BUFFALO - It’s nice to have a little aloe plant on your kitchen windowsill, but there is so much more you can do with succulents than that.
Get great ideas by looking at the amazing exhibits during the Succulent Show to be held from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily, from Saturday, Sept. 7 - Sunday, Oct. 6 at the Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave. in Buffalo.
Tickets are $9 for adults, $8 for seniors ages 55 and older and students ages 13 and older with identification, $5 for children ages 3-12 and free for Botanical Gardens members and children younger than 3.
Some of the exhibits, such as an entire woman created out of succulents, might be beyond the skills of the average gardener, but there are plenty of ideas that you can borrow and use at home.
I talked with Julie McDonald, gardener at the Botanical Gardens, about some of the designs she and fellow gardener Teresa Mazikowski created, last year.
Perhaps the simplest idea is to mix a variety of succulents in a container. Start with some tall plants, such as sansevieria, also called snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue. Add shorter plants, then add your smallest plants, even cuttings of a plant, last.
Look for variety. Succulents can be tall, slender and upright; very wide and floppy, like a puppy’s ear; floral-shaped or cascading. They can be shiny or fuzzy. They can come in shades of green, silvery gray and yellow with splashes of red, purple and white.
Another way to display succulents is on a form.
For a mushroom, McDonald and Mazikowski took a wire flower pot and turned it upside down. They took thick plastic netting (the kind you use around a plant, to keep deer and rabbits from eating it) and wired it to the pot. Then they glued preserved moss to the netting. A section of a large cardboard mailing tube formed the stem. The tube was wired to the inside of the basket and covered with moss. You can add hens and chicks or other succulents, as well.
A simple cone shape covered in succulents would look great in the garden and it could make an attractive Christmas decoration as well.
McDonald and Mazikowski used a tomato cage turned upside down. The legs of the cage were wired together a few inches from the top. The legs were splayed enough at the top to form a pocket where a plant could be inserted.
Plastic netting was wired to the cage. Presoaked sphagnum moss was added to the inside edges to hold in the moisture. Don’t use Spanish moss, McDonald said; it won’t last. Sphagnum moss is expensive and heavy, so you don’t want to fill the entire tomato cage with sphagnum moss, she noted. Wire the succulent cuttings in place.
Check out the Succulent Show at the Botanical Gardens, to see what new ideas you can glean, for your own planting.
Connie Oswald Stofko is publisher of Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email Connie@BuffaloNiagaraGardening.com
September 11, 2013
They are small, they are shapely, and they are hot. Succulents are having a moment in the world of plants and floral arranging, showing up in centerpieces, wedding bouquets and living wreaths. That’s why, now through Oct. 6, an exhibit at the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens is showing some fun and fanciful new ways to enjoy the hardy green gems.
Planning began months ago, with gardeners taking clippings from the succulents in the facility’s desert house and drawing out plans for the arrangements, said Erin Grajek, the gardens’ marketing director.
Teresa Mazikowski is one of the gardeners on staff who turned rosette-shaped echeverias, spikey zebra plants and little vines of string of pearls into miniature gardens, a green-and-blue growing globe and a pirate ship, among many other intricate arrangements.
Visitors may be inspired to re-create the gardens – in craft-store rocks, old toy trucks, even broken pots – although they may want to skip trying to make the succulent monkey.
“We grow these on frames in sphagnum moss,” Mazikowski said. “We have to take them apart after the show. Once they start growing, they don’t look as nice.
“The monkey’s just going to get hairy and ugly,” she said with a smile.
But the succulent-based wedding table – made by setting the plants in a shallow frame to provide a living space for place settings – could be repurposed as a green wall if stood on end, Grajek said.
And most outdoor planters can move inside and thrive when the weather gets cooler, Mazikowski said.
“You just need to keep them moist, but don’t put them in ‘real’ soil,” she said. “They like a sandy mix. They often do well indoors, because it’s easier to control the moisture.”
One hardy succulent popular in gardens throughout Western New York – hens-and-chicks – doesn’t have to come in. It doesn’t just survive winter well, it is easily clipped and shared, making it a good choice for beginners building their first containers.
Saturday, the gardens also hosted another in its ongoing “medicinal plants” information series, this month focusing on men’s health and controlling cholesterol. Tim Hutcherson, director of the drug information center at D’Youville College, gladly explained how such plants as garlic, psyllium and hibiscus might help reduce cholesterol, and what research says about the way they work.
“Every culture has its go-to plants,” Hutcherson said. “And they use them in different ways – cooking them, grinding them, teas. The components are located in different parts of different plants.”
Traditional or not, users need to watch their “dosage” when using plants as medicine.
“Just because they’re natural doesn’t mean they’re safe in large quantities,” Hutcherson said.
He pointed out that red yeast rice, which contains monacolins – a substance known to reduce cholesterol – has been the cause of legal disputes about whether it can be sold as food or should be considered a drug.
Plants also can interact with pharmaceuticals, he said, so anyone “self-medicating” with Indian snakeroot (Rauwolfia serpentina), stevia or any other herbal/plant remedies should let their physicians and pharmacists know.
The Medicinal Garden feature continues through Oct. 12, focusing on how botanicals could help prevent the flu and the use of plants in cancer treatment.
Also coming up at the gardens, the Fall Plant Sale is Saturday and Sunday in the Administration Building. Less hectic than the spent bulb sale and smaller than the spring plant sale, it offers perennials, shrubs and some tropical plants. Admission to the sale is free.
SOUTH BUFFALO - With breathtaking scenery surrounding you, you can dine in a beautiful, natural setting on Fri. Sept. 27 as the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens holds its sixth annual Gala at the Gardens.
