In its sixth year, Gardens Buffalo Niagara’s Tours of Open Gardens is proving to be more popular than ever. More than 70 exceptional, creative residential gardens are open for select hours on Thursdays and Fridays in July throughout the region.
This is unlike any tour you’ve ever been on. These magazine-worthy gardens (no really, many have been featured in national publications!) are a delight.
All you need is an Open Gardens Guide, available at garden centers and other retail locations for a $5 donation (list here.) There are more than 70 gardens spread throughout Erie and Niagara counties, and each is open on a Thursday or Friday throughout the month.
Here, I’ve featured one garden from 10 of the clusters of gardens there are to be viewed.
Each cluster is defined by its neighborhood and the similar hours in which the gardens are open. So get a book, get a friend to go with, and get going…
The Southtowns Bouquet – Smug Creek Gardens on Zimmerman Road in Hamburg
Wear your sneakers! Mike and Kathy Shadrack have cultivated a gardener’s garden with many “regions” to wander through, from shaded forest, to sunny hillside, with meandering paths and an ever-growing collection of garden art.
Delaware District – The Bellus Garden on Lancaster Avenue in Buffalo
Postage-stamp size gardens provide challenges, but Steve Bellus was more than up for the task. His diminutive jewel box of a garden is on Lancaster Avenue, located just a few houses in from Buffalo’s Elmwood Avenue. He’ll get between 2,500 and 3,000 visitors the weekend of Garden Walk Buffalo.
Elmwood Village & Allentown – The Ballard/Olinski Garden on Bird Avenue in Buffalo
You’ll be visiting the tropics when you visit the Gordan Ballard/ Brian Olinski Garden on Bird Avenue in this cluster of garden stars. They have a collection of dahlia, and what may be the largest collection of tropicals outside of the Buffalo Botanical Gardens. If you do visit, maybe you can help answer the eternal question – Is that a tiki bar, or a cantina?
Northtowns West – Song ‘n Bird Garden on Delaware Road in Kenmore
The “Song ‘n Bird Gardens” on Delaware Road has been a mainstay garden for the Ken-Ton Garden Tour and garden-themed bus tours for years. The garden is disarmingly large for this neighborhood – hearkening back to when this was farm country. There is great access throughout the garden, and an impressive vegetable garden spread.
Northtowns East – The Coyne DiNezza Garden on Darwin Drive in Snyder
The Darwin Drive home of the Coyne DiNezza garden is a site to behold. The curve-edged roof of the stone English cottage home is echoed in the charming potting shed you see in the photo above. The gardens use evergreens as a base for its design, creating an atmosphere like few other gardens in this neck of the woods.
Lancaster – The Krebs Garden on Irwinwood Road in Lancaster
You think you’ve done some great reuse and re-purposing of items in a garden? You haven’t seen anything like the Krebs garden on Irwinwood Road. Ron and Kathleen have made it an art form. No piece of metal, glass, furniture, tools, driftwood, or bassinet is protected from becoming part of their stagecraft and craftiness. You’ll be enthralled by the birdhouses and feeders made from everything but birdhouses and bird feeders.
Cottage & Kleinhans – The Sue Hough & Miro Sako Garden on Richmond Avenue in Buffalo
Sue and Miro’s garden is a creative and colorful retreat. Around every plant is another creation by Sue & Miro. I cannot wait to see what original project they’ve been working on for this year’s Garden Walk. But without question, the star of the garden is the tree house of every little girl’s fantasy.
Niagara Trail – The Kurbs Garden on Locust Street in Lockport
Have you ever walked into a backyard garden and felt like stress has left your shoulders? That’s what it’s like to enter the Kurbs Garden on Locust Street in Lockport. Instant vacation. The immense lawn is accentuated with garden art, a wooden pirate ship playset and a collection of rough-hewn birdhouses.
Lakeshore – The Hajnosz Garden on Columbia Avenue in Hamburg/Lakeshore
Don’t let the front of the Hajnosz Garden on Columbia Avenue scare you off. What looks like a typical front yard in their neighborhood leads to one of the regions’ most special gardens. John and Carole have more than 300 varieties of hosta. The one-acre, 25-year-old garden has dozens of ornamental and fruit trees, and mini, dwarf, and standard conifers all along meandering paths.
South Buffalo and Old First Ward – The Macciaccio Garden on Rutland Street in South Buffalo
The Macciaccio Garden’s entrance is through their grape-vine covered patio. My first visit there was a revelation. Sharon’s garden, modeled on all the gardens she’s loved to visit on Garden Walk Buffalo over the years, is the epitome of Buffalo-style. There’s no way you won’t want to sit on the swinging bench and take it all in for a few minutes.