Healing Garden Construction Starts

Posted on July 31, 2014 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Society, Inc. in collaboration with D’Youville College School of Pharmacy and Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, part of Catholic Health and the 2014 Leaf a Legacy project is creating an outdoor Healing Garden at the Botanical Gardens after two years of planning.

On the heels of the National Garden Festival 2014, this garden is becoming a reality. The LEAF a Legacy project represents the evolution of the National Garden Festival’s Front Yard Contest, allowing local landscapers to join together annually in a non-competitive environment to give a facelift to a public space within Frederick Law Olmsted’s system of parks and parkways. Because of the generosity of time, materials and manpower, Plant WNY kicked off construction of this meaningful project earlier this week.

This garden will be a place for spiritual healing, meditation and reflection where visitors can enjoy the simple healing power of the natural world. The Healing Garden is made possible by the generous support of Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, part of Catholic Health and is an ongoing project that will be completed next spring.

A special thank you to: Mercy Hospital, part of Catholic Health D’Youville College School of Pharmacy, Plant WNY and the National Garden Festival



Corpse flower ready to bloom at Botanical Gardens

Posted on July 29, 2014 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

on July 28, 2014 - 5:50 PM

Visitors to the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens are about to find out just how stinky Morty – the corpse flower – can get.

The flower, one of the largest in the world and extremely rare in a public setting, is expected to bloom over the next 10 days, emitting an odor compared to rotting flesh.

“We are all cautiously optimistic about what is going to happen,” said Erin Grajek, marketing director for the Botanical Gardens.

Additional hours are planned for the increased attendance that would typically show up for special displays with sweeter scents.

“There’s probably still a 7-year-old in all of us who think gross things are entertaining,” Grajek said.

The corpse flower – its actual name is amorphophallus titanium – only blooms every six to 10 years, which makes the occasion rare enough. Making it an even rarer occasion is that only around five bloom annually worldwide because so few are in captivity.

Jeff Thompson, the horiculture director – with the added title of “undertaker” for the duration of Morty’s blooming – said the plant, which resembles a “big, gnarly potato,” is 51 inches tall, growing at a rate of 5 inches a day and expected to reach 6 to 8 feet tall. The potatolike part of the plant currently weighs 120 pounds.

The bloom typically lasts 24 to 48 hours, and the scent of rotting flesh lasts about 12 hours.

The corpse flower is one of three the Botanical Gardens obtained in early July. They are native to the rain forests of Sumatra, Indonesia, and are difficult to grow, requiring warm, humid greenhouse conditions.

The plant also eventually sends up a leaf that is the largest in the world, rising to 30 feet. The leaf typically lasts for two weeks before going dormant for years.

“We’re very excited about having this plant here, We’ve all talked about it for many years, and it just so happened that we got three of them. Hopefully, in the future, we can do something like this again,” Thomson said.

The @mortystinks Twitter account will update daily photos and information on the plant’s status. Updates also will appear on the Botanical Gardens’ Facebook page. The name “Morty” could be short for either “Mortimer” or “Morticia,” Thompson said of the plant, which is both male and female.

In Pittsburgh, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens set one- and two-day attendance records when its corpse flower named “Romero” – for legendary horror movie director George Romero, who filmed “Night of the Living Dead” in Pittsburgh – drew more than 12,000 visitors over a two-day period last August – 9,200 on the first day alone.

Those attendance figures would shatter Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens’ attendance records over a similar time frame, Grajek said.

“The large size, the awful smell and the limited time of the bloom all contributed to the corpse flower’s unprecedented success at Phipps,” said Joe Reed, Phipps’ interactive markeing assistant.

“For me, the most exciting thing of all as to see people lined up by the hundreds to see and learn about a plant. There really is nothing else like it for public gardens.”


Morty the Corpse Flower

Posted on July 28, 2014 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

In early July 2014, the Botanical Gardens acquired three Amorphophallus titanum tubers and one is set to bloom. Corpse Flowers (its common name), are native to the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia and are famous for their horrible smell, like rotting flesh, while in bloom. Corpse Flowers can bloom every 6-10 years, making it a rare sight to see and smell!

Like many Corpse Flowers living at botanical gardens, ours has a name, Morty. Corpse Flowers can be quite challenging to grow so Morty’s “Undertaker”, Jeff Thompson, Director of Horticulture and our horticulture team are making sure it has the right conditions to thrive in our environment.
It is hard to predict when the plant may bloom but our best estimate of bloom time would be within ten days. Growing quickly, the bloom can grow about two to eight inches a day and can grow six to eight feet tall. When it finally blooms, the flower, and its accompanying stench, lasts only 24-48 hours.
Amorphophallus titanum is in the Arum family. The bloom or leaf come from the part of the plant called a corm. A corm is an underground tuber, a swollen plant stem that is a storage organ for plants. A corm is similar to a true bulb. This large structure looks like a big potato and according to his Undertaker; Morty’s corm weighed approximately 120 pounds when it arrived.
Morty will be on public display inside the Botanical Gardens and depending on the bloom, will be on display through August.  During its short bloom the Botanical Gardens plans to have extended hours. After it flowers the plant wilts and the stench fades. When not flowering, it will send up a green leaf structure.
Visitors can receive updates on the plant, extended hour information, fun facts, and its blooming stage on the Gardens’ Facebook page and through Morty’s Twitter Account @Mortystinks - “like” and “follow” to get regular updates. Use hashtags #corpseflower and #buffalogardens when posting!

