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The Garden Walk Guide Fresh air, flowers and friendly neighborhoods ?come together in one of our favorite summer pastimes

If strolling through other people's yards, meeting gardeners and enjoying some fresh air sounds like fun, you need to set aside some time for a garden walk or tour this summer.?Or, perhaps, a dozen or more of them.?Tours in our region – including the nationally acclaimed Garden Walk Buffalo – are usually self-guided, often free and offer an endless opportunity for learning, sharing and getting motivated.

Most of the tours listed here are part of the third annual National Garden Festival (nationalgardenfestival.com), June 23 to July 29. It includes garden-themed bus tours, seminars, speakers, an Open Gardens schedule for visiting gardens on Thursdays and Fridays, and a front-yard garden contest on Crowley Avenue.

Many tours are still in the planning stages, so keep an eye on the Garden Notes listings in The News' Friday Home & Style section for updates.

The best part: It begins soon and lasts all summer long.

Can you dig it?

> Coming in June

:* The annual Shaw Garden Tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 9 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. Eight gardens will be featured, including one with artificial turf. Master gardeners will be on hand. Tickets are $20; call the Shaw Festival Box Office (800) 511-7429. All proceeds are donated to the Shaw Endowment Fund. For more information, visit shawfest.com/gardentour.

* The seventh annual Lewiston GardenFest, sponsored by the Lewiston Garden Club, offers activities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 23 and 24 along Center Street. The free event features open gardens in the village, daily speakers, master gardeners, soil testing, vendors and a potted container contest. Pick up maps at the hospitality booths. Visit lewistongardenfest.com.

* The 15th annual Parkside Garden Tourwill take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 24. Tour maps are available at Church of the Good Shepherd, 96 Jewett Parkway (a minimum $5 donation is suggested). It's presented by the Parkside Community Association. Residents can register their gardens until June 14. Visit parksidebuffalo.org for application form and information on the tour and other events happening that day, including an audiovisual presentation by Steve Cichon on the history of Parkside (free) and a neighborhood walking tour by George Stock ($10 per person).

Also that day, the National Garden Festival will present its first Buffalo-style Garden Art Show in nearby Delaware Park at the Lodge on Parkside Avenue.

* The annual Village of Williamsville Garden Walkwill take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 30. Maps to the free event can be picked up tour day at the Village Meeting House, 5658 Main St., Williamsville. Merchants are throwing a sidewalk sale as well. To register your garden, send an email to: kpoules@village.williamsville.ny.us or call 632-4120, Ext. 3010.

* The Jamestown Audubon Center and Sanctuary's Secret Gardens Tourof five private gardens is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 30. Tickets are $10, presale; $12 day of tour. For more information call 569-2345 or visit http://jamestownaudubon.org/. A new feature this year will be the garden walk, a bonus self-guided walking tour of four gardens visible from the street on the north side of Jamestown. A brochure with the walking tour route will be available at each of the Secret Gardens.

> Coming in July

:* The 10th annual Snyder-CleveHill Garden Viewof about 25 private gardens and public spaces is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 8. Suggested donation: $3.

* The eighth annual Lockport in Bloom garden walk will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 7 and 8. This free, walking/driving tour features more than 45 historic homes and public gardens throughout the City of Lockport. Information and maps can be found tour days at event headquarters – the Kenan Center, 433 Locust St. Visit lockportinbloom.com for further information, where maps will be available two weeks in advance.

* Eight gardens on Grand Island will be open during the Historic Trinity Ninth Garden Tour scheduled from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 14. Tickets ($15) and maps are available the day of the tour at Historic Trinity Church, 2100 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island. Presale tickets ($12) are available before July 12 by calling 773-2421 or 773-4946. Proceeds go for the preservation of the Gothic Revival country church.

* The Village of Hamburg Eighth Annual Garden Walk will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 14 and 15. The event is free, and map guides will be available at Memorial Park, corner of Lake and Union streets, Hamburg. Garden vendors will be in the park both days. Visit hamburggardenwalk.com or call 648-7544.

