Open Gardens Buffalo is the lesser known, unassuming sibling of the older, more acclaimed Garden Walk Buffalo. Garden Walk tends to get all the attention as the largest free garden tour in the entire country, but Open Gardens is doing its best to step into the spotlight as a very special garden tourism event, one that’s just as worthy of the attention of serious flower fans. While Garden Walk attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Buffalo over the course of the last weekend in July every year, Open Gardens is low key, modest, more of a small dinner party that’s perfect for stopping to smell the flowers and maybe sharing a glass of wine with one of Buffalo’s famously friendly gardeners.
Open Gardens takes place on Thursdays and Fridays throughout the month of July. Typically, 70 or so gardens from throughout the city of Buffalo and the surrounding suburbs are included in the event. A printed directory to the gardens – the “Tours of Open Gardens and Gardens Event Guide” – is available at select garden centers throughout the region for a $10 donation. Make a $20 donation and Gardens Buffalo Niagara will put one in the mail to you. Or, for the digitally-inclined, you can purchase the new Open Gardens App for your phone wherever fine apps are sold online for $4.99. This handy guide provides photos and descriptions of each garden and makes it easy to plan your visit, with geographic groupings of gardens that are open on the same day and at the same time.
Open Gardens Buffalo is a kind of greatest hits compilation of some of the very best gardens featured in the 17 garden walks and tours – including Garden Walk Buffalo – that make summer in Buffalo a horticultural delight. If you can’t make one of the walks and you’ve never experienced what garden writers now commonly call a “Buffalo-Style Garden” this is your shot. Just stop by. Buffalo’s gardeners have left the latch off the garden gate.