Commencing at 6:30 with a cocktail hour in the Palm Dome this one-of-a-kind event promises to mix the beauty of the gardens with fine dining and a live auction with unique auction items to make a truly memorable experience.
“We invite the community to join us for the celebration of this great historic and architectural treasure of Western New York,” said Mary Ann Kresse, co-chairperson of the event, “The community’s support gives emphasis to the value and importance of the unique public/private partnership that preserves the Gardens’ integrity and future and allows the Botanical Gardens to flourish and grow as we continue to provide visual and educational botanical and horticultural enlightenment,”
The co-chairs for the event, Mary Ann Kresse and Dr. Maria Rita Andaya, are joined by Honorary Chairs Ed Dore of Dore Landscaping Associates in the promotion of the evening. An expected 300 people will be in attendance for the Gala and sponsorship opportunities are still available.
The live auction with Cash Cunningham will include items such as a trip to San Diego with hotel, airfare, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sail on the Stars and Stripes America’s Cup sailboat; a private tour of the Hotel at Lafayette with developer Rocco Termini that includes an overnight stay and dinner certificate; and a luxury suite at the Roycroft Inn in East Aurora with dinner. Basket and silent auctions will also be available during the evening.
Proceeds from the evening will help to enhance the exhibits and educational programs and advance the Gardens’ goal to become the horticultural hub of WNY.
A Mission Auction will be held during the night will all proceeds directly benefitting the free educational programs for Buffalo Public School children. Last year this portion of the event raised nearly $10,000 for the benefit of area children. Gifts won at this portion of the event ranged in value from $250 to $1000.
“Just as we have moved forward the operation of the Botanical Gardens, which the Botanical Gardens Society assumed in 2004, we are growing the Gala, our largest fund raising event, to sustain and independently preserve this unique and treasured cultural, historic, educational treasure for and by the community,” stated the Gala’s co-chairperson, Mary Ann Kresse.
Cocktail attire is recommended for the Sept. 27 Gala. Individual tickets for the event are $150. Tickets and sponsorship information can be obtained by calling 827-1584 ext. 203 or visiting the Botanical Gardens at 2655 South Park Ave.
The Gala promises to be an evening of friendship and beauty in a venue long held to be one of the areas most treasured locations.
Buffalo, NY – The Botanical Gardens, in conjunction with Collette Vacations, presents “The Gardens of London,” featuring the Chelsea Flower Show May 17-24, 2014. This eight day excursion will tour many unique places in London, including Windsor Castle and the Hampton Court Palace. This incredible experience also includes tickets to the members-only opening day of the 101st Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show and a private gala dinner hosted at the RHS flagship garden, Wisley in the world renowned GlassHouse.
The Chelsea Flower Show is the most prestigious show in all of Great Britain. It is most associated with the royal family, who attend opening day every year. Join this cultural tour of Britain to visit Windsor Castle, take a locally-guided panoramic tour of London and choose the perfect spot from a menu of the city’s great restaurants. Stroll the gardens of Hampton Court Palace, favored home of Henry VIII. Visit Kew, home of the Royal Botanic Gardens - truly one of the world’s most impressive horticultural collections and so much more!
This trip of a lifetime includes round trip air from the Buffalo International Airport, air taxes and fees/surcharges, hotel transfers and hometown pickup from the Botanical Gardens to the airport, all other travel, admissions/tickets, hotel accommodations, six breakfasts and three dinners. Trip itinerary includes: Day 1: May 17 - Overnight Flight to London, England. Day 2: May 18 - Tour Begins - This horticultural adventure begins in London, the cosmopolitan and historic capital of Britain. This evening, guests will enjoy a welcome dinner with your fellow travelers and representatives from the RHS. Day 3: May 19 - London - This morning, see the quintessential sights of London with a local guide. View Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the changing of the guard and some free time to explore. Day 4: May 20 - Chelsea Flower Show – May 20 is the members only opening day of the famous Chelsea Flower Show and trip goers are invited to this prestigious event. Enjoy full access to the extensive variety of gardens and plants on display. Day 5: May 21 - Hampton Court - Discover the wonders of majestic Hampton Court Palace. Chat with Henry VIII and other royals from the Tudor family at this living museum. Listen as they captivate you with their stories as you explore one of Britain’s most important historic buildings. Lose yourself in the world-famous yew tree maze which consists of over half a mile of winding paths. Stroll in the riverside formal gardens and be transported through five hundred years of royal history. Day 6: May 22 - Kew Gardens - Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, a 300-acre site that houses one of the world’s great collections. Explore the iconic Victorian Palm House or tour Kew Palace, former home of George III. Day 7: May 23 - Windsor Castle - Wisley - Step into the formal world of the British Monarchy when you visit the stately and expansive Windsor Castle. Guests will then travel to Wisley, a stunning 60-acre estate. As the flagship garden of the RHS, Wisley houses an astounding array of common and exotic flora. Enjoy an exclusive RHS gala dinner at this world-renowned garden. Day 8: May 24 - Return home with memories and photos to last a lifetime.
Join us for a complementary informational meeting on September 23 at 7:00pm to talk with a representative from Collette Tours, learn more about the sights you will see and find out the benefits of traveling with a local group. This no-obligations meeting will take place in the new administration building at the Gardens. RSVP for the meeting and be entered to win a door prize! Please contact Christina at the Botanical Gardens at 716.827.1584 ext. 219 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
London trip tickets are, $4,099 per person for double occupancy and $5,199 per person for single occupancy until November 17, 2013. Rates after November 17 are $4,299 per person per person for double occupancy and $5,399 per person for single occupancy. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.buffalogardens.com or call 716.827.1584 ext. 219. The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Society, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing appreciation for and knowledge of plant life and its connection to people and cultures through its documented living plant collection, historic conservatory, education, research and exhibits.