Small but mighty gardens of Buffalo’s Cottage District

Ever bemoaned your lack of space? Felt uninspired by a tiny urban lot? What do other gardeners do with small, urban lots? In Buffalo, they move right our of the backyard and into the front using verticality, hanging baskets, side yards and even creating beauty in the hell strip when they’ve run out of growing area.

These Adirondack chairs were polished to such a high gleam you could almost see your face in the mirror of their shine.

Do you think your garden is too crowded? Naah.

Ever wanted an urban garden behind a white picket fence? Can you see the clematis clambering along it?

For this Oklahoma gardener whose planting area encompasses about an acre and who has seven and half more to expand (if only I weren’t human), it was humbling to see what the gardeners of the Buffalo Cottage District could do do with their postage stamp sized lots.

The color wheel set to bright made this home one of my favorites.

I bow to their ingenuity and sheer ability to pack in yet one more container and create such a delightful effect.

Pocket sized container in the postmistress's back garden.

As Pam from Digging pointed out while we walked into a miniscule backyard of one of the gardens, the diagonal paths made the gardens seem larger and more spacious.

Repetition of color and color echo were other ways to draw the visitor’s eye around the lots. The gardeners we met were very proud of their gardens, neighborhood and fair city. They asked us to spread the word that Buffalo needs to be known for more than snow.

Check out that hedge perfectly clipped with scissors. Also, don't miss the purple bird houses and window boxes.

We met several of the gardeners, and two from the cottage district in particular were very interesting. They were both women, and one had two daylily clumps in her front bed which were the largest clumps I’ve ever seen. They were surrounded by a boxwood hedge she trims with scissors because she’s unable to lift power tools. We chatted, and she said her husband planted the garden nine years ago before he passed away. After his death, she humbly said she became its caretaker. She is so much more.

The sideyard. Notice the small containers. We southern gardeners were lamenting how those wouldn't work in our climate because of our heat and dryness.

The second woman was the retired postmistress. I’m not sharing her name because she might not want that. Her garden was an exuberant mix of cottage style plants and tiny, artistic details like these containers. Because Garden Walk Buffalo is such a popular tour every year (opens in two weeks for those visiting then), she’d mounted a “before and after” board which showed the garden and her home’s progress.

Got color?

Oh, and if after seeing these, you want to paint your house a vibrant color, I say go ahead if your partner and your homeowner’s association agree. Life is too short not to express oneself with color.

It was all so charming just like a cottage district should be.


  1. The Buffalo gardens have me drooling. Wish I could have seen them in person but I’m getting my Buff envy from the pictures. Yikes, my garden needs work. Loved the cute picture of you that Pam took!

  2. mary says:

    I am late seeing these, but sure enjoyed them. I was in Buffalo just weeks before, and so wanted to stay for the garden tours when I read about them. Next time I go visit my daughter we will have to coordinate our visit to include Buffalo gardens!!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Mary, I didn’t realize your vacation was in Buffalo. What a nice place it is, and yes, it is too hot for words. Stay cool.~~Dee

  3. susan harris says:

    Dee, it was great seeing you in Bufftown! I’m one of your biggest fans. Hugs, S

    Honey, you know I’m one of your biggest fans too. Every time I rip out another piece of the lawn, I think of you with affection. 🙂 ~~Dee

  4. I really liked that ochre house, too.

    It was really cool I thought.~~Dee

  5. Layanee says:

    Beautiful photos and wonderful notes on the gardeners who created their spaces. Thanks for sharing their stories.

    Thanks Layanee, I loved seeing you again.~~Dee

  6. Carol says:

    Excellent post about a charming little street, filled with gardens and gardeners. I talked to another gardener… his house is haunted by a humming ghost. You do find out a lot about a garden when you talk to the actual gardeners.

    Like others, I found myself trying to figure out how to reproduce the intimacy of those small gardens on my suburban lot.

    Me too, Carol.~~Dee

  7. Bonnie says:

    Enjoyed meeting you and sharing the Buffa10 experience. Great photos…

    Bonnie, loved meeting you too. Debra P. never steers us wrong does she?~~Dee

  8. Each garden was a lesson in itself. I could have spent hours just in those little gardens. You’re right, I really want to paint something. I might settle for little birdhouses like the ones that lady painted. They’re so charming.

