Where are the flowers at Botanical Gardens?
As a member and volunteer at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens since 2009, I have to ask: Where have all the flowers gone?
Once, the three domes of the Botanical Gardens were bright with scarlet passion flowers, purple brunfelsia and chrome yellow allamanda. The exotic scents of sweet olive, jasmine and ylang-ylang wafted through the air. These unique plants are no more.
Gardenias drop yellow leaves, palms froth with mealy bugs, hibiscus ooze with aphids. Fungus mars the orchid leaves. Even the massive prickly pear, a plant almost impossible to kill, is succumbing to a tremendous infection of scale.
Disaster is not limited to the conservatories. In the shrub garden, magnificent beech trees suffer from terminal disease. Roses struggle with black spot and weeds. A new “medicinal garden” is swampy mud.
Current fundraising appeals boast “unique and attractive exhibits” and “environmentally sustainable resources.” But common plants like coleus dominate displays and every month more toxic pesticide is applied inside the domes.
Botanical Gardens management trumpets increased memberships, visitors and event revenues, but never reveals an annual financial report. Can we ask about resources allocated to horticulture? Where have all the flowers gone?