Garden walks and tours
With nearly 1,000 gardens to be seen on 18 garden tours, there is a beautiful garden to experience pretty much any summer weekend that you visit Buffalo!
Tours of Open Gardens
The Tours of Open Gardens offers twelve groupings of premier gardens from Niagara County to East Aurora and Holland that are open to visitors, for select hours, on every Thursday and Friday in July. Many of these gardens are not on any other tour, so this is your only chance to visit them!
The Buffalo-style Garden Art Sale
The Buffalo-style Garden Art Sale is one of the summer’s most unique events. Taking place on the grounds of the Buffalo Botanical Gardens, the sale showcases the creativity of Buffalo Niagara’s ever-growing and enthusiastic gardening community.
Garden Walk Buffalo is the largest garden tour in America. Each year, more than 400 private gardens are opened for a FREE public tour that takes place over two days during the last weekend of July. Attendance in recent years has exceeded 65,000 visitors!
- Saturday and Sunday, July 28 & 29, 2018, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- A FREE self-guided tour of over 400 creative, urban gardens in historic neighborhoods throughout Buffalo.
- The largest garden tour in the United States.
- Annual attendance of over 65,000 visitors.
- A chance to see some of the most beautiful and creative urban gardens – anywhere in the U.S.
- Garden Walk Buffalo has contributed to increased property values and improved quality of life on blocks where there are participating gardens–Buffalo’s own version of “urban greenewal.”
- Garden Walk Buffalo gives back to block clubs, non-profits, and community organizations with Marvin Lunenfeld Beautification Grants each year – more than $100,000 has been funded since 2005.
- Buffalo’s great gardening heritage includes our 1868 Frederic Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux-designed parks, parkways, and circles. The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is the nationally recognized caretaker of this unique and special park system. Most of the parkways and circles, as well as the Buffalo Japanese Garden and Delaware Park Rose Garden, are in the same neighborhoods as the Garden Walk.
- Our Lake Erie waterfront park (and Garden Walk regular) is home to the Erie Basin Marina University Test Gardens, which evaluates the performance of newly-introduced annuals from commercial growers.
- The first Garden Walk Buffalo event was in 1995 and was started as a block club event by founders Marvin Lunenfeld and his wife Gail McCarthy
TENS OF THOUSANDS OF VISITORS
Since 1995, Garden Walk Buffalo has been a destination for garden lovers throughout Western New York and Southern Ontario. We now welcome visitors from all 50 states, from across Canada, and beyond. Held annually during the last weekend of July, Garden Walk has become one of North America’s most anticipated horticultural happenings. An estimated 65,000-plus visitors flock to Buffalo each summer to pick up their maps and start walking through the gardens, which are located in clusters within a three-mile radius, with headquarters at strategic points along the way.
YOUR AUDIENCE WILL DIG BUFFALO'S GARDENS
Visitors are delighted with everything from tiny, exquisitely appointed courtyards to large and ambitious mansion gardens. The tour highlights urban gardening of every variety, including:
- Rain gardens
Styles and types of gardens include:
- Cottage gardens
- Community gardens
- Pocket gardens
- Urban Farms
Significant horticultural sites include:
- The Japanese Garden in Delaware Park
- The Rose Garden in Delaware Park
- The Erie Basin Marina Trial Garden
- A Shakespeare Garden
- Frederick Law Olmsted-designed traffic circles and parkways
- The Richardson Olmsted Complex South Lawn
- Parks, parkways, and traffic circles designed by Frederick Law Olmsted
- Forest Lawn Cemetery Arboretum
Features within gardens found on the Walk include:
- Koi Ponds
- Rock gardens
- Architectural structures (arbors, pergolas, etc.)
- Raised beds
- Waterfalls and fountains
- Multiple-level decks
- Outdoor kitchens
- Lighting schemes
- Wall murals
- Potting sheds
- Carriage houses
- Playgrounds, playhouses, treehouses
- Putting greens
BUT WAIT, THAT'S NOT ALL!
Visitors also get a tour of some of the most diverse and well-preserved nineteenth-century domestic architecture anywhere in America. Architectural styles found within the Garden Walk Buffalo footprint include:
- Queen Anne
- Second Empire
- Colonial Revival
- Civil War-era cottages
- Richardsonian Romanesque
Architecturally significant sites included within the area of the Walk include:
- Frank Lloyd Wright’s Heath House
- Louis Sullivan’s Guarantee Building
- McKim, Mead & White’s
- H.H. Richardson’s Richardson Olmsted Complex
- Eliel and Eero Saarinen’s Kleinhans Music Hall
- Buffalo’s Art Deco City Hall
- Forest Lawn Cemetery’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Blue Sky Mausoleum
Historic and museum sites within the area of the Walk include:
- The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
- The Buffalo History Museum
- The Albright-Knox Art Gallery
- The Burchfield Penney Arts Center
- The Karpeles Manuscript Museum
- Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park
The Elmwood and Allentown neighborhoods that can be explored during the Garden Walk are also Buffalo’s most interesting and eclectic shopping and dining districts, filled with unique gift shops and boutiques, as well as every ethnic food restaurant imaginable.
Garden Walk is made possible through the volunteer efforts of the hundreds of gardeners who open their properties to the public for two days. Another crew of volunteers organizes the Walk, meeting year-round to assemble the gardens, prepare the print materials, and handle other administrative tasks. Please contact us for further details.
We have permission from the following "quotees" to allow the use of these quotes in press relating to Garden Walk Buffalo.
