A Tiverton: The Crowning Glory of a Bird Condo

Earlier this year, we had a booth among the talented painters, glass blowers and jewelry designers at Clothesline Festival in the Memorial Art Gallery. This Rochester show features 400 artists from New York State and has been running for nearly 60 years.
One of the highlights of attending craft shows is talking to the people who wander into our booth, showing them some of our favorite products, listening to their feedback and hopefully sending them away with a birdfeeder or a planter that will bring them years of enjoyment.
This year, one of these people we met was Mary Ellen Dangler and she took the time to write to us and share a photograph of her Tiverton in its new environment – as the crowning glory at the top of her family’s bird condo! Impressive, right?
Sadler Garden Collections
I wanted to share with you a few kind words from Mary:
My husband and I love watching birds and for years we had a 14 to 15 foot tree stump to which we attached several bird houses. Over the years vines covered it, surrounding the houses. Last year in a violent storm, the base gave way and it all came crashing down. We were devistated. The birds and their families gave us wonderful entertainment. Our neighbor suggested a tower to replace our fallen stump. We discussed options and came up with our new bird condo. It was built in the fall of 2013. Over a weekend the couple next door, my husband and I errected the new bird condo. We attached the old repaired houses and a couple of new ones. Unfortunately, my husband and I could not decide what to place on the top of the bird condo. After almost a year, we found our condo’s crowning glory: The Tiverton bird house from Sadler Garden Collections! It looks wonderful and completes our creation with style and function. Thank you!
– Mary Ellen Dangler from Rochester, New York
Thank you, Mary! We hope the Tiverton will make a happy home for your feathered friends.
We love feedback, so if you have a Sadler Garden Collections piece of your own, send us your photos. You can reach me at Sadlergardencollections@aol.com or pop over to Facebook or Instagram and tag us there. 

Fence Around the World: Part 2

Here is part two of the fence around the world blog. I had a few responses from part one including from one person who played a little game of trying to figure out which country the fence was from before scrolling down to the text…give it a try.

These pictures have been taken over many years and in many countries. My appreciation for fences and barriers goes back to my childhood when I helped a neighbor to stain his wood fence with Creosote. I liked the smell as well as the new looking fence. Of course, Creosote is banned today and has been replaced by pressure treated lumber. I still remember the smell even 50 years later.

I went to work in the PVC fence industry in about 1982 and have continued my appreciation for all types of fence and barrier designs, taking pictures whenever possible.

If you consider a fence to be a barrier, it can include walls, gates, railings, balconies, hedges and just about any material that forms a barrier.


 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: A dry rock wall, very common in places with rocky ground conditions. I found this wall in Greece surrounding an olive grove. The ground is so rocky that digging one hole to install a fence post could take several hours. These rocks were probably dug up by the farmer as he tended his land. I imagine the generations before him probably started the wall many years ago.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: This is one of the most economical wooden fences on the market today; usually applied in areas subject to snow drifts. In this case, it is helping to stop sand erosion in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It’s made from a combination of twisted wires and wood slats assembled on a weaving machine and supplied on rolls. The posts are pounded into the ground and the fence is nailed, or stapled, to the post as it is unfurled. Some of the fence is already buried under the sand.


 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: A combination of concrete and steel, artistic and functional as a barrier, this one in Mogotes, Colombia, was part of a bridge to prevent vehicles from driving off the edge.


 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: One leaf of a double drive gate, highly decorative and hanging from a stone pillar, this is the entrance to Java Joe’s coffee plantation on the big island of Hawaii. We ventured in there for a taste of the famed Kona coffee.

“The fence that makes good neighbors needs a gate to make good friends.”

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: This is a bamboo railing system. I am highly involved in training contractors in the US on the correct ways to install code approved railings; so I was curious when I spied this unusual railing in Mogotes, Colombia. Made completely with bamboo, it was actually incredibly rigid, as well as naturally aesthetically pleasing.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the World

Photo: Tulsa, Oklahoma. the American fence industry had a school where installers learned various aspects of installing a variety of fence materials. Here the team are assembling a PVC fence. The instruction included how to assemble, how to follow a sloped terrain, how to field fabricate when needed and general best practices of installation. I was the instructor at the PVC station for many years and enjoyed teaching the students tips and techniques of installation. 


