Can you believe that Buffalo’s Garden Walk is celebrating 25 years? If you stop to think about all of the things that this event has accomplished over the years, it’s astounding. Not only do beautiful gardens proliferate throughout the city, the Garden Walk has become a calling card for visiting this city. It has helped to cast off our image as a snowbound city – instead, people are now talking about a city that has glorious gardens, a bustling waterfront, great bars and restaurants, etc.
An estimated 60,000-70,000 visitors from around the U.S., Canada and beyond, will visit 435 of the most creative and enjoyable gardens found anywhere in the U.S.
Garden Walk Buffalo has risen as the largest garden tour in North America! There are countless reasons that we should all be supporting this initiative, from stabilized property values to the environmental aspects. And while each year brings about important new changes, this year (with the big anniversary) will top them all. Here’s what you can look forward to in 2019:
- Butterfly Release to kickoff Garden Walk Buffalo will be Saturday, July 27 at 10:00 a.m. on Bidwell Parkway at Elmwood Avenue. Join us as the Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm and the Pollinator Conservation Association release a flutter of butterflies. Also visit 10+ green groups on site to learn more about environmental conservation efforts in the region.
- Expanded footprint of the Walk now includes the Park Meadow and Parkside neighborhoods -neighborhoods on either side of the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Delaware Park.
- A new garden design book release – Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs by authors Sally Cunningham and Jim Charlier will be available for sale the three main GWB headquarters. The creative design book shows how the reader can add your own personality and uniqueness to your garden. It features many gardens on the tour.
- The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Martin House is on Garden Walk Buffalo. Visitors can walk around the yard and gardens to enjoy the historically restored gardens including the “Floricycle” garden of continuous blooms.
- Explore Buffalo docents will be on each Garden Walk shuttle throughout the weekend, pointing out significant architecture and historic sites. Find out more about Explore Buffalo by visiting ExploreBuffalo.org.
- Ride the Walk on FREE shuttle buses. Follow the red, purple, green or blue dashed lines on the map for our four continuous loops, hop-on/hop-off shuttle routes. Orange circles designate shuttle stops. Note new routes this year with color-coded zones and buses – and transfer stops between each color zone at a headquarters location. Shuttles run from 10am-4pm. Be on a shuttle by 3:30 to get back to your starting point!
- A commemorative floral mural was created by artist Cassandra Ott at 831 Elmwood Avenue, between Lafayette and Lancaster Avenues. The mural celebrates the 25th anniversaries of both the Elmwood Village Association and Garden Walk Buffalo.
- “Garden Walk Buffalo Way” is the new street designation (as of Friday, July 26) given by Buffalo Mayor Brown to Norwood Avenue, between West Utica and Summer Street.
- A granite marker will be placed at the corner of Norwood Avenue and West Utica Street in front of the former home of Marvin Lunenfeld (1934-2012) and Gail McCarthy, founders of Garden Walk Buffalo.
- Marvin Lunenfeld Beautification Grants totaling $7,500 were distributed to 10 block clubs and community groups this year for beautification projects.
- Pollinator House Competition and silent auction entries will be on display Saturday, July 27 at Elmwood and Bidwell. Visitors can bid on unique and creative bird, bat, bee, bugged butterfly house. Proceeds support The Buffalo Architecture Foundation and Garden Walk Buffalo.
- A visitor-interactive garden mural project will be initiated by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery during this year’s Walk. More information is forthcoming.
“It’s Garden Walk Buffalo’s 25th year and we have much to celebrate – including expanding the footprint of the tour by adding two neighborhoods of great gardens and architecture – including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House,” said Yolanda Fields, Garden Walk Buffalo Chair. “And it’s all free–no tickets, no reservations–just pick up a free map, and start touring! There’s even FREE shuttles you can use to maximize your visit.”
Visit gardens from the Niagara River to Main Street, and from Canalside to the Parkside neighborhood.
“With no ambition beyond tending to their front yards and enhancing their street, a handful of neighbors on Norwood Avenue, in a simple act of hope and optimism, gave birth to a grassroots initiative that has jumped across streets, crossed into other neighborhoods, and infused an entire community with a pride of place and sense of possibility,” said Ed Healy, Visit Buffalo Niagara VP of Marketing, (Buffalo’s visitors bureau). “It’s amazing how a well-tended flowerbed can put a spring back in a street’s step. Inspiring how a citizen-led undertaking of humble beginnings and modest intentions can lift up a once dispirited city.”
This year’s Garden Walk will be held Saturday and Sunday, July 27 & 28, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.
The tour is free, self guided, no tickets are required. Maps can be found ahead of the Walk at select sponsor locations throughout the region. For a complete list of garden centers and shops with free maps, or to download an abridged map online, visit GardenWalkBuffalo.com. Otherwise maps can be found at Garden Walk Buffalo headquarters only during the days and hours of the Walk, not before.
- Evergreen Health 206 S. Elmwood Avenue, corner of Chippewa Street
- Buffalo Seminary 205 Bidwell Parkway near Soldiers Circle and Chapin Parkway
- St. Mark’s Church 399 Woodward Ave, Parkside
Garden Walk has four “satellite” locations where visitors can pick up MAPS ONLY:
- First Presbyterian Church 1 Symphony Circle
- West Side Community Services 161 Vermont Street
- The Martin House 125 Jewett Parkway
- The Buffalo History Museum/Japanese Gardens, corner of Elmwood Avenue and Nottingham Terrace
Garden Walk Buffalo is produced by Gardens Buffalo Niagara. GBN promotes regional garden tours, and produces the Buffalo-Style Garden Art Sale, and Tours of Open Gardens on Thursdays and Fridays in July. For more, visit GardensBuffaloNiagara.
Lead image photo credit: Jim Charlier @ ArtofGardening.org