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Meet Our Community: Jim Charlier, Buffalo gardens advocate and garden art experimenter

Photo: KC Kratt

Let’s get to know each other!

Since we’re not able to meet up in person this year, let’s meet online. Every week we’re introducing a member* of our Fling community here and on Instagram, in their own words. We’re excited to see what everyone’s talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you’d like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)

Jim Charlier

My front garden

I consider my Buffalo, New York, garden a design lab for my garden art experiments. I’m an art director/graphic designer and spent my formative years in advertising agencies; since 2000 I’ve been self-employed. Gardening is my creative outlet, devoid of client input, opinions, deadlines, and change orders. But there’s still a budget to work within!

My artistic garden projects include a diamond-shaped dwarf pear tree espalier, a grass-and-paver checkerboard garden, a hanging sculpture with two fountains, and what may be Buffalo’s most famous garden shed, designed in the style and colors of our 1897 Dutch Colonial home.

Everything about gardening is relaxing to me: weeding, watering, trimming, digging, planning, and planting. I lose focus on everything else when I’m working in the garden. Some days I forget to eat until evening.

I started my blog, Art of Gardening, way back in the blogging frontier days of 2007, to share my own garden and those on my travels. I also showed off what other Buffalo gardeners were doing. At the time I was president of Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest garden tour in the U.S., which today features more than 400 urban gardens and 65,000 visitors. (We get more than 3,000 visitors at our garden alone.) This free annual event is always held the last full weekend of July. Because of Covid-19, Garden Walk Buffalo went virtual in 2020.

The checkerboard garden & famous shed

I created a video about my garden in the summer of covid and am co-author of the book Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs. Teaming up with Elizabeth Licata of Garden Rant, I co-planned the 2010 Buffalo Fling, which was attended by 80 bloggers from around the country. I hope you had a good time!

I also helped start a horticultural tourism group that eventually became Gardens Buffalo Niagara (GBN), now merged with Garden Walk Buffalo. I’m most proud of the fact that GBN has granted more than $100,000 to clubs and community groups for more than 100 garden-oriented beautification projects.

I learn from any garden I’ve ever visited. That’s a reason I like the Fling so much. One garden that I think heaven will be like is the Gentling Garden, which we visited during the 2012 Asheville Fling. I revisit my blog post about it whenever I’m feeling wistful and want to be inspired.


Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Jim! You can follow Jim at:

Photographs courtesy of Jim Charlier, except as noted.


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