 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the World
Photo: A pigeon is dancing between the grid bars of the shadow of a security gate. The gate is located in Wellington, New Zealand at the Te Papa cultural center.  


 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the World
Photo: Beware of the dog down under! Melbourne, Australia was the location of this steel gate giving one plenty of warning that Rover was on the other side. We didn’t test fate; we took their word for it that the dog was there.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the World
Photo: Can’t remember exactly where this one was taken, but I sure wouldn’t want to try to climb over it!

“Love your neighbor as yourself; but don’t take down the fence.” – Carl Sandburg

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: Auckland, New Zealand. This beautiful ornate, wooden newel post was part of a small railing around a café. It is by far one of the most decorative railings that I have seen in my travels.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: Speaking of railing, this is also quite decorative. Six duplicated balusters side by side. This was on the island of Naxos in Greece.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the World
Photo: A common sight in Naxos, Greece, are precast aluminum designs incorporated into railing systems. It adds quite the regal look to the balcony.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: Still in Greece, this one was taken on the outskirts of Athens. This fence company was a little short of ground space to set up their displays, so they went overhead and were able to exhibit a lot of different styles.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: You know you have a strong railing system when everything around it deteriorates! This is a common sight in Greece; some houses are just falling down and the house next door is immaculate. It adds to the character of the place!

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: On the outskirts of the beautiful Dartmoor National park in England are many small market towns. This shot was taken outside Tavistock. It is a rolling fence made from Larch Lap panels and lattice topper. The climate is quite damp as the moss on the fence will attest.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: Not such a damp location for this one; in fact, quite the opposite. This arch with gates is on the Island of Santorini in Greece.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the World
Photo: This picture was taken south of the Mason Dixon line while I was working in the area. This shows a pretty severe case of cribbing, when a horse chews the wood fence. I think they are sharpening their teeth and like the texture of the wood. Maybe a horse person could give a better description of the practice. This fence is in dire need of maintenance.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the World
Photo: Back to Greece again for these beautiful gates! The design incorporates the mythological dolphins. It is said that the souls of the dead were taken to the Fortunate Isles on the backs of the dolphins.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: This was taken at the end of the week long fence school which had finished for another year. Some of the students wanted to be remembered, and were invited to install their company signs on the fence that the teams erected. Each of the safety helmets on top represents a team or a group of seven students; the white one was for the instructors.

It is amazing how many barrier pictures I have in my collection, and it was very hard to pick the best ones for this blog. I hope you have enjoyed seeing some different styles from what you are used to. I leave you with these quotes:

It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on, sometimes what matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions.” – Jim Rohn

“Silence is the fence around wisdom.” – German proverb

Fence Around the World: Part 1

As I travel for my day job and for personal vacations, I always have my eyes open for – you’ve guessed it – fence. I thought I might share some of my pictures with you since I have been collecting them for a while. I have also added some fence related words of wisdom!

A fence is a barrier, along with walls, railings and gates. I have addressed a few of them in this post.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the World

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhotos: Where best to start the tour but in our own back yard? Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, has some of the oldest fence in the country. This is a painted wood fence with a matching gate.

“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.”– Robert Frost

What is a fence to you? Is it a barrier to keep things in or to keep things out? Is it to hide a bad neighbor? Is it an enhancement to your property? Are you surrounding a swimming pool? Or is it for security? Is it just something that was put there before you bought the house?

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the World  Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhotos: This elegant gold plated iron fence and gate system was found at historic Kensington Palace in London, home of numerous British monarchy including Princess Diana from 1981 until 1997.

“The grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, but you still have to mow it.”– Proverb quotes

Everybody has different fence needs. The one thing a fence will always do is change the look and character of your property – mostly for the better.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: This rustic looking  garden fence and arbor uses various tree branches to achieve the look the homeowner was after. We visited the home and gardens that were open to the public near Queenstown, New Zealand.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: A wall is also a barrier to distinguish border lines. This dry stone wall with its beautiful red flowers was captured in Alyko on the Greek island of Naxos. There, the soil is so rocky that rock walls are better to use than a fence that has to be installed in the ground.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: This whitewashed concrete wall  just outside of London, England, is enhanced by the decorative accent and big pillars, lending a beautiful backdrop to the purple flowers. 


 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: This ancient iron fence was found guarding a tomb in Wales. The rust has almost eaten through the iron rod. I wonder how old this fence is?

