Author: Jim Charlier
Join 60,000+ fans of Buffalo and its gardens this weekend as they walk through beautiful West Side neighborhoods, stopping in to visit gardeners happy to share their gardening creativity.
About a quarter of the visitors (24% from past surveys) will be visiting from out of town and the Garden Walk Committee could not be more happy to show off the best of Buffalo—city living, spectacular residential architecture, nearly 400 gorgeous gardens, and wonderfully warm people.
Garden Walk Buffalo, in its 24-year history, has become so much more to Buffalo than a garden tour. Randy Hohle, Phd, Associate Professor of Sociology, SUNY Fredonia, working on a multi-year study of Garden Walk Buffalo and the impact of garden tours on a community states:
“Garden Walk Buffalo adds value to communities. Not just economic value found in how much a house is worth, but also social value and cultural value.
Social value is found in the friendships and associations that are made between immediate neighbors and neighbors across the region.
Cultural value is found in the creative ways gardeners use small plots, weave artwork into the landscape — in short, the “Buffalo Style” of gardening.
Whether it’s urban neighborhoods looking to combat urban blight, or suburban neighborhoods looking to create a sense of community lost to urban sprawl, the garden walks are laying the foundations and providing the paths to the good life.
Garden Walk Buffalo may be the single most important social institution in Western New York that helped ease the stigma of deindustrialization that haunts Rust Belt communities. It changed the perception of how out of towners see Buffalo, readily told in the accounts of national garden and travel writers, national newspapers and gardening magazines, as well as in how residents of other cities organized their own garden walks based on their visits to Garden Walk Buffalo.
At the same time it changed how Buffalonians saw themselves. Freed from the stigma of living in a rusted wasteland, Garden Walk Buffalo has helped local residents start a new chapter in the city’s storied history.”
Please come out and visit some gardens this weekend, meet your neighbors–whether on your street or across town. Enjoy their creativity, treat it like an art opening!
We’ll have a Buffalo Garden Party on Saturday at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, One Symphony Circle as a fundraiser for Garden Walk Buffalo and the restoration of the E.B. Green-designed church. Garden Walk Buffalo co-founder Gail McCarthy Lunenfeld will be there to help celebrate. $20 gets you live jazz, plenty of food, and one wine or beer (custom-brewed by Thin Man Brewery just for the event). Additional beer and wine is available for purchase. Tickets available here.
Garden Walk Buffalo also provides mini-grants to block clubs and community groups through its Marvin Lunenfled Beautification Grants named after the group’s founder. You can visit some of the projects the group helped to fund this year—there’s a list on the map. If you’d like to donate to the fund, and help make Buffalo even more beautiful, you can donate here.
Garden Walk Buffalo itself is free and self-guided, no tickets required and taken place Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. both days.
There will even be five free Hop-on/Hop-off shuttles zipping between the five headquarters and about 30 stops in between (shuttle stops are on the map!). Guides from Explore Buffalo will be on board to point out significant architecture and historical sites along the route.
Download a map right now, or, on the days and hours of Garden Walk, you can get maps (and visit a restroom!) at a headquarters. Select sponsor locations have maps in-hand currently. Stop by one of their establishments and pick one up. Once you have your map–start touring wherever you want, or ask a volunteer at one of our headquarters if there’s something you’re hankering to see (Vegetable gardens? Ponds? Artwork? Architecture? Gardens published in magazines?).
For more information, visit GardenWalkBuffalo.com there’s a good “Frequently Asked Questions” section that should answer any questions you have.
Will we see you in the gardens this weekend?
Lead image: A Linwood Avenue garden (Photo by Jim Charlier)