The 2019 Garden Walk launched earlier today, with a monarch butterfly release at Bidwell Parkway by Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm. The turnout was phenomenal.
People came from far and wide to support the butterflies, which are disappearing from the face of the planet. The event also featured a number of eco organizations ranging from Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper to Green Shoots for New Americans. I was particularly impressed with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County’s efforts to promote pesticide free lawns.
I ended up taking a pledge that I would not apply pesticides to my garden landscape. In return, volunteers Don Stribick and Linda Mayer (see above) handed me a “healthy lawn” sign to plant in the garden in front of my house.
I also managed to nab an Eastern Monarch “monarch habitat” flag that states that my garden (filled with swamp milkweed) is pesticide free and a “no mow zone”. Be sure to check out The Flutterby Festival in two weeks, where many of the groups will be featured again.
On my bike ride back to my house, I passed an assortment of interesting grassroots Garden Walk initiatives underway. One of my favorites was running into Matthew Lloyd who lives on Summer Street. For six years, he has set up a table in front of his house where he gives away plants for free to people who will give them good homes. Last year, he handed out over 300! Matthew loves interacting with people, he loves taking about plants, and he loves seeing his plants proliferate all over the city of Buffalo.
While biking down Elmwood I came across artist Cassandra Ott’s completed botanical mural, which I wrote about recently. The work of art is in recognition of Garden Walk Buffalo and the Elmwood Village Association, as they are both celebrating their 25 Year Anniversaries.
Further down on Elwood, across the street from Thin Man Brewery, I ran into the crew from the Elmwood Village Association, who were busy tending to a Park(ing) Space. The parking spot had been converted into an interactive pop-up playground for kids. There was also a transportation element for adults, where they could add stickers to a map.
The stickers delineated spots on the street where people wanted to see traffic calming measures implemented… or plantings, public art, etc. Brilliant! I chose the corner of Elmwood and Cleveland, where I believe a crosswalk should be added. Then I played a game of giant Connect Four, before pushing off.
What is really incredible about this inspirational day is that this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun things taking place at The Garden Walk. Everywhere you look there are lemonade stands, beautiful gardens, cookouts, cyclists, and tons of visitors enjoying all of the different thoughtful elements that make Buffalo the largest Garden Walk city in the country!