Summertime is garden touring time in Buffalo. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 virus has forced the cancellation of Garden Walk Buffalo and the region’s other garden walks and tours for 2020. But while those beloved traditions will have to wait until next year, there are many publicly accessible gardens throughout the Buffalo metro that have the kind of flower power garden lovers crave. Here’s Visit Buffalo Niagara’s guide to what we’ve dubbed the Buffalo Garden Trail. Enjoy.
Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
The Buffalo and Erie County Central Library garden is a fitting entryway to the region’s preeminent repository of great literature, rare books and historic manuscripts. The library’s plaza is surrounded on both sides by lush perennial gardens that bloom from spring through autumn, providing a colorful accent to the historic architecture found in nearby Lafayette Square. The library’s front steps also provide a great vantage point for viewing the city’s largest mural, “Wildflowers for Buffalo,” artist Louise Jones’ whimsical contribution to Buffalo’s public art scene.
Buffalo Botanical Gardens
Nearly 100,000 people annually visit the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens to enjoy amazing architecture and the indoor and outdoor garden sanctuaries. The Gardens represent a gathering place where visitors find peace and harmony as they enjoy the simple power of our natural world. A national historic site, this Victorian conservatory opened in 1900 and was, at the time, the third largest public greenhouse in the country, and the ninth largest in the world. Today it holds exotic treasures from around the world and features an aquatic garden, Asian rainforest, medicinal garden and family garden, as well as one of just two remaining Lord & Burnham tri-dome conservatories.
Delaware Park Rose Garden
The Rose Garden is one of the highlights of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Delaware Park, featuring varieties from the All-America Rose Selections. There are 33 beds, allowing for several combinations and arrangements of spectacular rose bushes in bright purples, pinks, reds, yellows and whites. At the eastern end of the garden is a prominent pergola, dating to 1912. The Rose Garden sits beside the historic Marcy Casino, site of the Terrace Restaurant, and is maintained by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.
Erie Basin Marina Trial Gardens
The gardens start at the entrance and continue throughout the Erie Basin Marina. These gardens are unusual because they are specialty annual trial gardens. Visitors can view specialty cultivars that are grown and evaluated for the coming years. There are new annual varieties – more than 3,000 plants! – from all over the world. All plants are clearly labeled. There are areas of paved walkways, as well as some grassy areas around the gardens.
Forest Lawn Cemetery
Forest Lawn, in addition to being a magnificent cemetery, is Buffalo Niagara’s largest arboretum. Its 269 acres are filled with abundant wildlife and beautiful art and architecture. The original landscape was designed in 1849 by noted cemetery landscape architects Adolph Strauch and Joseph Earnshaw. There are many gardens to view, including the Gratitude Garden in front of the Rosewood Mausoleum, a meditation garden in front of the historic chapel and, of course, the many individual gardens that families maintain.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Graycliff Estate
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a summer home for Darwin and Isabelle Martin, Graycliff is set on a steep cliff with sweeping views of Lake Erie. The landscape has been restored to its 1930s appearance – the only landscape drawings known to be in Wright’s own hand – with design additions by one of the preeminent American landscape architects, Ellen Biddle Shipman.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House
The Darwin Martin House, located in the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Parkside neighborhood, is considered one of the finest examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie-style design, and features a 1.5-acre campus, designed by Wright and landscape architect Walter Burley Griffin. The historic landscape was fully restored in 2019, including the Wright-inspired “floricycle,” which as its name suggests blooms from spring through fall.
Japanese Garden of Buffalo
In 1962, the city of Buffalo joined the United States Sister City International Initiative and began what would become a long and fruitful relationship with Kanazawa, Japan. A wonderful history of sharing resources has grown over the years. In 1996, the people of Kanazawa were largely responsible for the major renovations to the Japanese Garden of Buffalo, providing trees, shrubs, paths and the unique stone lanterns. Located behind the Buffalo History Museum, the lush gardens and serene lake create a contemplative refuge.
Niagara Square Gardens
Surrounding the historic McKinley Monument in downtown Buffalo, the Niagara Square Gardens feature mixed perennial borders containing many native plants that provide a succession of blooms throughout the season. Buffalo in Bloom volunteers design, plant and maintain this beautiful example of large public plantings. Immediately adjacent to the Square you’ll find the Genesee Street median, 300-feet of perennials, natives and annuals.
Visit Buffalo Niagara understands that there is no better way to flatten the curve than to physically distance. However, we empathize with the need to get some fresh air every now and then. Please follow all CDC and Erie County guidelines for social distancing whenever you leave your home – maintain a 6-foot distance from anyone outside your household, wear a mask in public areas and avoid crowded areas entirely. Stay safe and together we’ll stop the spread.