Posted in corpseflower

Ransomville couple still married after all these (60) years

Posted on July 15, 2014 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

Buffalo News
By Shawn Campbell | News Staff Reporter
on July 14, 2014 - 7:47 PM
See more photos here!

Shirley Metzler could only smile. She had wondered why a white limousine pulled up to her home in Ransomville earlier in the day. The drive to the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens puzzled her, too.

But by around 3 o’clock Monday afternoon, it all added up.

“We are here for a reason,” Metzler’s husband, Melvin, told her as they sat at a table for two inside a greenhouse.

Before Shirley knew it, Melvin, dressed in a black suit, was down on one knee, grasping her right hand and popping the same question he asked so long ago.

Sixty years to the day after the couple said “I do,” Melvin got another “yes” from the love of his life.

The re-engagement wasn’t the only anniversary surprise, though.

Seated in front of a gazebo outside the greenhouse were more than a dozen family members, including the couple’s four daughters, ready to watch Melvin and Shirley Metzler renew their wedding vows.

“By the authority vested in me by the State of New York, I do now declare they are husband and wife ... still,” said Town of Porter Justice Wayne Pollow, drawing a round of laughs amid the touching ceremony. 

After receiving the cue, the new groom kissed his new bride, rekindling some memories of July 14, 1954, in San Diego. 

Two of Melvin and Shirley’s daughters live in Colorado and made the trip to Western New York for the special day. Monday also was the 35th wedding anniversary for their daughter and son-in-law, Melody and Tim Curry, of Ransomville.

The Metzlers, who own a small farm in Ransomville and have lived there for more than 40 years, have eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Since retirement, they have enjoyed travelling in their motor home.

“We just came back from Florida ... because I knew this was happening; she didn’t,” Melvin said.

Shirley never saw it coming.“It was a big shock. He didn’t tell me much of anything – just that we were going out to dinner,” she said as Melvin chuckled away. “Then the limo pulled up. I have never been in a limo. I said, ‘This must be for somebody else,’ but it was for us. ... The whole thing was a surprise.

”Melvin grew up in Bellefonte, Pa., before his family moved to Niagara Falls. A four-sport athlete at Trott Vocational High School who once had plans of playing professional baseball, he is a member of the Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame. He served in the Navy and was stationed at San Diego when he married the former Shirley Taylor, a native of Bergholz. She met Melvin after she broke up with his best friend. (The men did remain close friends.)

When asked what the secret to a strong marriage is, Melvin and Shirley initially responded with one word each.

She said tolerance; He said love.  She liked his answer better.  “Love, that’s the main thing,” Shirley said. “And respect for each other. You’ve gotta have love. I can’t imagine life without him – I really can’t. It’s been a great ride.”


Enjoy outdoor gardens every day of the week at Botanical Gardens; if it rains, see exhibits inside

Posted on July 09, 2014 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

Enjoy outdoor gardens every day of the week at Botanical Gardens; if it rains, see exhibits inside

Posted on
July 8, 2014

gazebo at Buffalo Botanical Gardens

Explore the outdoor gardens at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

coleus showpiece at Buffalo Botanical Gardens

Check out the coleus showpiece. Perhaps you can take this idea and do it on a smaller scale in your garden. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofo

by Connie Oswald Stofko

Do you realize you can visit gardens every day of the week in Western New York?

There are garden walks as part of the National Garden Festival every weekend through Aug. 2.

Open Gardens continue on Thursdays and Friday through the end of July.

And each day you can visit the outdoor gardens of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo.

I think a lot of visitors to the Botanical Gardens walk in the front door and never realize what they’re missing outside.

There are lovely flower beds lining the front walkway, but step off the sidewalk and stroll to your left. You’ll find paths and a gazebo and sunny gardens and shady gardens.

One area is designated as the Bicentennial Peace Garden and commemorates two centuries of peace with Canada. The wonderful relationship we have that nation is something to be treasured. It’s a quiet, meditative spot where you can rest and relax.

colorful containers at Buffalo Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens brings the outdoors inside during the celebration of Coleus and Color Show. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

Of course, if it rains, there’s plenty to see inside the Botanical Gardens.

The Celebration of Coleus and Color, sponsored by, continues through Sunday, July 27. In addition to the outside gardens, you’ll see spectacular displays inside. We gave you a preview of some of the coleus plants that are used as well as tips on creating containers. Now you can see the finished pieces.

For the kids, there are indoor and outdoor children’s gardens as well.

See all that the Botanical Gardens has to offer– outdoors as well as indoors.

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