Jim Charlier

  • Garden Tourism
  • Garden Walk Buffalo
  • How to Start a Garden Tour
  • Great Gardens of the U.S. and Europe 
  • The Buffalo-style Garden, Gardens with Art
$100 local. Out of Buffalo Niagara, negotiable. Travel outside a 30-mile radius by car subject to mileage expense of 55.5 cents per mile. Other travel arrangements and overnight accommodations expenses to be determined.
Contact Information
Call me at 716-884-3274, or email me here.

Website | Social Media
 Topic Descriptions
  • Garden Tourism
    One of the tourism industry's fastest growing segments in size and scope is a surprising boon to a region's image as well as neighborhood improvement and invigoration -- and has an impressive economic impact
    . See by example, Buffalo's burgeoning horticultural tourism industry including garden tours, bus tours, Open Gardens, contests, speaking events, garden education, a garden art sale, and more. About one hour.
  • Garden Walk Buffalo
    See and hear how a block club garden tour with 28 gardens became America's largest garden tour -- an event called, "the best of its kind" -- with 380+ gardens and an estimated 55,000 visitors. Presentation includes photos of Buffalo gardens that have appeared in more than 40 national publications including Fine Gardening, Martha Stewart Living Online, Horticulture, Garden Gate, Great Backyard Gardens, Real Gardens, Better Homes & Gardens' Garden Ideas and Outdoor Living, and more. Along the way there are garden tips gleaned from Buffalo's gardens. Garden Walk Buffalo map handout. About one hour.
  • How to Start a Garden Tour
    Practical tips on starting a garden tour, or taking your current garden tour to the next level. Subjects covered include soliciting gardens, finding sponsors, creating maps, promotional materials, press releases and press kits, websites, social media, event planning, setting up a headquarters for the event, insurance, partnering with a visitors' bureau, survey/research collection, and more. Handouts included. About an hour. Private consultations, as a marketing professional, available for individual groups based on an hourly rate of $100/hr.
  • Great Gardens of the U.S. and Europe
    Extensive travel has garnered images and anecdotes from botanical, residential, palatial, experimental, artistic, classic, famous, and fun gardens from around the U.S. and Europe. Chelsea, Disney, Alcatraz, Lurie, Giverny, Keukenhof, Sissinghurst, the Vatican, Longwood, and dozens more, create a whirlwind of desire to get out and explore the world's gardens.
    About an hour.

  • The Buffalo-style Garden, Gardens with Art
    There's English-style gardens, Japanese-style gardens, French Baroque-style gardens, Cottage gardens and more. The Atlantic Magazine coined the term "The Buffalo-style garden" as a standout style of gardening unique to Western New York State. A Montreal garden writer suggests it is the first and only true garden style to emerge from North America. What is it? It's a garden infused with reclaimed, found or re-purposed art, grassless front yards, informal bountiful expressions of a non-professional gardener's interest and passions. Be led through gardens from around Buffalo Niagara and find ways to incorporate what you learn so you can create your own Buffalo-style garden. About one hour.
Technology needs
I will come prepared with an Apple Keynote presentation on a MacBook Pro laptop, and all appropriate connectors to work with any standard projector. I will also bring a back-up projector. I would require an outlet/multiple outlet surge protector for power for both projector and laptop. A screen or blank light wall is fine in a room that can be made appreciably dark.

Past Presentations
  • America in Bloom Symposium & Awards, San Luis Obispo, California, 2016. Tourism from Beautiful Home Gardens: Generating tourism revenue with Minimal Investment
  • Garden Tourism Conference, Toronto, Ontario, 2015. Panel participant on The Value of Tourism Awards
  • Garden Tourism Conference, Toronto, Ontario. Gardens & Tourism: A Match for Success March 18 &19, 2013
  • University at Buffalo Gender Institute - Buffalo Gardens Symposium
  • Buffalo & Erie County Public Library - Gardening Week
  • Center for the Study of Art, Architecture, History and Nature - "Imagine" Series
  • WNYS Landscape & Nursery Association - Plantasia Lecture Series
  • Western New York Hosta Society
Published Articles & Interviews

 My Garden has appeared in:
  • This Old House Magazine, "Small Wonder." an eight-page spread, June 2017, see online version here.
  • Buffalo Spree Magazine, "Chic Shed," June 2017
  • Garden Gate magazine, "How to create curb appeal," August 2012
  • The Buffalo News, "New Ideas from Creative Gardeners," August 5, 2016 with accompanying online slideshow.
  • Real Gardens, "Vine & Dandy," Summer 2012
  • Backyard Solutions, "Avoid Costly Mistakes," Spring 2012
  • The book, Garden Up!, Susan Morrison and Rebbecca Sweet, "Fruit Trees for Gardens of Every Size, Dwarf Columnar Trees," Cool Springs Press, 2011
  • The Buffalo News' Buffalo Magazine, "It's Winter, It's Buffalo, Grow Something Indoors," February/March 2011
  • Fine Gardening, "Spice up the night," August 2010
  •  Horticulture, "Walk This Way, Hometown Pride Blooms at Garden Walk Buffalo," June/July 2010
  • Great Backyards, "Attention to Details," 2009
  • Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Nation's largest garden tour is about to bloom in Buffalo," July 2008
  • The book, Garden Walk Buffalo, Written by Elizabeth Licata, with photographer Don Zinteck, and designer Jim Charlier, Buffalo Heritage Unlimited, 2006

I’m no great gardener. I’m no great writer either. I’m not even a good photographer. But I like gardens, I like design, I like to travel and like to share.