“The fence around a cemetery is foolish, for those inside can’t get out and those outside don’t want to get in.” –Arthur Brisbane (1864 – 1880)

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: We found this one inside the Se Cathedral in Portugal, built in 1147 and rebuilt in 1700 after an earthquake. This is part of an ornate iron gate. Imagine the work that went into creating the decorative tips of the curled iron.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: This decorative iron fence was mounted on the edge of the El Tajo cliff in the ancient city of Ronda, Spain, protecting visitors from plunging 100 meters below.

“He sat on the fence so long that the iron has entered his soul.” – David Lloyd George

 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: This is one of my favorite shots of an old wooden gate. It is only a walk gate, but upon further scrutiny there is an amazing amount of detail and craftsmanship shown.


 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: The beautiful Greek island of Santorini housed this wooden lattice barrier. It was installed to hold back the wind and painted white to match the rest of the structures in the town of Oia.


 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: Colombia, South America, was the home of this unusual fence built into a brick wall. I managed to take the picture as we were driving past it.


 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: On the Big Island of Hawaii, I found this ornate gate that serves as a drive gate as well as a walk gate. The owner of the property was also the owner of Big Island fence company, so I imagine he had the equipment required to design and build such a pretty gate.


 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: This one was in Louisiana. After Katrina had ravaged the area, the tides had risen so high that the fence was submerged. As the water receded, certain items were prevented from being swept out to sea by the fence.


 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: Well, it’s not a fence exactly, but some creative New Zealander decided to make a sheep out of barbed wire and 3/8″ wire. Looks like it would work well for a full size chia pet!

“Careful as a naked man climbing a barbed wire fence.” – Cowboy Proverb


 Sadler Garden Collections - Fence Around the WorldPhoto: Lastly I am adding one of my own installations from the 90s; it’s a PVC fence, the type of fence that is gaining in popularity due to its low maintenance attributes. PVC fence will be around for a long time. When I installed this one, everything was white. Now, there is an array of colors and textures to choose from.  

So, that is the end of this blog, but I have a lot more interesting pictures to post, so there will be a part 2 coming soon! I will leave you with one last fence quote, this one from Will Rogers (1896 – 1935):

“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”

In the next blog, I will write a little about a fence school as well as the fence convention.

The Rest of the Story…..

If you missed my last blog post “PVC: A Modern Material“, it explained the early history of my career in the PVC industry.

I had always had a desire to design products for the company, but not everything I created fit into our business model. Lawn and garden products were my specialty, but not everything could be sold through the complicated layers of distribution and be cost effective; so I focused my efforts on the bigger ticket items that the market desired.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVCPhoto: The square top trellis was a popular product that became the base piece for a concept called “one to grow on” where a variety of other products could be added to the trellis to create different formations and products.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVCPhoto: Three trellises together formed a nice screen on which to grow  flowering vines.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVCPhoto: An arch on the top changed the look completely.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVCPhoto: Using the same concept, we designed a lamp post with decorative wings.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVCPhoto: As well as a beautiful entrance to a garden, the two hoop arbor was a huge success.

PVC or Poly Vinyl Chloride was still a “new” product in most people’s minds back in the 80s and suggestion of maintenance-free was, and still is, the big selling point. It was a good time to design and develop new products.

In 1993, I opened a small hobby/craft business that focused primarily on wood products, which I sold at arts and craft shows. The business was named “Across the Miles” due to the old English influence in some of my creations.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVCPhoto: The Tiverton, a combination bird house and bird feeder, was the first product that we went to  market with as Across the Miles. It was very plain with an oiled roof and body. In later years we added the white gable with the Tudor design and a variety of  painted roofs. 

Eventually, the wood product sales were overtaken by the vinyl product sales, so I spent more time designing vinyl items that would fit into my garden accent model. These included bird feeders, bird houses and planters in all shapes and sizes. We had a pretty wide ranging portfolio of products.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVCPhoto: Our first PVC design: Using the inside of the body as a container, we produced our first tray feeder, a simple design with a hook and chain for hanging and four open sides for filling with seed.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVC

Photo:  A little while later we came up with our first tube feeder. This features a 3″  heavy duty acrylic tube running through the center that contains the seed. Holes in the bottom of the tube allow for seed flow. We kept the same “gothic” cutout design as the feedback on it was positive. 

