National Garden Festival's third year
Photos by Jim Charlier
Like a plant, a festival takes root, grows, and shows its character by year three. As for plants, “… the third year, it leaps.” The National Garden Festival is poised to leap, with new features and a spiffed-up five week menu of great gardening selections to see and do.
Event creators espouse that synergy occurs when you combine gardening with another art form. And right in front of National Garden Festival planners’ noses appeared newspaper and blogger headlines about Buffalo Style Gardens, defined in part by art. From the Atlantic.com’s Daily Dish: “There are Japanese, English and Russian gardens, and what I would call Buffalo gardens—eclectic, funky mixes in which found objects and exotic-looking rooftops figure prominently.”
So we chose Buffalo Style Garden Art as the focus of our opening weekend, June 23 and 24. The weekend already features the must-see two-day Lewiston GardenFest, with great gardens, food, vendors, plant sales, speakers (myself included this year), and a large dose of art. But why not add a garden art sale right in Buffalo—Sunday only—to put the spotlight on the kind of art visitors will be seeing throughout the region all summer?
The Buffalo Style Garden Art sale (June 24, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 24; attendance is free) is hosted by Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy in the Parkside Lodge, in the footprint of the Parkside Garden Tour happening at the same time. At press time, artist applications are still coming in, but we expect potters, painters, sculptors, welders, and collage designers with work in metal, ceramics, wood, and more.
If art isn’t enough of a lure, on the same grounds and inside the lodge you will also find a Plant Society Avenue, featuring many plant society experts, with some plants for sale and a lot of knowledge for free. The WNY Hosta Society will also have a registered hosta show.
Motor up to Lewiston on Saturday, June 23 to shop, learn, and tour GardenFest in one of the region’s most charming towns. On Sunday, start or end the day with the Parkside Tour of Gardens, and then peruse (or buy) the art and learn from the plant folks at this new event nearby in the Park.
Now available for the first time, for sale in several locations, festival organizers have produced the National Garden Festival Guide and Open Gardens Book, which offers eighty-eight pages of dense information. It includes:
• Fourteen different garden walks (including Garden Walk Buffalo on July 28–29) and tours spanning six weekends.
• Seventy-five private “Open Gardens” with Thursday or Friday schedules, pictures, and maps.
• Eight AAA/Howard Tours by luxury motorcoach (luncheon included) to the best private, commercial, or public gardens, with Master Gardener or horticulture expert tour guides.
• The scoop on past and coming Front Yard Competitions, in which WNY nurserymen and landscapers make over an entire block.
• Educational programs at garden centers, including Native Plants Weekend (Lockwood’s Greenhouses and WNY Land Conservancy), Fairy Days at Menne’s, and more.
• Info to guide you to the best of our horticultural sites—the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, Buffalo’s Olmsted Parks, Forest Lawn Cemetery—and more about our diverse cultural and tourism assets.
The book costs $5, and your contribution supports the National Garden Festival. Find the book at the Visitors Center and sponsoring public gardens and garden centers, and visit www.nationalgardenfestival.com for more info.