Buffalo's National Garden Festival launches...

Buffalo's National Garden Festival was officially launched today with a press conference at the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens. We'll be promoting all the garden-oriented events that already happen in our area, as well as a good number of new events & happenings, under one "great green umbrella." Hence, the great green umbrellas. At the podium, above, is Sally Cunningham (author Great Garden Companions), She is god's gift to gardens in Buffalo/Niagara. She is the coordinator for the five-week long festival. And we could not have found a better person for the job. To the right of her is me - in a non-flattering green cast. To the left of her is Neil Stern, president, WNY Nursery & Landscape Association. I believe her umbrella is completely covering up Mike Shadrack. The umbrellas seemed apropos, considering the constant drip & drizzle of the day.

What NOT to do for a press conference? Put the wrong date on the podium sign. (Date cleverly hidden by beautiful plants).

For the press conference, Sally introduced the concept of the festival, which I have posted in previous blog posts (I wasn't worried about giving too much away -- to all three of my readers). Next up was the indefatigable & prominent board member & Buffalo-area booster, Mary Anne Kresse. Next was me and finally, the brand-spankin' new director of the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau, Dottie Gallagher.

Only two stations showed up for the conference, but I'm told they have, at times, gone through the press conference motions for less. I'm watching WGRZ tonight to see if I made it onto the cutting room floor or not. YNN was also present. On the plus side, The Buffalo News published this great local-section cover article today. You can read it here. Buffalo Rising also gave us some coverage in a post yesterday.

The owner of this garden emailed me this morning - unexpectedly excited to see his garden in a large photo in the paper at this time of the year.

In the words of Joe Biden, "It's a big f------ deal."
The Festival doesn't get going until June 17 when the Botanical Gardens is hosting a party for all the active Festival partners & participants -- including the gardeners of ALL sixteen garden tours in the area (free with a cash bar - smart idea - they may not realize how much gardeners drink). The public start of the Festival is Saturday, June 19 with Keynote speaker, Stephanie Cohan (author Fallscaping, The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer and The Non-Stop Garden). Other Festival events include a visit by author Amy Stewart (Wicked Plants), 14 garden walks, seminars, workshops, bus tours, a front yard garden competition, philharmonic concerts and more.

I can't begin to list the partners that showed up for the press conference, but you can see Elizabeth of GardenRant.com & GardeningWhileIntoxicated.com, fumbling with her umbrella, second from the left.

It takes a village
It takes a lot of partners to make something like this happen - especially when we ask groups for help and they jump on board willingly -- with ideas and enthusiasm. Just some of the partners (some in photo at left) making this all happen include: Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens; Buffalo & Erie County Public Library; Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy; Eighth District Federated Garden Clubs; Elizabeth Licata, www.GardenRant.com; WNY Hosta Society; WNY Daylily Society; Forest Lawn Cemetery & Arboretum; Erie Basin University Test Gardens; Buffalo Citybration; Buffalo Museum of Science; Bidwell Farmers Market; Albright-Knox Art Gallery; and the WNY Nursery & Landscape Association; among many other players.

It's been a lot of work. It's been a lot of fun. I've met lots of new folks and the connections help us all. The crazy part is that all this effort -- meetings, marketing, press events, booth sitting, phone calls, ordering green umbrellas, grant proposals, presentations and hundreds of other tasks -- is that all we do is talk gardening, and no gardening is getting done. Only a few more weeks....


  1. Looks like an exciting project - I haven't had a reason to go to Buffalo until now.

  2. This is all sounds really exciting! How cool to be a part of it.
    (I'm laughing about the Joe Biden comment because before I even read that part for some reason that crossed my mind as soon I saw people standing in front of the podium.)

  3. Wow! This will be one major event. Congrats for this well-planned project! I hope there would be more projects that will come this year especially with great collaboration among gardeners. Here in Florida, there's a Greenfest for Gardening and Conservation Education opening this weekend. This would also be a beneficial meeting of experienced and new gardeners and even children.

  4. How It Grows,
    There's plenty of good reasons to come to Buffalo! Architecture, art & food being chief among them. Now we're just adding gardening!

    It has ben fun, though Sally Cinningham bears the brunt of the work, and the Convention & Visitors Bureau has put in plenty of staff hours as well.

    We've considered adding a bit more of a conservation "green" element as we go forward into future years. We decided to just focus on gardens for this year, so as not to confuse the efforts, but they are part & parcel of the same thing. Our event(s) just won't have an outward green educational spin.


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