You never know when an opportunity will arise, and you never know where it will take you; at least I didn’t.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVCPhoto: The infamous Butterfly house features our signature roof design as well as a PVC ground stake that elevates the house to the level of the flower bed and prevents ground rot of the wood. One side panel lifts up for cleaning and viewing. The design is still alive and well and featured on our Etsy website.

My opportunity came from a local nursery when the owner asked me to make him a butterfly house. It would have been great if I’d known what a butterfly house was, but I didn’t, so I had to research it and come up with my own design, which of course included a vinyl ground stake. Luckily enough, he liked my version and bought more for his shop.

A friend saw the design and offered it to a mail order company who put it, as well as my nesting box in their catalog. I ended up on the front cover with both items and was overwhelmed with orders for the butterfly houses; producing them was all I had time to do.

I worked all day in my “real job” and at night, I would produce handcrafted butterfly houses by the score, my wife would wrap and pack them and it was all we could do to keep up with demand. The demands on my time were enormous and I was missing my children growing up.

At the time, I wanted to make vinyl products, but the butterfly houses were taking over. After I made over 2,000 of them, the mail order company went out of business which hit me pretty hard financially and emotionally. I was so into the mode of producing Butterfly houses I thought it would never end. After the mail order company closed down I couldn’t get my steam back up, so after some soul searching I ended up closing down Across the Miles.

I must have PVC in my blood, because I had a strong desire to keep designing and producing new items.

So, fast forward, I am now getting close to retirement and have another chance at my own business. So two years ago, I opened up the craft business again. This time, it is called Sadler Garden Collections. I wanted to start the business so that I have a project to retire to. It will take a few years to slowly establish a business plan, but more importantly it will give me something to look forward to in retirement.

Sadler garden collections logoPhoto: This time I have a lot of support from the family, which is why the business is called Sadler Garden Collections. My son-in-law, Jorge Rodriguez,  designed our new logo. The bird is sitting on the branch of an olive tree with a single olive hanging on the branch. This is for my love of olives. A  future blog post will talk about my olive picking adventures.

I still have my line of wood products, like bird houses, bird feeders and, yes the butterfly house, but I now offer more variety than before and I primarily sell on line through my Etsy shop.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVCPhoto: One of our many stenciled nesting boxes. We have 15 to 20 shown on our Etsy website at any one time. I build the boxes and my wife applies the stencils.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVCPhoto: Our best selling nesting box last year was the white body, red roof, and black Tudor design

I also have my enhanced line of bird feeders, bird houses and planters made from vinyl or rigid PVC.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVC
A bluebird house made entirely from PVC.

Photo: Our newest product line is a collection of bluebird houses, made to specification using all PVC. Our supplier has an amazing array of colors that we use for the body; the roof is PVC, but we paint it a variety of colors to complement the body. These new bird houses can be found on our website.

My products have been well received online as well as at the handful of craft shows where I have exhibited with the help of my son Colin Sadler. This website was designed by my daughter Stephanie Sadler.

I am looking forward to a bright future even in retirement. I still have a head full of ideas that I have yet to try to make, but one thing is for sure – there is no moss under my feet.

So, pour a coffee, put your feet up and check out or websites or read one of my other blog post to give you a better idea of who is designing and making the products and who you are purchasing them from.

In future blog posts, I will discuss the products in more detail. Thanks for taking the time to read this blog, and please feel free to leave a comment. You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.

PVC: A Modern Material

PVC and me – A brief history:

I have decided to focus my upcoming blog posts on PVC and my connection to it. It has played a huge role in my life, so I want to share my experiences and how I work with it.

This post will talk about my history using the products and how my experiences have gotten me to where I am in my career today.  In future posts, I will address fabricating and designing products and I will describe how I make some of my products.

In 1980, shortly after arriving in America I found a job working in a factory that was once used by the famous Wurlitzer Company of organ and jukebox fame to produce player pianos.

Unfortunately for me, I was not producing anything as elaborate or romantic as the player piano, but instead garden accents such as wooden lawn furniture, chairs, tables, benches and picnic tables. I developed a passion for working with wood and became a hobbyist.

Unfortunately for me again, the business could not sustain itself and I found myself out of work.

