Buffalo News – Fashion Fridays with Nellie Gardner

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Buffalo News – Fashion Fridays with Nellie Gardner

Fashion Friday: Meet horticulturist Nellie Gardner


By Susan Martin Published June 15, 2018

Horticulturist Nellie Gardner, on the grounds of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House Complex on Jewett Parkway, has a fashion style all her own. In photographs, Martin often had his hand on a tree, she said, which is why she chose this pose for a photo. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News) Name: Nellie Gardner, 60.

Who she is: Horticulturist at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House Complex, where she manages the landscape, assists in programming, and educates and coordinates “an amazing group of volunteers.” She is spearheading the landscape restoration at Graycliff, the Wright-designed Martins’ former lakeshore summer home. A gardening consultant, lecturer and workshop leader, she owns Flower Fields, a specialty cut flower farm. Her wreaths will be featured in Country Gardens, a Better Homes & Gardens publication, later this summer.

What she’s wearing: Insect-embellished chino skirt from J.Crew; yellow belt from J.Crew with a leather pouch strapped on to hold her ARS pruners; white linen sleeveless top from J. Jill; sun hat from J.Crew; five rings; two bracelets; earrings; Apple smartwatch (a gift from her son); lip balm tucked inside a skirt pocket; MUDD gloves that are now sold in the Museum Store at the Martin House (“they are soft and easy to wear”), and Bogs Urban Farmer waterproof slides she can hose off when they get muddy.

Signature pieces: Jewelry. “I have to have on at last two bracelets, and I have to match earrings to my outfit,” she said.

Fashion statement: “People think you can’t garden in a skirt or dress but you can unless you’re on a ladder. But it can’t be a flimsy skirt,” she said.

As for her far-from-sloppy approach to gardening garb: “I developed this look back when I was doing weddings and delivering flowers to florists. I was going from the flower farm to floral shops and had to look professional. There was no time to change. I had to just pick and go,” she said.

These days, she said, “the look also fits into the integral design reflected in the Martin House. I want to look like I pulled myself together. All the elements work together. I’m not going to show up in hip-high rubber boots and a cowboy hat.”

Recent purchase: A tunic. “You can wear it as a dress all day and then with leggings when it’s cool at night. Tunics are so versatile,” she said.

In the market for: “I’m always in the market for something fun and unique that fits my style. I buy it even if I don’t have anything in my closet that goes with it. It will find something eventually.”

Nellie Gardner straps the pouch that holds her ARS pruners to her belt and hangs her keys from a belt loop. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Gardner loves her MUDD gloves. The gloves are now sold in the Museum Store at the Darwin Martin House. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Her Bogs Urban Farmer slides are waterproof, offer good traction and can be hosed off when muddy. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)


Tell me about your upcoming project.

Horticultural and Agricultural Consulting, Cut Flower Growing, Problem Solving, Historical Story Telling