Garden tour season takes off in less than a week, with gardeners in communities throughout the region opening their landscaped properties to visitors from near and far. Most of these are part of what formerly was called the National Garden Festival, which launched in 2010 and was named winner of the 2013 International Garden Tourism Promotion Award. In 2014, the National Garden Festival and the enormously popular Garden Walk Buffalo – now in its 21st year – combined efforts to promote gardening in Western New York under the Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara name.
Its summer 2015 events kick off Friday and include much more than the self-guided, often-free weekend tours listed on Page F5. Events range from garden-themed art sales, an Artists & Gardens Exhibition, Motorcoach tours, plant classes, a Beyond Flowers Sustainability in Action Tour on Aug. 1 and the East Side Momentum Tour Aug. 8. Open Gardens is back, too, during which private gardens are available for viewing on a particular day at a particular time. Learn more about Open Gardens and everything else happening with Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara at gardenwalkbuffaloniagara.com.
Nor are the weekend garden tours just about the gardens. It’s a chance to explore villages and towns you are not familiar with, meet other gardeners and set aside time for lunch and shopping.
Weather is always a popular topic – including how winter took its toll on many gardens, especially in hard-hit communities.
“Most plant material will rebound, however the ornamental trees I believe are what most people thought was the biggest loss,” said Marge Ryan, who coordinates the South Buffalo Alive garden tour.
A few tips for tourists: If maps are available early, grab one and plan your route. Bring a notebook and camera. Wear comfortable shoes. Don’t forget sunscreen, water and sun/rain umbrella.
And if the daytime heat gets to you, check out an evening tour. For a list of summer 2015 walks and tours, see Page F5.
Whether you want to be inspired by gardeners, get some exercise or simply postpone your weekend chores, a garden tour or walk is the way to go. Below, you will discover that there are many from which to choose. Most are self-guided; many are free.
In some cases, residents (possibly even you) still have time to enroll gardens in a community tour. Note, too, that planners are still finalizing details. Tours with updated information will run close to their scheduled dates in the weekly Garden Notes column that appears in the News’ Home & Style Friday sections. Many walks and tours also are on Facebook.
Coming in June
• The 10th annual Shaw Guild Garden Tour of eight gardens will take place in Old Town Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Tickets, $25, are available online at shawfest.com/gardentour, where you will find brief descriptions of the featured gardens and a map. Tickets also are available through the Shaw Festival box office, (800) 511-7429.
• The sixth annual Bikes in Bloom in Clarence Center starts Saturday and continues through August in the areas of Clarence Center and Goodrich roads and surrounding neighborhoods. Bikes will be decorated with flowers and other embellishments and displayed in full view. Maps can be picked up after June 15 at the following Clarence Center locations: the Perfect Gift, Bank of Akron, Clarence Center Coffee Co. & Café, Yours Truly, Gertie’s restaurant and Creative Essence. The event is sponsored by Meet in the Center Merchants Association.
• The 10th annual Lewiston GardenFest includes a free walk of residential gardens and a festival along historic Center Street from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 20 and 21. The festival features daily speakers, demonstrations, a container garden contest, soil sample analysis, questions answered by master gardeners and members of the Hosta & Daylily and Bonsai societies and vendors selling flowers, plants, garden decor and more. GardenFest is presented by the Lewiston Garden Club. For schedule and other information, visit lewistongardenfest.com. Maps will be available at hospitality tents set up at 411 and 493 Center St.
• Tour some of Buffalo’s gardens on two wheels at the GObike Buffalo City Garden Tour by Bicycle event 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 20. The cost of $30 ($25 for GObike Buffalo members) includes a box lunch. Registration required. Call 218-7161, or reserve at gobikebuffalo.org.
• The one-day Parkside Garden Tour, now in its 18th year and presented by the Parkside Community Association, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 28. This is a walkable tour of more than 40 gardens, with the starting point at Church of the Good Shepherd, 96 Jewett Parkway, where a garden map/directory will be available for $8 ($5 after 3 p.m.). In addition, a separate guided History and Architecture Walk will begin at noon with another at 2 p.m.; cost is $10. Visit parksidebuffalo.org for more information and to register your garden (enroll by June 19 to be listed in the tour map/directory). Attention shoppers: The Garden Art Sale will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the same day at Parkside Lodge in Delaware Park, with vendors offering garden and garden-related art. See gardenwalkbuffaloniagara.com.
Coming in July
• The 14th annual Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk of more than 70 private gardens and public spaces is planned from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 11 in the University District of Buffalo, Eggertsville and Amherst neighborhoods surrounding the University at Buffalo’s South Campus. The event is free. Maps will be available tour day at the UB Anderson Gallery, 1 Martha Jackson Place, off Englewood south of Kenmore Avenue, and the University Community Farmers Market, Main Street at Kenmore Avenue. UB’s Office of Community Relations will provide a free shuttle service. Visit ourheights.org/gardenwalk for more information and an entry form; deadline is June 20 to be included on the garden walk map.
• The Amherst Garden Walk is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 11. Residents can enter their gardens through June 20 on the town website at amherst.ny.us. Maps to the free walk will be available closer to the event at Menne Nursery, 3100 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst, and Arbordale Nurseries, 480 Dodge Road, Getzville. On tour day, they will be available at 111 Campus Drive West, Snyder.
