June in Western New York means it’s garden tour time. Lots of them pop up in communities all summer long. Many are part of Buffalo’s six-week National Garden Festival that kicks off June 21. The festival highlights self-guided weekend tours but also offers a full lineup of garden-related events: educational programs, guided Motorcoach tours, a Buffalo-style Garden Art Sale and the popular Open Gardens program. For this, residents open their private gardens to visitors at particular dates and times. The schedule for all these and more can be found on the website, nationalgardenfestival.com.
In the meantime get ready for some tours of private and public spaces, whether you are a novice gardener or a seasoned one. Veteran garden tourists know to bring a notebook and camera (it’s always polite to ask first before taking photographs.) Sunscreen, hats, bottled water and umbrellas are musts (walks are rain or shine). Take a tour in a community that is new to you; explore nearby shops and restaurants. A few of these walks even include evening hours. It’s always fun to make a day of it and mingle with other gardeners and tourists.
“People will be talking about how hard and long the winter was because many plants didn’t make it,” predicts Jim Charlier, past president of Garden Walk Buffalo who lost, among other things, a pear tree.
Let’s not forget that Garden Walk Buffalo is celebrating its 20th anniversary. This highly anticipated summer event, the largest garden tour in America, will be held July 26-27 with close to 400 urban gardens. Special events commemorating the anniversary, including a Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra concert and Burchfield Penney exhibition, are scheduled. Check out the website, www.gardenwalkbuffalo.com.
Planning on attending a local tour or walk? Be prepared to see gardens of many sizes and styles. Some residents focus on front, rear or side gardens. Others go for all of them. Some gardens are quite formal. Others, cottage-style or filled with whimsy. One thing for sure: You’ll come home with plenty of ideas – whether it’s inspiration for a new garden path, perennial garden or porch pot.
Below are the weekend community tours, almost all self guided, plus a garden-themed bicycle bonanza.
Plans are still being finalized for tours so keep updated by reading Garden Notes every week in the News’ Home & Style Friday sections. Many tours are on Facebook.
Coming in June
• The fifth annual Bikes in Bloom in Clarence Center kicks off this weekend and runs all summer long. The free event puts on display an estimated 30 bicycles decorated by residents and businesses throughout the community. Tour maps are available from the following Clarence Center businesses: the Perfect Gift & Boutique, Clarence Center Coffee Co. & Cafe, Yours Truly, Gertie’s restaurant, Creative Essence, the Bank of Akron in Clarence Center, Hens House II and Clarence Pizza Company. The event is sponsored by Meet in the Center Merchants Association.
• The ninth annual Lewiston GardenFest, sponsored by the Lewiston Garden Club, includes a free walk of eight residential gardens and a festival along historic Center Street from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 21 and 22. The festival features daily speakers, demonstrations, master gardeners, soil testing, representatives from the Hosta & Daylily and Iris societies, a container garden contest and vendors selling flowers, plants and garden art. For more information, visit lewistongardenfest.com. Maps will be available at the hospitality tents.
• The Parkside Community Association will present the 17th annual Parkside Garden Tour & Architectural Walk from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 29. About 50 gardens are on the tour; a map/directory will be available tour day for $8. The tour begins at Church of the Good Shepherd, 96 Jewett Parkway. In addition, a separate guided architecture and history walk by George Stock is scheduled. Tickets for that are $10; tour times are noon and 2 p.m. Visit www.parksidebuffalo.org/gardentour to register your garden (until June 20) or for more information on events happening that day.
Coming in July
• The 10th annual Buzz Around Hamburg Garden Walk will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 12 and 13. Maps for this free event will be available at the Memorial Park Band Stand, corner of Lake and Union streets, Village of Hamburg. Garden vendors will be in the park both days. For more information, visit www.hamburggardenwalk.com or call Marg Rust at 648-7544. Applications for village residents are available on the website; deadline is June 20.
• The City of Tonawanda Garden Walk of more than 35 gardens is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 12. A Friday Night Lights tour will take place from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. July 11. The event is sponsored by the City of Tonawanda Board of Visual & Performing Arts in conjunction with the Garden Club of the Tonawandas. Maps will be available in late June in the mayor’s office, the Recreation Department, the senior center on Main Street, the public library and at local businesses. On tour day, you’ll find them at the police department, 200 Niagara St. Visit www.ci.tonawanda.ny.us.
• The 11th annual Jamestown Audubon Center & Sanctuary’s Secret Gardens Tour of eight gardens in Lakewood, Jamestown and Celoron will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 12. Presale tickets are $10 and available at the Jamestown Audubon Center and nurseries in that area. Tickets can also be purchased for $12 at participating gardens on tour day. Call 569-2345 or visit www.jamestownaudubon.org.
• The Amherst Garden Walk is on for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 12. Deadline for registering your garden is June 16. Applications are available online on the town website at www.amherst.ny.us. Maps to the free walk will be available in early July; check the website for updates.
