is used in almost every way possible, going considerably beyond the basic pond idea. (Of course, I can't even get one of those going.) During our conversation, we spoke about the difficulty of translating Atlanta gardening to Buffalo gardening, how best to start elephant ear, and how to create a refuge that at least partially shuts out the often less-than-desirable urban sounds and sights that surround both of us in our neighborhood. But we also talked about how we loved Allentown, Buffalo, and its amazingly intact 19th century built environment. Then we took a look at the roses and foxgloves he had growing around the house—and wondered about this giant green-headed thing that neither of us could identify.

See also: Gordon and Arlan

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