• The 11th annual Lockport In Bloom will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 11 and 12, in conjunction with the City of Lockport’s 150-year celebration. The free, walking/driving tour features about 40 historic homes and gardens, including public parks. In addition, a Twilight in the Garden walk is scheduled for 6:30 to 9 p.m. July 11 only. Maps/brochures can be picked up tour day at the headquarters at the Kenan Center, 433 Locust St., Lockport, by the Taylor Theater. Maps also will be available closer to the event at various local businesses. That’s not all: the Lockport in Bloom Garden Fair with vendors is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both tour days at the Kenan Center. For map availability and other information, visit lockportinbloom.com.
• The 11th annual Buzz Around Hamburg Garden Walk will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 11 and 12. Maps for this free event will be available at the Memorial Park Band Stand, corner of Lake and Union streets, Village of Hamburg. Garden vendors will be in the park both days. For more information, visit hamburggardenwalk.com or call Marg Rust at 648-7544. Village residents can enter their gardens using the application on the website; deadline is June 12.
• The Master Gardeners of Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension will present Down the Garden Path Tour: A Healthy Garden Walk July 11. Price is $10 per person. Participants will take a walk through a section of the Village of Medina looking at local gardens and historical highlights. Details are still in the works and will be available at cceorleans.org.
• The 13th annual Snyder-CleveHill Garden View is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 12; approximately 25 private gardens and public spaces in the Snyder and Cleveland Hill neighborhoods will be open for viewing. Tour-day headquarters with maps is in front of Trillium’s Courtyard Florist, 2195 Kensington Ave., Snyder, at Darwin Drive. A $2 donation is suggested. For questions, email email@example.com.
• The City of Tonawanda Garden Walk of more than 35 gardens is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 18. A Friday Night Lights tour will take place from 9 to 11 p.m. July 17. The event is sponsored by the City of Tonawanda Board of Visual & Performing Arts in conjunction with the Garden Club of the Tonawandas. Applications are available at cityoftonawandaartsboard.com/garden-walk; deadline is June 8. Applications also are available in the mayor’s office, Tonawanda City Hall and Kohler Pool. Maps will be available in late June in the mayor’s office, the Recreation Department, the senior center on Main Street, the public library and at local businesses. Visit ci.tonawanda.ny.us.
• The 13th annual Ken-Ton Garden Tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 18 and 19. In addition, the Night Lights evening tour of illuminated gardens will be held from 8:30 to 11 p.m. July 17 and 18. Gardens are located in the Village of Kenmore and Town of Tonawanda. Residents can register their gardens until 5 p.m. Friday. Tour day headquarters is at the Aquatic and Fitness Center, 1 Pool Plaza, Tonawanda. The event is free. For more information, visit kentongardentour.com.
• Grand Gardens of the Niagara Portage will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 18, with headquarters to be set up at Oakwood Cemetery, 763 Portage Road, Niagara Falls. The event features tours and expert speakers throughout the day at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center’s Schoellkopf Park, Oakwood Cemetery, Niagara Falls Public Library and the Niagara Arts & Cultural Center. Free trolley service will be available. The event and venue parking are free, but donations are appreciated. For more information, visit myoakwoodcemetery.com.
• The 12th annual Village of Williamsville Garden Walk is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 18. Maps to the free event can be picked up tour day in front of Village Hall, 5565 Main St. Deadline for garden registration is July 1. For an entry form, visit walkablewilliamsville.com. Or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Village Hall at 632-4120, Ext. 3009. New this year: a fairy garden contest open to the public, which will be set up at the new Pocket Park next to Village Hall. To register, visit the website.
• The Lancaster Garden Walk of about 50 residents’ gardens throughout the Village of Lancaster and Town of Lancaster is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 18 and 19. An evening tour of about eight to 10 illuminated gardens is scheduled from 8:45 to 11 p.m. July 17. An application is available online at lancastervillage.org/gardenpage.htm. Applications are due by Tuesday. Tour-day headquarters include: Two Chicks and a Rooster, 732 Aurora St.; Petals to Please, 5870 Broadway, and Mimi’s Central Perks Cafe, 27 Central Ave.
• West Seneca Garden Tour will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 18 and 19. Those interested in entering their garden can contact Dave or Sharon Pulinski at 824-3995 or email email@example.com. Deadline is June 26; about 25 gardens are expected to be open. Maps to the free tour can be picked up in early July at Mike Weber Greenhouses, French Road near Clinton Street, West Seneca, which will serve as tour headquarters.
• The 15th annual South Buffalo Alive’s Tour of Gardens showcasing more than 50 gardens of South Buffalo and the Old First Ward will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 19. On tour day, you can pick up a map from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tim Russert Children’s Garden next to the Dudley Library, 2010 South Park Ave. Suggested donation is $2. See southbuffaloalive.com. Gardens need to be registered by July 3 by calling Marge Ryan at 826-3158.
• The 21st annual Garden Walk Buffalo, which this year has a record-making 400-plus gardens and attracts some 60,000 visitors each year, swings into action from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 25 and 26. Touring the gardens is free; no ticket required. There’s a free shuttle, too. On tour days, there are three headquarters: 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. History, photo gallery, updates and more can be found at gardenwalkbuffalo.com.
Coming in August
• The 11th annual Black Rock & Riverside Tour of Gardens will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 1. The event is free and features more than 50 gardens. The ninth annual Starry Night Garden Tour of about 20 illuminated gardens takes place from 8 to 10 that evening. The daytime headquarters for maps, posters, T-shirts, caps and visors: St. Mark’s & All Saints’ Church, 311 Ontario St., and Buffalo Religious Arts Center, 157 East St. Maps also will be available in July at area businesses, by calling Councilman Joe Golombek’s office before the event at 851-5116 or by downloading at brrtourofgardens.com.