Saturday was the first day of summer, but it was also the kickoff of the fifth annual National Garden Festival. The six-week festival is the region’s big celebration of all things gardening. Most of the area’s garden walks are part of the festival – 14 of them this year – but there is so much more.
The website, www.nationalgardenfestival.com, offers listings of everything from garden tours to seminars to the Leaf a Legacy project. Here are some of the highlights, including several events celebrating the 20th anniversary of Garden Walk Buffalo, which takes place July 26 and 27.
• The Buffalo-style Garden Art Sale: From handcrafted birdhouses to artistic glass flowers, this sale showcases the garden-themed creations of 40 vendors. It takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 29 at the Parkside Lodge in Delaware Park; it coincides with the Parkside Garden Tour and Architectural Walk happening 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the same day and in the same neighborhood. At the sale, expect to find stepping stones, jewelry, wind chimes, trellises, copper garden art and more.
• GObike Buffalo Garden Bike Tour of South Buffalo gardens gets rolling at 10 a.m. June 29; $30 for the three-hour tour includes a boxed lunch. See http://gobikebuffalo.org/event/garden-bike-tour/
• The Open Gardens project returns this summer with about 90 private gardens throughout the region opening to visitors on Thursdays and Fridays. Locations, dates, times and guide book information can be found on the festival website.
• If traveling by motorcoach is your style, check out AAA Western and Central New York’s Horizon Club Tours. The Buffalo News’ Great Gardening columnist Sally Cunningham is leading a series of Garden Discoveries tours, including four to see some of the best and many lesser-known Garden Walk Buffalo gardens. Visit HorizonClubTours.com.
• Burchfield Botanicals, an exhibition at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, is on view through Nov. 9. Visit BurchfieldPenney.org.
• Last year’s popular Beyond Flowers Tour returns Aug. 2 with stops at: the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) site; PUSH (People United for Sustainable Housing) park, playground and community gardens; Wilkeson Pointe on Fuhrmann Boulevard, a “natural playground” with wind sculptures; Mutual Riverfront Park on Hamburg Street; the Urban Habitat Project next to the Central Terminal, and the Broadway Market. The school bus tour, $35, begins and ends at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus parking lot on Ellicott and Goodell streets. Register online at the National Garden Festival website, where you can also read about the self-guided option.
And a couple events coming Garden Walk Buffalo weekend, July 26 and 27:
• The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Garden Walk Folk & Flowers begins at 4 p.m. July 26 on the grounds of Kleinhans Music Hall. Bring a picnic; food trucks will be nearby too. The BPO’s Garden Walk Celebration Concert is at 7 p.m. Visit bpo.org.
• Be prepared to see Buffalo Niagara going green for Garden Walk: Niagara Falls, the Mansion on Delaware, the Peace Bridge and other landmarks, buildings and businesses will be illuminated green on some or all of the nights of July 25, 26 and 27.
Find out more Garden Walk happenings at www.gardenwalkbuffalo.com.