Published July 23, 2021
Editor's note: Summer Hours is a photo series focusing on UB staff members who use the longer days to pursue interesting hobbies, causes and other endeavors outside of their day jobs.
On a recent warm July afternoon, Pamela Rose positions her “open garden” sign on the front lawn of her home in Buffalo’s Parkside neighborhood. She does it early, just in case. Her instincts are on target, as a family from out of town immediately comes up to say hello and take a walk through her garden, snapping photos as they go.
Gardening is like weaving a tapestry, says Rose, coordinator for web services and library promotion for the UB Libraries. She visits “every single” nursery within driving distance to look for ideas and supplies, she adds.
“I buy what I like and then bring it home and figure out what works and what doesn’t,” she says. “I garden from the time the snow melts until the time it snows again.”
Rose has been part of the Open Garden program for nearly a decade, but her passion for gardening started small, with some annuals and a small garden bed at one of her first apartments. When she moved to her current home on Woodward Avenue in 1982, she began to transform the 50-by-180-foot lot into the urban oasis it is today, filled with trees, walking paths, flowers and art.
Rose says she especially enjoys the relaxed vibe of the Open Garden afternoons that bring more seasoned gardeners to her home.
“I learn something from everybody I talk to because everyone has a different experience,” she explains.
Sophie, Rose’s 11-year-old Bernese mountain dog, is a trained therapy dog who loves visitors, too. Together, they create a welcoming environment as Rose chats about gardening and at times gifts items, such as a seed pod from her umbrella magnolia tree.
“It’s always beautiful every time you come,” says Marney Klein, from Tonawanda, who recently visited with her daughters and dog Maya.
Between visitors, Rose trims low-hanging branches, does some weeding and waters the few potted plants. She has friends who help on occasion as well, as she continues to shape the garden. They recently added more stepping stones to divide the larger backyard garden bed into three sections.
“Sometimes I’ll just sit back here with Sophie, relaxing. I’ll be looking at something that I’ve had for 10 years and I’ll be like, ‘You know what, that’s not right,’” Rose says. “I’ll go and get my shovel and ‘boom’ and it’s changed.”
Looking forward, Rose has plans to create a new sculpture, a to-be-determined bird, out of a tree stump. She is also in the process of installing a new water feature after finding a rose-tinted stone that, for her, perfectly matches her house color.
“I like vivid; I like color that smacks you in the face,” she says.
Open Gardens, organized by Gardens Buffalo Niagara, features nearly 100 gardens in the Buffalo Area that are open for select hours on Thursdays and Fridays in July.
Pamela Rose has worked at UB for 55 years. She initiated various UB Libraries events, including the introduction of therapy dogs for student de-stress days around finals. Rose has worked with Pets Alive WNY Rescue, shared her therapy dog as a reading partner for local school children and travelers at the Buffalo Airport, and volunteers as a docent at the Buffalo Zoo.