By Jeffrey Tooke
Despite the harsh, frigid winter we endured, a lot has been happening to prepare for this year’s upcoming gardening season. Garden Walk Buffalo is the largest free garden tour in America. This year’s event, July 25 and 26, will be the 21st annual tour, which began on Norwood Avenue on Buffalo’s West Side with 29 gardens and has grown to include more than 400.
Garden Walk Buffalo’s impact is not difficult to notice. Since 2005, its success has included granting more than $70,000 to block clubs and community groups for neighborhood beautification projects. These grants in previously deteriorating neighborhoods have helped to create pride for the neighborhoods that have received them. The Garden Walk Buffalo event and its grants have directly encouraged redevelopment and rebeautification of the neighborhoods within the borders of the tour, which can be observed by the 60,000-plus visitors who walk through these neighborhoods year after year.
Garden Walk Buffalo is not just a local event. It has hosted visitors from Montreal and Ohio, Seattle and London, and from all points in between. Publications as diverse as Martha Stewart Living and the San Francisco Chronicle to Country Gardens magazine have hailed Garden Walk Buffalo as “a must-see event” and “one of the most outstanding horticultural events in America.”
Garden Walk Buffalo Inc. has taken additional steps to incorporate the events and activities that were previously coordinated by the National Garden Festival into the fabric of success that Garden Walk Buffalo has been known for – including Open Gardens on Thursdays and Fridays in July – throughout Erie and Niagara counties. Events include the Buffalo-style Garden Art Sale, Beyond Flowers and East Side Momentum tours, themed luxury motorcoach tours, bike tours, educational events, a public space makeover, an art exhibition and more.
In addition, we are working to publicize the other 14 area weekend tours in Buffalo Niagara that give nearly 1,000 gardeners an opportunity to showcase their gardens. We are also working with partners like PLANT WNY, Cornell Cooperative Extension Erie Master Gardeners, the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Garden, AAA Western & Central New York, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, GoBike Buffalo, Visit Buffalo Niagara and more.
Garden Walk Buffalo Inc. is excited about bringing together these wonderful activities to make the Buffalo Niagara community a leading gardening, and garden tour, destination.
So, get ready to join in this year’s spectacular gardening season and our abundance of amazing garden tours and activities. For more information, visit www.GardenWalkBuffaloNiagara.com.
Jeffrey Tooke is president of Garden Walk Buffalo Inc.