"In the world of garden tour events there is Garden Walk Buffalo and all the others. There is no garden event that combines community engagement, economic benefit to the community, leveraging of a wide range of local related arts and culture, and garden tourism beauty and spectacle. The result is perhaps the largest community garden tourism event in the world with over 400 gardens for over 65,000 visitors from around the world. The fact that this model has been copied but never surpassed is testament to its success and quality and yet year in/year out never ceases to grow, change and build upon its success and reputation. Today it ranks as one of the iconic garden tourism events on a par with the Chelsea Flower show, the Philadelphia Flower show, Keukenhof Gardens, and Floriade in Australia – lofty company indeed.”
— Dr. Richard Benfield, Horticultural Tourism Consultant and author of the book “Garden Tourism”
“When it comes to tourism, gardens are un-exploited assets in most communities. Tourism organizations have yet to acknowledge that a ‘garden visit’ is one of the top ten activities of tourists. I always point to the City of Buffalo as a destination that has transformed back, front and side yard gardens into tourist attractions with Garden Walk Buffalo. Your approach is a great example for those promoting the development of garden tourism. Garden Walk Buffalo is also proof that you do not have to have a Longwood Gardens as an attraction in your community, to be a garden tourism destination.”
— Michel Gauthier, President, MGB Tourfest Inc.; Executive Director, Canadian Garden Council; Chair, North American Garden Tourism Conference; Vice President, International Garden Tourism Network
“Buffalo also has the distinction of holding the most popular celebration of gardening in North America. Called Garden Walk and staged every summer, it was dreamed up by two enthusiastic amateur gardeners over two decades ago. However, what’s happened since then is truly remarkable. The event has kept on getting bigger, like a pumpkin on steroids, and wound up becoming a huge tourist attraction. Last year, for instance, some 50,000 people came, from as far afield as California. In fact, good luck finding a room in the Buffalo area on the last weekend in July, when Garden Walk always takes place. Many hotels are sold out months in advance. But even if you have to settle for accommodation on our side of the border – or simply drive down for the day – make the effort to experience Garden Walk this summer. It’s unique and in a class by itself.”
— The Toronto Star
"Most people wouldn't think of Buffalo as an epicenter of American horticulture, but it looks like gardening may be their official pastime."
— Stacey Hirvella, Past Senior Associate Garden Editor, Martha Stewart Living
"Gardening, like happiness and obesity, is contagious, and urban pioneers on the West Side have inspired neighbors to garden and so attracted new urban pioneers. Call it clear, grow and build. The movement has been driven in large part by the mind-blowing Buffalo Garden Walk, America's best event of its kind, held the last weekend in July."
— Andrew Sprung, TheAtlantic.com
“...congratulations on what I think has to be considered as one of the most outstanding horticultural weekends in all of North America!”
— Terry Ettinger, gardening writer, radio & TV host, Syracuse, NY
"...the Buffalo discovered when I finally made my first trip there this summer was a pretty and vibrant place. The annual Garden Walk filled the city’s more gentrified residential neighborhoods with throngs of strollers determined to drop in on as many luxuriant backyards as possible."
— Kerry Jacobs, Metropolis
"I want to be surrounded by gardeners with more imagination than I can conjure up. I need motivation–and company. It was not until I experienced the extraordinary Garden Walk held in Buffalo, New York, that I realized that some people live in neighborhoods in which everyone gardens. Plants get traded over the fence, and there are garden parties that last long into the evening, with gardeners drunkenly sharpening their Felcos and stumbling into the perennial border, cocktails in hand, to finish the weekend's work. It sounds dangerous but thrilling."
— Amy Stewart, Fine Gardening magazine
“Urban renewal is coming to this old industrial center on Lake Erie, and with it a rejuvenated green scene, inspired in part by Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest event of its kind in the nation.”
— Organic Gardening magazine
“I was knocked out by the flowers and all the people on the streets and the general atmosphere... the architecture is something to behold.”
— Aldona Satterthwaite, past editor-in-chief, Canadian Gardening magazine, Toronto, Ontario, from an interview by Andy Parker, WGRZ
“Buffalo’s got the greatest concentration of beautiful residential gardens I’ve ever seen!”
— Jim Childs, editor, Garden Gate magazine, Des Moines, IA
“It’s more than a tour, it’s a must-see event.”
— The San Francisco Chronicle
“It's free, inclusive, and noncompetitive. No judging. None of the elitism that's been associated with the gardening world for too long.”
— Susan Harris, GardenRant.com, Garden Coach, Garden Writer, Takoma Park, Maryland (just outside Washington, D.C.)
In the past, GBN has organized garden tours by bike, garden-themed art exhibitions, a front yard makeover contest between landscapers, and garden-themed luxury motor coach travel with AAA of Central and Western New York. Look for more new and exciting events every year!
Below are professionally prepared, high-resolution images to be downloaded for both print and web purposes.
NOTE: Photo Use - Please use any of these photos. Include the photographer’s credit as “© D. Zinteck, Photographics 2” or "© Jim Charlier" -depending on the photos. The photographer's name is in the file name. Captions, attributions and descriptions of the photo must include the term "Garden Walk Buffalo" or "Gardens Buffalo Niagara" or mention one of the group's other events – and that is an absolute. Photos appearing without these terms will be pursued as a copyright infringement.
If you would like to feature photographs not used for PR purposes, please contact photographer Don Zinteck, Photographics 2, at 716-228-1855. All photos from the Garden Walk Book are also available for use, as well as hundreds more, negotiated with the photographer.