From 2006 to 2012, I was president of Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest garden tour in America – with more than 400 open gardens throughout a walkable portion of the beautiful city of Buffalo. These creative urban gardens are open the last full weekend of July each year. Garden Walk Buffalo attracts 60,000+ attendees from around the U.S., Canada, and abroad every year. In addition, I currently chair the Marketing Committee for the group.

Garden Walk Buffalo, and dozens of Buffalo gardens, have been featured in national publications and websites from my media relations efforts – Better Homes & Gardens specialty publications, Martha Stewart Living online, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal, TheAtlantic.com, Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Garden Gate magazine, Great Backyard Gardens, Backyard Solutions and many other magazines, websites and newspapers.

I am also vice president of Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara – a garden tourism series of activities and events including 14 weekend community garden tours, a garden bike tour, garden-themed bus tours, a garden art sale, 90 Open Gardens on Thursdays and Fridays throughout Western New York, and specialty garden-themed tours of Buffalo's East side and Buffalo's sustainability efforts. I was a co-founder of The National Buffalo Garden Festival, which merged with Garden Walk Buffalo in 2015, creating Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara.

There are dozens or partners helping to make these events happen and I work very closely with the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, the NYS Certified Nursery & Landscape Association, the District 8 Federated Garden Clubs, and most importantly, Visit Buffalo Niagara.

I own my own advertising design business, JCharlier Communication Design, since 2000, having spent my "formative years" in adverting agencies in Buffalo and briefly, in Rochester, NY.  My work (logos to print advertising to TV spots) have been honored with local, regional & national awards and have appeared in major industry publications.

I am the fortunate recipient of the Advertising Club of Buffalo's David I. Levy Award recognizing outstanding achievement and service in the communications industry with a distinguished record of achievement over an extended period of time, which includes contributions to his/her company, the industry and the community.

I  have organize annual portfolio review events for the college & university design and advertising students throughout Western New York on and off since 1986. I am a three-time past president of the Art Directors Club of Buffalo – organizing events such as a Contemporary U.S. Poster Design Exhibition, organizing a live painting event with caricaturist Phillip Burke and dozens more. I was also directly involved with the local advertising awards shows (in its many forms & titles) for 22 years in a row. I'm tired now.

I accepted an international tourism award on behalf of the National Garden Festival – the Garden Tourism Promotion of the year award from the Garden Tourism Conference in Toronto in March of 2013. The Conference is held by the International Garden Tourism Network.

As an advertising designer, my regional clients include Horizon Health Services, Marrano Homes, Buffalo Seminary, UB Law, Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, Eye Care and Vision Associates (ECVA), Niagara Distillery, and and dozens more.

I am also Vice President of the Board of the Graycliff Conservancy and chair of the Marketing Committee for Frank Lloyd Wright's Graycliff Estate, a house museum in Derby, NY. I am also on the Marketing Advisory Committee of the region's tourism bureau, Visit Buffalo Niagara. I'm also a member of the Marketing Committee of Urban Roots Community Garden Center, the nation's first cooperative garden center.

Garden Walk Buffalo–click on image to buy the book!I've designed & produced a 120-page coffee-table book on Buffalo's gardens with writer Elizabeth Licata and photographer Don Zinteck. Other books I've designed include Nickel City Chef, Buffalo's Finest Chefs and Ingredients; The Buffalo Philharmonic, the BPO Celebrates the first 75 years; and AUDieu, Buffalo Says Goodbye to Memorial Auditorium.

I've been told that I am the country's second leading garden tourism expert – by the country's leading garden tourism expert, Richard Benfield. Mostly, he says, because there is no one else. I've written a book jacket endorsement for his book – the only book ever written on garden tourism – titled Garden Tourism

I've given talks about garden tourism and consult with gardening organizations from around the country to help start, or further develop, their own garden tourism marketing. I have presented twice at the International Garden Tourism Network's North American Conference.

I like to think I've taken my years of experience in advertising and PR and used these powers for good, promoting the image of Buffalo, NY that I see (as opposed to using my powers for evil – not that I haven't done that too!) I will not stop until Buffalo is recognized nationally as a great gardening destination. Wish me luck.

Want more? Read these interviews from Buffalo Spree magazine and Buffalo Rising Online.

To see what I do when I’m not doing what I do, visit JCharlier.com.