    I thought so too MMD.~~Dee

  9. noel says:


    i loved the posts you did of the event. what a special place buffalo is, who knew…thanks for sharing all your pictures of these special little homes

    Aloha Noel and thank you so much. Buffalo is getting some good press finally, and it deserves it.~~Dee

  10. Gail says:

    Dee, I had the best ever time and brought home lots of ideas to increase color in my garden~The bold houses, the creative planting and the use of whimsical pieces was inspiring. It was a joy to see you so soon after our visit in OK! xxgail~

    Hi Gail, I was thrilled to see you too, but now I will have withdrawal.~~Dee

  11. marnie says:

    I would go for a smaller yard if it was possible. Love the look of a white picket fence with flowers behind.

    What wonderful colors the homeowners chose for their houses. A riot of color in the garden and on the houses. Beautiful.

    Marnie, I totally understand. I think about it too sometimes, but then what would I do with all these plants. 😉 ~~Dee

  12. Darla says:

    Just love the colors on everything.

    Thanks Darla.

  13. Lynn says:

    I didn’t get to speak to the owner of the garden with the birdhouses and the scissor-cut hedge. The stories behind some of these gardens make them so much more, as you said.

    She was just passing through, and I nabbed her. Very sweet. Jim told me about the scissors part.~~Dee

  14. The ingenuity is definitely inspiring, and it looks like the tours have been wonderful! Thanks for sharing for those of us participating vicariously!

    Thanks for being so understanding about reading our posts since you couldn’t go.~~Dee

  15. kclily says:

    These are beautiful. I am thinking about downsizing my 1 acre of garden beds with hopes of having a beautiful yard like these.

    I completely understand. I often wonder how I will keep up with it all.~~Dee

  16. Alan says:

    I love the colorful cottages. Although somewhat loud in appearance thy certainty stand out in a crowd. Thanks for some wonderful images.

    Alan, I think I like it loud. 🙂 ~~Dee

  17. Bren says:

    I love the colorful homes and gardens to match. Beautiful shares Dee!

    Me too, Bren. It was awe inspiring.~~Dee

  18. Kathleen says:

    As the caretaker of a small garden, I am always inspired seeing what others do with their spaces. These are all great Dee. Enjoy the rest of your trip! Wish I was there too.

    Kathleen, I wish you were too.~~Dee

  19. I love little cottage gardens and thank you for sharing—truly dedicated gardeners.

  20. The Buffa10 front gardens look so cool, Dee, especially the white picket with imaginary clematis ;-]
    Wish our HOA’s weren’t such pills about fences in the front yard

    Thanks for sharing the party with us…

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  21. Laurie says:

    How beautiful each and every one is. I love seeing them Dee. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and descriptions.

    Laurie, they really were something to behold. How they managed to put so much into such small spaces and keep it all so beautiful, I just keep thinking about it.~~Dee

  22. Cyndy says:

    Dee, you’ve described perfectly the joyful enthusiasm so contagious here in Buffalo.

    Cyndy, I hope so. Words really aren’t enough.~~Dee

  23. It really is an education in color. Seeing how the colored houses work with the gardens makes me want to study it in a deeper way to get a sense of why it works. Great spending time with you Dee in Buffalo!

  24. Oh, wow! I LOVE the bright colors of those houses and their companion plants! Makes me think of Latin cultures who are not afraid to paint their houses lively colors! May we learn from them all! Inspiring!

  25. Daricia says:

    Besides the lushness and the beautiful color, the small pots did get my attention and I thought how impossible that would be in hot southern gardens. Even 16 inch pots have to be watered at least once a day here. But what a pretty place Buffalo is. I had no idea. Love all the tweets and posts from all of you up there…not as good as being there, but fun to hear about it.

    Daricia, me too frankly. It wouldn’t work where we live. Always interesting to see how weather plays in our plant and placement choices. Very green and lush here, and they say they’ve had not rain for three weeks until yesterday.~~Dee

  26. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    What a lot packed into those small lots. I love seeing these little jewels.

    Lisa, it was mind blowing.~~Dee

  27. Wow, Dee, thanks for posting while you’re still there. Those gardens look wonderful. Don’t shoot me, but I wish i had a smaller garden space!!

    Monica, I understand completely. We’re only human after all.~~Dee

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