When it comes to gardening, Tom Halloran says it has been a very good year. A terrific one, in fact.

“The colors are the best I have seen in the neighborhood – with the late spring, warm weather, cool nights and abundance of rain we have had this year,” said Halloran, a Garden Walk Buffalo participant and board member.

Visitors to this weekend's Garden Walk Buffalo will see that for themselves as they are invited to stop by nearly 400 city gardens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

They will see shade gardens, such as the ones described Friday in Sally Cunningham's Great Gardening column, but that's not all. Garden Walk Buffalo also is the place to see flowering perennials, rock gardens, ponds and fountains, window boxes (see Home & Style Sunday for a story featuring some of them), raised beds, garden sculptures, gates and structures, and native, organic, vegetable, fairy, zen, front yard and community gardens – across Buffalo's West Side, with many clustered in neighborhoods for convenience.

Oh, and do those gardeners get creative. They repurpose all sorts of things into planters and garden decor. Adorn fences. Spruce up porches and patios. Dress up nooks and crannies.

Garden walkers may even come across a swimming pool – such as the inground pool and spa at Halloran's home.

“People come back here and are surprised,” said Halloran, of his backyard oasis.

Visitors also will see his 11 large container plantings, including one beauty filled with purple petunias and Canna. Many perennials are found here: phlox, echinacea, Rudbeckia 'Herbstonne,' clematis – including the popular Sweet Autumn – five different types of hydrangeas, daisies, coreopsis, ferns and hostas.

A few things to know about Garden Walk Buffalo, which is free and self-guided:

• The Garden Walk Buffalo website is loaded with information. It also lists select sponsor locations where maps can be picked up through Saturday. Visit

• On tour days, there are three headquarters for Garden Walk guide/map, information, merchandise: Richmond-Summer Senior Center, Richmond Avenue and Summer Street; Buffalo Seminary, 205 Bidwell Parkway; and Evergreen Health Services, 206 S. Elmwood Ave., corner of Chippewa Street.

The guide/map gives addresses and descriptions of each garden and also breaks down some by type – vegetable garden, rock garden – or special features, such as ponds and structures. It also lists those that are stroller and wheelchair accessible. Very handy.

• Climb aboard. Five free hop on/hop off shuttles will be operating during hours of Garden Walk. They will transport visitors through many participating neighborhoods and stop at all three headquarters. There's more: Professional guides from Preservation Buffalo Niagara will point out places of interest along the routes.

• Parking is on the streets in Garden Walk neighborhoods. The guide/map marks area parking lots as well as bathrooms and shuttle routes and stops.

• Don't forget: Comfortable shoes, sunscreen, umbrella, notebook/pen for making notes, camera (be polite and ask first before clicking away) and water to keep hydrated. Also, a garden walk – especially in crowded areas – is not the place to take pets and little kids.

• Gear up for the scavenger hunt. The challenge: Find 20 gardens with secret signs. Top prize: Win 20 $20 bills. See the guide/map for details.

Related events

Food truck rodeo: 10 a.m. to dusk Saturday and Sunday, First Presbyterian Church, Symphony Circle, with space for picnicking on the grounds of Kleinhans Music Hall.

Free folk concert: 4 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday: The Buffalo Philharmonic's Garden Walk Folk Fest will take place on the grounds of Kleinhans Music Hall, Symphony Circle. Savannah King, Nan Hoffman and Sara Elizabeth will perform.

Buffalo Philharmonic Garden Walk Celebration Concert: 7 p.m. Saturday. The nature-inspired concert takes place at First Presbyterian Church. Conductor: Bradley Thachuk. Tickets $49/$29/$19. Purchase tickets online at Or call 885-5000.

An OASIS @ Urban Roots Garden Center: 12 to 7 p.m. Saturday, 428 Rhode Island St., with live music, food, garden education and more. Visit

J.P. Bullfeathers, 1010 Elmwood Ave., is hosting a Garden Walk Buffalo pre-party 7 to 9 p.m. tonight. It's $30 at the door; call for reservations 886-1010.

Going green for Garden Walk: Niagara Falls, the Buffalo Main Lighthouse, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens and other local landmarks and businesses as well as many Garden Walk homes will be illuminated green this weekend, in celebration of Garden Walk's 20th anniversary.

Exhibition opening: 6 to 9 p.m. tonight, 447 Amherst St.: Garden Mystique at Artsphere Studio & Gallery 10th annual group art exhibition, also celebrates garden walks in Buffalo's neighborhoods. Gallery hours Wednesday to Friday, noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In addition, Burchfield Botanicals, an exhibition at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, is on view through Nov. 9. Visit

Remember, too, that the region's National Garden Festival continues through Aug. 2. To learn more about upcoming motorcoach tours, the Beyond Flowers Tour, the 10th annual Black Rock & Riverside Tour of Gardens and the final opportunities to view some Open Gardens, visit