In 1982, the owner of the old company announced that he had found a new material that was going to revolutionize the lawn and garden industry. That material was PVC, and that was the beginning of a whole new world for me. Over the last 30 years, PVC has played a major role in my life, sustaining my family and I.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVC History

Photo: This is where it all began. The model 479 ladder was the first item we produced in PVC. This was followed by the 479 HR or high rise.

If this were my resume, I would say that my experiences in PVC were:

  • Learning to heat and form it to produce ladders for above ground swimming pools.
  • Fabrication of arbors, trellises, planters, gazebos, sign post and mailbox posts.
  • Designing and manufacturing fence, deck and railing products.
  • Customer service, marketing, installation and application training.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVC History

Photo: Having the ability to bend plastic allowed us to expand into the lawn and garden industry with some unique products, such as arbors, trellises and gazebos.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVC History

Photo: There was even a product line dedicated to my name!

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVC History

Photo: As we grew the business, things got a little more elaborate (and we could afford colored pictures).

I have worked in all aspects of the PVC industry, and today as I start to wind down and prepare for retirement, I am looking forward to designing and producing products of my own. My company is Sadler Garden Collections, and I am preparing my portfolio for the future.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVC History

Photo: The 1980s were good years to grow the PVC business. People were ready to purchase maintenance-free items that only required the occasional cleaning and no painting.

In the 1967 classic movie The Graduate, when Mr. Robinson (Murray Hamilton) said to Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), “One word Ben…Plastics”. I wonder if he knew just how big the plastics industry would become.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVC History

Photo: One of my personal favorites was the Aristocrat arbor with and without seats. I initially designed this to be the entrance to a booth for a show that we were participating in. Several thousand of these sold through mail order catalogs and garden product distributors. They were also a nice addition to a vinyl fence gateway or entry.

Of course, there are many different kinds of plastics used today, but the primary one that I use is called rigid PVC or Poly Vinyl Chloride. Here is an overview of how it is made:

PVC is produced through a process called extrusion, which is similar to icing a cake, whatever the shape of the tip, is the shape of the icing, and the icing is basically a few ingredients mixed together that will flow through the tip, or in our case the die. That’s an incredibly simple explanation for what is actually a complex operation with a whole host of quality checks .

The ingredients in a PVC extrusion are mixed in the same fashion, but they include items that will enhance the product to work in the environment that you want to use it in. For example, I want my products to be used outside and to withstand the elements without breaking down, fading, or needing to be painted, so I use a good quality fence/railing grade material.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVC History

Photo: We branched out into the residential fence market around 1984, and were one of the originators of the industry. There are now PVC fences in just about every town in the USA. It took a while, but the majority of the public are now aware of PVC fencing. Above are some of the first residential styles.

Resin is the base ingredient in a PVC extrusion, and added to that are other ingredients such as impact modifiers to keep the product pliable without cracking, and titanium to prevent fading from the UV rays. Other ingredients prevent chalking, enhance gloss and help it to flow through the extruding machine.

Fortunately for me, I have an excellent supplier for my extrusions who is very progressive and way ahead of the PVC technology curve.

As a hobbyist I see the extrusions as hollow shapes that make perfect containers for use as bird feeders, bird houses and containers to hold and grow flowers. I attach decorative post caps to the top and bottom to enhance the look of the product.  Each piece is fully functional and has all the attributes of PVC: easy to clean, never need painting, will not rot, fade, splinter or allow insect infiltration and will last for many, many years. What more could you want from a product?

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVC HistoryPhoto: I utilize the inside of the extrusion as a holder for seed, plants, and nesting birds. Product shown is the Gothic Tray Feeder.

The current portfolio for Sadler Garden Collections includes: commercial and residential planters, sign posts, decorative mailbox posts, and an array of smaller items such as bird feeders, flower planters, bird houses and lawn sign holders.

 Sadler Garden Collections - PVC HistoryPhoto: My lawn sign. We are expanding the product line to include garden accents.

All of my standard products can be found online at www.myretirementgig.etsy.com.

I also offer custom designs. Whether it is a variation of one of my standard products, a color change or something completely different, I will be happy to give you my best response to your request.

So, 30 years on, I have seen the industry evolve from plain white shiny vinyl to a full color pallet with textures, and variegation. It’s the next generation of products, and I am still passionate about it.

