Near-sighted camera meets colorblind gardener

A weird thing happened on my recent visit to this exuberant Buffalo garden. Almost every picture (almost every one!) was out of focus. But only in this one garden, out of 15 that day! It’s as if my camera knew that the man who’d created this particular garden had a vision impairment, and it was fuzzing out in sympathy.

Ha. In fact, the fuzzy pictures are all my fault. (Somehow, I’d set the camera for closeups. Let that be a lesson to me!) But we have no need to sympathize with the gardener, Joe Hopkins, whose creation is a masterpiece despite, or even because of, his colorblindness – which encouraged him to focus on contrasting plant textures and forms. As a result, for years, Joe’s garden has been one of the stars of Buffalo Garden Walk, which we’ve raved about before.

Do check out my fuzzy pictures. Sometimes, they have a dreamlike quality. Yeah, yeah. That’s it! Imagine it was on purpose. And if the garden looks great in all my out-of-focusness, then think how much better it looks in real life.

(Click any image for the slightly less-fuzzy slideshow – including a portrait of the garden’s creator.)

Update: Why post about Buffalo gardens on a blog called Toronto Gardens? It’s because we’re in roughly the same plant zone (USDA Z5, which translates into Canadian Z6) – though Buffalo gets a lot more snow cover – and have lots of small, city plots to cultivate. We always try to bring back ideas that will work for Toronto folk who love the outdoors. So let’s get inspiration where we can!


  1. Still, great pictures! Great composition. I got a ton of fuzzy pictures, but not because of my camera setting. I was just so excited that I couldn’t hold still. So, we’re soul sisters yet again!

  2. That was a truly inspiring garden, even before I realized that the gardener was colourblind. Definitely one of my favourites of those we visited.

    1. On its way to you, Joe. Hope it’s what you wanted. And thanks for creating such an inspirational garden.

  3. Welcome Toronto Gardeners! We do have phenomenal gardens, but much more as well: art galleries and museums; our Inner and Outer Harbors; great restaurants; and you may have heard of our baseball,hockey and football teams. But do come for the gardens. It’s not too soon for you to block off dates for next June and July, just sayin’.

  4. Truly inspirational & the gardens look exactly as Monet would have seen them, so wonderfully soft and lovely. Am definitely starting to work my plans around a trip to Buffalo for next year’s Garden Walk Buffalo.

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