* The Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk, now in its 11th year, is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 14 in the neighborhoods surrounding University at Buffalo South Campus, including University Heights, Buffalo, Eggertsville and Amherst. The event is free and will feature about 60 private gardens and public spaces. Visit ourheights.org/gardenwalk for more information and entry form.

* The Historic Niagara Falls Garden Walk is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 14. Starting point is Park Place and Main Street, Niagara Falls, where you will find maps. Maps also can be picked up at the Orchard Parkway entrance at Main Street. For information on entering, etc., call Rick Crogan at 534-1546.

* The Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension's master gardeners will hold their fourth annual garden tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 14. Featured will be an eclectic group of seven gardens in the west side of the county plus the newly established Honor Garden at the Orleans County 4-H fairgrounds. Tickets are $10. For information call (585) 798-4265 or email: mgorleanscce@gmail.com. Website: cceorleans.shutterfly.com.

* South Buffalo Alive's Annual Tour of Gardens will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 15. This tour showcases the gardens of South Buffalo and the Old First Ward. On tour day, you can pick up a map ($2 donation) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tim Russert Children's Garden next to the Dudley Library on South Park Avenue. See SouthBuffaloAlive.com. Gardens can be registered until July 7, online or by calling Marge Ryan, 826-3158.

* The third annual Town of Amherst Garden Walk will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 21. Those interested in exhibiting their gardens can download an application at www.amherst.ny.us. Or send an email to Gardenwalk@amherst.ny.us or call 631-7032. Deadline is June 30.

* Now in its 10th year, the Ken–Ton Garden Tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 21 and 22. Select illuminated gardens also will be featured in an evening tour from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. July 21. The event is free. Gardeners in the Town of Tonawanda and Village of Kenmore can register their gardens online for the first time at KenTonGardenTour.com, the tour committee's new website. Deadline is June 8. Applications also are available at the Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Ave., Kenmore, in the town supervisor's office.

* Lancaster Garden Walk is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 21 and 22 throughout the village and town. The event is free; programs will be available July 19 at Two Chicks & a Rooster, 732 Aurora St., and Petals to Please, 63 Central Ave., Lancaster, as well as online at www.lancastervillage.org/gardenpage.htm. Still want to enter your garden? Forms are available on the website, to be returned by next Friday.

* St. James Church and Landmark Society of Genesee County Home and Garden Tour will take place from noon to 4 p.m. July 22. Ten gardens will be featured, with some homeowners opening their first floors as well. A dessert reception, garden talk and door-prize giveaway are planned from 4:15 to 5 p.m. at St. James Church, 405 E. Main St., Batavia. Tickets are $20. For more information, call Marcia Gann at (585) 343-8218.

* A West Seneca Garden Walk is tentatively scheduled for July 21 and 22. For more information, email sharonpulinski@yahoo.com. Or keep an eye on Garden Notes in The News' Friday Home & Style section for further details.

* Garden Walk Buffalo gets under way from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 28 and 29. This free, self-guided tour of more than 370 urban gardens attracts tens of thousands of visitors. Gardens of every variety are located in clusters within a 3-mile radius. The three headquarters (for maps, information, etc.) are: Richmond-Summer Senior Center, Richmond Avenue and Summer Street; Buffalo Seminary, 205 Bidwell Parkway, and Evergreen Health Services (formerly AIDS Community Services), 206 S. Elmwood Ave., corner of Chippewa Street. Plenty of information is available on the website, gardenwalkbuffalo.com.

> Coming in August

* The eighth annual Black Rock & Riverside Tour of Gardens is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 4. The free, self-guided tour averages 70 gardens. The Starry Night Garden Tour will keep visitors garden gazing from 8 to 10 p.m., in about 20 gardens. Residents can enter their gardens at brrgardenwalk.com; deadline is June 5. Maps will be available for downloading and mailing in July. Additional information also is available on the website.

email: smartin@buffnews.com