Walk around the landscape on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning, and you will notice a small but mighty group of volunteers tending to the more than 27,000 square feet of planting beds. There are two individuals leading the charge, and this month we shine a light on their dedication.
Susan Perlow and Rosanne Stolzenburg are the volunteer co-leaders of our Landscape Committee, taking on this challenge with commitment, friendship, and a shared love of the Martin House.
Settling in Buffalo after attending the University at Buffalo, Susan and her husband Steve had toured the Martin House many times over the years – often introducing the Martin House to visiting friends and family. After retiring as a speech pathologist, Susan was looking for a volunteer opportunity “that would spark joy.” While on the Parkside Garden Walk a few years ago, she learned that the landscape renovation was about to begin, and she was all in. Fast forward to today, and Susan serves on the Volunteer Leadership Committee in addition to her role on the Landscape Committee.
“I have learned an incredible amount about the care of plants, and I have made it my mission to learn every plant in the landscape,” said Susan. “Rosanne and I often quiz each other as we do our walk-throughs of the gardens each week.”
Born and raised in Buffalo and an alumnus of Canisius College, Rosanne has lived in Western New York her entire life. The Martin House became a part of her story more than 20 years ago when her late husband Keith joined the board, becoming an important member of the team charged with overseeing the restoration project. His respect and enthusiasm for the Martin House and its “people” was contagious, and soon Rosanne was involved. She joined the Landscape Committee six years ago, and was honored to take on a leadership role last year.
“The work in the gardens is fulfilling, always changing, and at times challenging,” said Rosanne. “But as it blooms, the landscape is breathtaking. The complimentary design of the landscape to the buildings slowly comes into focus, just at Wright planned.”
Both Susan and Rosanne credit the informed and dedicated members of the team who share their talents and appreciation of the landscape and the estate. Caring for the historic landscape that spans the 1.5-acre site is a big undertaking, and the two friends truly enjoy working together.
They also share a love of animals and volunteer for the SPCA Paws for Love program. Susan participates with her therapy dog Izzy, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. And Rosanne’s Portuguese Water Dog, Larkin, is a trained therapy dog and yes – he is named after the Larkin Soap Company.
These Wright fans consider the Martin House “the architectural jewel of Buffalo,” and their commitment will play a valuable role in the growth of the historic landscape over the coming years.
Thank you to Susan and Rosanne for your tireless commitment and never-ending smiles as you dig in the dirt!
Connect with us if you are interested in learning more about all of the volunteer opportunities at the Martin House.