Testimonial: A Red Roofed Tudor Birdhouse and Its Resident Bird

From our new series of Tudor-style birdhouses, this red-roofed piece found a home with Susan M. from NJ. She said:

“My new birdhouse looks just lovely sitting atop its new home. We now have this one male sparrow who guards it day and night. He sings for a mate every day, but so far he’s had no takers, poor lil bugger. I wish the goldfinches or cardinals would nest in boxes, but alas we can’t have everything we wish for, eh? Thanks again for your talent.”

Here’s a photo of her birdhouse. Note that she decided to enlarge the hole and created a stand for it:

Susan-Manzo-photo - Sadler Garden Collections

This birdhouse is made from western red cedar and finished with oil based red and white paint for durability and weather protection. The Tudor design is also western red cedar with an ebony finish. The side door opens for occasional cleaning. This is one of our most popular nesting boxes.

You can find this one as well as a selection of stenciled designs and plain/oiled with painted roofs on our Etsy site.

If you have purchased a product from Sadler Garden Collections, why not send us a photo or two so we can see how it looks? You can email them to sadlergardencollections@aol.com and we’ll post them on our blog.

Continuing the Walk: Gratwick Riverside Park, North Tonawanda – Part 2

I found this little gem of a place a few minutes from home. It’s Gratwick Riverside Park,  and it’s located on the shores of the Niagara River before it tumbles over Niagara Falls. It’s amazing that such a naturally beautiful place is in our own backyard, but we rarely go there. How many of you live near some popular place but rarely visit? We take it for granted that it will always be there and only go there when we have visitors from out of town!

I do like to visit the park though and try to make it a habit to walk its length and back again for some exercise and inspiration. I am adding a few pictures that I have taken recently while strolling along the shore.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Riverside Park, North TonawandaPhoto: Bulrushes in the sunset with Niagara Falls in the distance. 

 Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Riverside Park, North TonawandaPhoto: I live so close to the park that when I see a nice sunset coming, I jump in my truck, camera in hand and go snap happy.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Riverside Park, North TonawandaPhoto: A lone gull sits on the mini break wall as the clouds reflect off the water. This shot was taken facing north west; on a clear day, the mist from Niagara Falls can be seen in the distance.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Riverside Park, North TonawandaPhoto: Such a serene place to watch the last light of day.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Riverside Park, North TonawandaPhoto: This is our Arches tray feeder hanging in the curly willow tree. It’s made from top quality PVC and it’s very affordable, functional and long lasting. The park is one of my favorite spots for taking product shots.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Riverside Park, North TonawandaPhoto: Of course, if we have an Arches PVC tray feeder, it stands to reason that we must also offer an Arches PVC planterThis one shows real plants directly installed in the body of the planter. We also filled this with artificial plants to show its versatility.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Riverside Park, North TonawandaPhoto: Sometimes the sun is blinding as it shines off the water, like a mass of gold coins,  along the shore I find lots of driftwood full of character and different shapes.

 Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Riverside Park, North TonawandaPhoto: So, at the end of a perfect day, my arms full of driftwood, my camera full of beautiful scenes, and my head clear and focused,  I walk back towards home as the sun says its final farewell.

How lucky we are to have such a gift as Gratwick Riverside Park at the bottom of our street.

Testimonial: Speedy Shipping

Just after Christmas last year, we received a nice message from a happy customer:

“Hi Pat! I got the bird feeder on Christmas Eve and had it out Christmas afternoon 🙂 It’s beautiful and the birds are already making themselves at home! Thank you so much for the speedy shipping!”

Sadler Garden Collections Photo: Our gothic tray feeder is the product that Keri chose for her Christmas gift. See this and more on our website.

We’re always happy to hear some positive feedback from our customers! Thanks Keri!

This year we have a great shipping record; most orders go out next day. Don’t leave it too late for those Christmas gifts though, especially going west of the Mississippi.

It’s also good to remember is that most of our products are one of a kind, so it’s a case of first come first served. Not that we can’t make more, but they might not be ready for Christmas.

If you have purchased a product from Sadler Garden Collections, why not send us a photo or two so we can see how it looks? You can email them to sadlergardencollections@aol.com and we’ll post them on our blog.

Testimonial: The Workmanship on an Arches Tray Feeder

One of our customers, Emily Houston, bought an Arches style tray feeder earlier this year.

