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National Garden Festival—we built it and they’re coming

Kerry Ann Mendez

Last week, a comment posted both on my blog and a friend's blog took me by surprise: My husband and I are planning a 40th anniversary trip to Buffalo the week of July 10-14 or 15. We can't wait to see all the gardens. Any chance you'd have a lead on a reasonably priced bed and breakfast in one of the districts??? We don't need luxury, but enjoy quaintness.

It’s happening. From June 25 through July 31, visitors from all over the U.S. will be coming to see Buffalo’s gardens during the National Garden Festival. And considering that an entire conference-worth is coming in October to see our architecture, maybe this is not very surprising. What’s interesting about the blog comment is that these people (from Indiana) are not even staying for Garden Walk. They are here for the additional programming that Garden Walk inspired. The Open Gardens program is an opportunity to see 66 of the area’s best gardens without the Garden Walk crowds; it’s also a great way for those of us who are on Garden Walk to see some of what we’ve missed while we’re babysitting our own gardens.

In addition to Open Gardens, there is a full five-week schedule of lectures, workshops, walks, and bus tours. The kick-off is this Friday, at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, starting at 3 p.m. Special guest Kerry Ann Mendez, owner of Perennial Yours nursery and author of The Ultimate Flower Gardener’s Top Ten Lists, will be giving a talk and signing books, and a celebratory reception will kick off the festival. Register here.

If you miss Mendez Friday, you can see her at Lockwood’s Greenhouses Perennials Day on Saturday, where she will join a roster of other speakers for a packed day of garden geekiness, including lunch. Register here.

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