The 2020 Giving Guide is a unique blend of independently owned and operated businesses in a variety of industries, such as retail, food, dining, arts, non-profit, and more, all designed to encourage WNY residents to #shoplocal. Sponsored by Visit Buffalo Niagara and Erie County, the 2020 guide includes 25 locally-owned and operated businesses throughout the region. Click here to view the 2020 Giving Guide.
One of the things I learned in 2020 is that plants are big. My partner loves his plant collection. Our spare room has been transformed into a wonderland of Hoyas, philodendrons and a few other different species whose names I haven’t quite learned yet. There are green houses and grow lights and humidifiers. Prior to all this, I was content with some flowers, herbs and maybe some vegetables growing on my balcony during the warm months. And this isn’t just a fad, this is a hobby that he loves…it brings him happiness and serenity, especially after a rough day at work. If he’s happy, I’m happy. A recent study done by “Nature Ecology and Evolution” found that in the past 250 years, close to 600 plant species have become extinct, which is 500 times faster than would naturally occur without human intervention. It’s really mind blowing. This is why places like the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens are important.
The conservatory and botanical gardens were created from the visions of extraordinary men. David F. Day, Frederick Law Olmsted, John F. Cowell, Frederick A. Lord and William A. Burnham of Lord & Burnham Co.. Each of these talented individuals contributed to the inception, design and success of the South Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. In the 1860s, David F. Day, a Buffalo city attorney and judge, and later Parks Commissioner, was instrumental in including botanical collections in the City of Buffalo and continued to support a south park conservatory project with great enthusiasm. The 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo helped to spur the success of the South Park Conservatory by providing trolley rides from downtown Buffalo to the conservatory. Tens of thousands of people visited the breathtaking conservatory and delighted in the exotic collection of plants and flowers. With 15 full-time employees, eight part-time employees, over 250 active volunteers and a dynamic board of directors, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Society is thriving! Today, over 125,000 people annually visit the Botanical Gardens to enjoy the amazing architecture and the indoor and outdoor garden sanctuaries. It is a gathering place where visitors can find peace and harmony and enjoy the simple power of the natural world. Some visitors also see it as a place for spiritual healing, meditation and reflection.
In addition to housing an amazing collection of plants, the Botanical Gardens host a variety of events year round. Now through January 3, 2021, they have their “Poinsettia and Railway Exhibit,” whose bright colors are sure to put you in a festive mood. Also through December, they have their “Gardens After Dark.” Each Gardens After Dark exhibit will focus on our mission of connecting people to the natural world in a new way and in a new light- literally! Their first exhibit of the Gardens After Dark series, Magical Poinsettias, will be held on select nights in December 2020 to complement our annual Poinsettia & Railway Exhibit. Experience the charm of this magical time of year and enjoy the tropical Botanical Gardens, the railway exhibit, poinsettia collection, and decorative trees will be a spectacular sight after dark! Experience the Poinsettia & Railway Exhibit during the day, at night during Gardens After Dark, or both!
Reservations are required so check their site for hours. If you are looking for the perfect gift for that plant enthusiast in your life, consider getting them a membership to the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. It comes with a variety of perks like free admission, discounts on select items and classes and even a discount at some local nurseries!
VISIT BUFFALO NIAGARA
This season we challenge WNY to shop and dine local, and help preserve all the businesses that make Erie County and WNY a unique and diverse place to live. While shopping, feel free to snap a photo of the shop, location, products, or yourself and use the tags, #shop716challenge | #dine716challenge
The Erie County Business Task Force recently launched the Shop716 card, an electronic gift card which can be used at any participating store or restaurant. To purchase an egift card and to check out participating locations, visit their website.