By Mary Vanvorst:
The 4th annual National Garden Festival is officially over. Organizers say it proved to be as popular as ever, including the NGF bus tours. A new tour offered this year, the Beyond Flowers Tour, sold out. Billed as “working with Mother Nature, not against her,” the tour highlighted urban areas recently reclaimed and revitalized.
The guided bus tour of Beyond Flowers on August 3rd featured the 7 sites listed on the website below, but with the added advantage of project organizers at each site to provide history and answer questions. Among the sites was the newly-named Wilkeson Pointe off Fuhrmann Boulevard. It was designed by landscape architect Dean Gowen, who included wind sculptures in his design, as well as sculpted land forms with a snowdrift look to them. “All of which,” Gowen said, “is to encourage play.” Gowen wisely placed the wind sculptures up high, luring visitors to a surprising view over the break wall and out onto the lake.
The tour also included the Urban Habitat Project (UHP) at the Central Terminal. UHP Project Lead, Dave Majewski.explained, ” The project’s key components are education and environment, a literally growing example of reusing fallow land, managing storm water runoff, and reintroducing native species, for example, while teaching our youth the absolute need to develop an interest in ecology.”
Sally Cunningham, head of the National Garden Festival, joined the August 3rd tour, and had this to say afterwards. “With Buffalo’s familiar low self esteem habit, some may think we dragged our feet in the march toward urban agriculture and restoration. But anyone who sees our reclaimed vacant lots, urban farms, waterfront parks and the urban habitat project at Central Terminal–well, think again! We have leaders and vision and spaces just calling for re-purposing–a powerful movement–in progress. The least we can do is go see what’s happening and tell everyone else!”
Another tour participant wrote, ” So uplifting to see so many successful small-scale, environmentally-friendly initiatives in the City. And so informative to have the sites explicated by the movers & shakers who dreamed & persisted & willed these destinations into reality.”
There remains an opportunity to enjoy a scaled down, self-guided version of the highly successful bus tour. Click here to see the self-guided tour.
Beyond Flowers Tour organizers expect to repeat this year’s tour in 2014, and say they may add a second tour with new sites, as well.
Lead image: Enjoying the Wilkeson Point sculpture at the Outer Harbor
Post image: Learning about the Urban Habitat Project by the Central Terminal