• The 10th annual Lockport in Bloom garden tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 12 and 13. The free, walking/driving tour features about 25 historic homes and public gardens throughout the City of Lockport. Maps/brochures will be available ahead of time at various local nurseries and business. They can be picked up tour day at the headquarters at the Kenan Center, 433 Locust St., Lockport, by the Taylor Theater. There’s more: The second annual Lockport in Bloom Vendor Fair will swing into action from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both tour days at the Kenan Center. And the Evening Garden Walk is scheduled from 6:30 to 9 p.m. July 12 only. Participating gardens will be designated in the map. See www.lockportinbloom.com.
• The 13th annual Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk of more than 70 private gardens and public spaces is planned from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 12 in the University District of Buffalo, Eggertsville and Amherst neighborhoods surrounding the University at Buffalo’s South Campus. Maps to the free event will be available walk day at the UB Anderson Gallery, 1 Martha Jackson Place, off Englewood south of Kenmore Avenue. Visit www.ourheights.org for more information and an entry form (June 20 deadline).
• The 12th annual Snyder- CleveHill Garden View is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 13. Headquarters with maps is in front of Trillium’s Courtyard Florist, 2195 Kensington Ave., Snyder. A $3 donation is suggested. For questions, email: email@example.com.
• Now in its 12th year, the Ken-Ton Garden Tour of more than 50 gardens will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 19 and 20. In addition, the Night Lights evening tour of select illuminated gardens is set for 8:30 to 11 p.m. July 18 and 19. Gardens are located in the Village of Kenmore and Town of Tonawanda. Tour day headquarters: Aquatic and Fitness Center, 1 Pool Plaza, Tonawanda. For more information, visit www.kentongardentour.com.
• The free Lancaster Garden Walk of about 40 gardens is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 19 and 20. New this year: Lancaster Lights the Landscape, an evening tour of eight gardens from 8:45 to 11 p.m. July 18. The walks features residents’ gardens throughout the Village of Lancaster and Town of Lancaster. For more information, visit www.lancastervillage.org/gardenpage.htm .
• The 11th annual Village of Williamsville Garden Walk of 20 or so gardens is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 19. Maps to the free event can be picked up tour day in front of Village Hall, 5565 Main St. Tour-goers also can visit the farmers’ market from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and meet docents at the Heritage Garden of 1812, the Glen Park Pathway Garden and the new Library Pocket Park next to Village Hall. Deadline for registering garden is July 1. For an entry form, visit www.village.williamsville.ny.us and click on “Events and Activities.” Or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Village Hall at 632-4120, Ext. 3009.
• The West Seneca Tour of Gardens is planned for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 19 and 20. Those interested in entering their garden can contact Dave or Sharon Pulinski at 824-3995 or by email: email@example.com. Deadline is June 20. Maps can be picked up in early July at Mike Weber Greenhouses, French Road near Clinton Street, West Seneca. About 30 gardens will be open.
• The 14th annual South Buffalo Alive’s Tour of Gardens showcasing the gardens of South Buffalo and the Old First Ward will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 20. On tour day, you can pick up a map from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tim Russert Children’s Garden next to the Dudley Library, 2010 South Park Ave. Suggested donation is $2. See www.southbuffaloalive.com. Gardens need to be registered by July 1 by calling Marge Ryan, 826-3158.
• Garden Walk Buffalo, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, gets under way from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 26 and 27. It’s free and includes close to 400 city gardens .The headquarters for maps, information, merchandise: Richmond-Summer Senior Center, Richmond Avenue and Summer Street; Buffalo Seminary, 205 Bidwell Parkway; and Evergreen Health Services (formerly AIDS Community Services), 206 S. Elmwood Ave., corner of Chippewa Street. History, photo gallery, updates and more can be found at gardenwalkbuffalo.com.
Coming in August
• Vibrant Batavia and the Landmark Society of Genesee County Home and Garden Tour will take place noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 2. An expected 10 gardens will be on the tour. Refreshments will be served. Some homeowners will also open their first floors. Tickets are $20 and available in early July at two Batavia locations: Valle Jewelers, 21 Jackson St., and Harrington’s Produce, 5282 Clinton St. The event benefits the Historic Batavia Cemetery. For more information, call Marcia Gann at (585) 343-8218.
• The 10th Annual Black Rock & Riverside Tour of Gardens will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 2. This free tour will showcase more than 50 gardens. That’s not all. The Starry Night Garden Tour of 25 illuminated gardens continues under the stars from 8 to 10 that evening. This year’s headquarters: St. Mark’s & All Saints’ Church, 311 Ontario St., and Buffalo Religious Arts Center, 157 East St. Maps also will be available at area businesses or by calling Councilman Joe Golombek’s office before the event at 851-5116. Or download one online at http://www.brrtourofgardens.com/. Links to other local events Aug. 2 will be listed on the website.