Sadler Garden Collections

It’s a product inspired by my childhood visits to the Five Arches in Albany Park, Kent, in England. The River Cray flowed through the arches and I used to spend time feeding the swans in the upper river. They are still there today, a different generation I imagine.

Emily has been enjoying her feeder and sent us the following feedback:

“It fits just perfectly! Love it!!! The chickadees are delighted.

Attached is a picture. I will take another photo in the spring when the roses are blooming and the lemon thyme is about the base of the post.

Thank you again, your workmanship is lovely.”

Thanks Emily!

If you have purchased a product from Sadler Garden Collections, why not send us a photo or two so we can see how it looks? You can email them to sadlergardencollections@aol.com and we’ll post them on our blog.

Appreciating The Little Things: Gratwick Riverside Park, North Tonawanda – Part 1

How many of us really appreciate our surroundings? We get so wrapped up in our day to day existence, spending time on social media and other time absorbers, that we don’t always “take time to smell the roses” or any other flowers for that matter.

I am one such culprit, or should I say, I was one such culprit.

I live in an area that is rich in tourism: Niagara Falls, New York.  It’s known as the Honeymoon capital of the world. A twelve minute drive from our house has us overlooking the Horseshoe Falls and Niagara Falls, Canada. About six minutes and we are at Love Canal, but we won’t go there!

The water flows past our area first before taking the plunge over the Falls.

Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Park, North TonawandaPhoto: A gull sits on the rock enjoying the sunset as the mighty Niagara River flows towards the Falls

The Niagara river flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario along approximately 35 miles of the US / Canadian  border. Around the halfway point, the river flows past Gratwick Riverside park, North Tonawanda, about a 10 minute walk from our house.

Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Park, North TonawandaPhoto: We get to enjoy some beautiful sunsets from the park.

Gratwick Riverside park, which because of my heritage I offer call Gatwick (after the London airport) Park is located on the banks of the Niagara River. It has become a very popular area for cyclist, walkers, people watchers, dog walkers, model airplane enthusiasts, kite fliers, fishermen, photographers, concert goers, boaters and me. Yes, I have just discovered this rich treasure.

Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Park, North TonawandaPhoto: There are a variety of grasses and small berry bushes along the shore.

It is about a 1 mile walk along the shore and it is rich in nature, from swallows nesting in the boxes installed by a birding group, to bullrushes, curly willows, ducks, fish, thistle, dandelions, and pampas grass, to name only a few.

Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Park, North TonawandaPhoto: Thistle, at the end of their lives add to the beauty of the shore. 

Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Park, North TonawandaPhoto: One of my favorite shots, the delicate dandelion silhouetted against the sunset.

Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Park, North TonawandaPhoto: Hanging from the curly willow tree is our New England Gothic planter with real plants. I can often be found on a Sunday morning setting up in the park and taking pictures of new products.

I have also found riches on the shore, yes! I’ve found driftwood that I collect, dry, and use to decorate my bird feeders, bird houses and Little Free Libraries (more about these in a future blog).

I gather up the bark-free, smooth sticks and branches, as I wonder how long they were in the water and where did they come from? Some may have come from as far away as Lake Superior, or Lake Michigan, or even Lake Huron. They may have been flowing with the river for decades. It’s a mystery that I will never solve.

I do like the character of the wood though. It is rounded, free from bark and smooth. It has a distinct look to it.

I gather up what I need and transport it back to my workshop, where I dry it out and then apply a coat or two of finishing oil to protect it from future elements.

Once the driftwood is dry I use it to build my combination bird feeders and bird houses. The driftwood adds character to my finished products and helps to give them an original look.

Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Park, North TonawandaPhoto: Our rustic Tiverton bird feeder and bird house combination. This one has a new owner in Park City, Utah, but don’t worry, I can make more! 

Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Park, North TonawandaPhoto: This rustic Tiverton is looking for a home. It is made from western red cedar and driftwood; the driftwood and the cedar are oil finished for durability. This one also includes our signature roof design. 

Go explore your surroundings; you might be surprised at what you see because, as my daughter says, “It’s the little things that make the difference.”

Sadler Garden Collections - Gratwick Park, North TonawandaPhoto: Most people relate the Buffalo area to snow, but we also get some fantastic sunsets. Enlarge this shot and look at the cloud formations!