Lyn Chimera is a Master Gardener, consultant and lecturer.
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By: Lyn Chimera
For those of you, like myself, who have been waiting all winter for July when we can visit some of the best gardens in the country, the wait is over. The month of July in Western New Yok is all about gardens and gardening.
The gardening events begin in June with the Lewiston Gardenfest, 6/18&19 and The Buffalo Style Garden Art Sale at the Botanical Gardens 6/25&26. However, it’s the month of July that is packed full of garden visit opportunities.
The best way to learn about all the events is to get the booklet, Open Gardens, published by Gardens Buffalo Niagara. It is available at many nurseries and the low cost of $10. Check out their website for full details: https://www.gardensbuffaloniagara.com/
There are three major opportunities for visiting local gardens during July:
Open Gardens The advantage of Open Gardens is you don’t have the crowds to deal with like during Garden Walk Buffalo and parking is not an issue. There are over 100 private gardens open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays from July 7th through the 29th covering Erie and Niagara Counties. Some are open both days, some all of one of the days and others part of one of the days. There are even some gardens open at night. All are free. The gardens are divided into 9 geographic sections such as Northtowns East and West, Buffalo and Southtowns Bouquet. The Open Gardens booklet has complete listings including maps and information about the gardens and points of interest in the area. Unfortunately my gardens will not be on this year.
Community Garden Walks Fourteen local communities are sponsoring neighborhood Garden Walks during four weekends in July beginning July 9th. The Open Garden book or their website tells which areas like Hamburg, Lancaster and Grand Island are open when and where to get the maps. Each community puts out their own map with directions and descriptions of the gardens. The tours are self-guided. Most are free but some ask for a donation. This is a lovely way to spend a day or afternoon getting to know a community.
Garden Walk Buffalo July 30 & 31, 10 AM – 4 PM. This is the highlight and biggest draw of the month. The Buffalo Garden walk has evolved into the largest garden tour in America. Tens of thousands of people come from all across the country to see our amazing gardens. It has become the garden event of the year written up in national gardening magazines. There are hundreds of private and public gardens throughout the city open on these 2 days. Maps are available at various locations and at the Garden Walk website. www.gardensbuffaloniagara.com/garden-walk-buffalo
Some tips for any of the garden visits:
Wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather. Some gardens have stone walkways, paths with roots or other difficult walking situations. Also, grass may be wet and slippery. The gardens are open rain or shine so plan to dress appropriately.
Take your camera/cell phone to take pictures. After seeing many gardens you’ll want to remember some of the pants you liked, landscaping ideas, garden art etc. Trust me, after seeing 8-10 gardens it’s hard to remember where you saw what or what it was.
Don’t be hesitant to talk to the owners and ask questions. You’ll be seeing some plants you might not recognize or wonder how much work is involved in their garden, how long did it take to develop, helpful tips etc..
Be mindful of people’s property and stay on paths or designated areas. It’s easy to be distracted by a beautiful plant or whatever and step where you shouldn’t.
Your garden touring experience will be much more enjoyable if you plan a strategy. Get the Open Gardens booklet or download maps from the website to plan your route. Don’t forget to plan a lunch break or shopping jaunt. It’s a delightful way to spend a day with like minded gardening fiends. I guarantee you will get some good ideas. Hope to see you soon!
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