No Walk, but lots to watch
Gardens Buffalo Niagara (GBN) is the organization behind many of the region’s horticultural tourism events and activities. Among other activities, GBN produces:
- Garden Walk Buffalo (canceled)
- The East Side Garden Walk (canceled)
- Open Gardens on Thursdays and Fridays in July (still happening!)
- The Buffalo-Style Garden Art Sale (canceled)
- The Marvin Lunenfeld Beautification Grant (named after Garden Walk Buffalo’s founder)
- The Vibrant Buffalo Beautification Grant
In addition, GBN promotes and encourages the other 12-16 other garden tours that happen in Erie and Niagara Counties each summer.
All told, it takes about 1,000 gardeners between all the tours, a few dozen hard-working volunteers, and some great corporate sponsors, and nearly 100,000 visitors to make it all happen.
Reaching the decision
It was a tough decision, and one that had to be made before volunteers started the Garden Walk map, which is a huge undertaking by a small number of volunteers putting in dozens of hours – not to mention the expense of design and printing. The greatest priority was being able to make sure all volunteers, gardeners, and visitors were protected from contracting the virus – most of which fall into a corona virus risk category by virtue of age.
Ultimately, any event of this type is under the laws and ordinances of the city, state, and county. We weren’t sure what the status of public gatherings would be at the end of July.
Entertainment events like Garden Walk Buffalo, would fall into the category of festival, parade, or concert. These will be the last type of events to take place during NYS Pause‘s recovery phase. Depending on factors beyond our control, it could very well not happen until the fall. So even if we wanted to still hold the Walk, we couldn’t.
Add to that the fact that one of our headquarter locations said, as much as they liked hosting us each year, they cannot have the general public visiting their facility, as many immune-compromised patients also visit the building. The other two HQs are schools and would not commit to hosting us until right before the event, as they did not already, and will not know what state requirements will be for their own facilities at that time.
What we’re doing instead
So as not to lose momentum of sharing Buffalo’s gardens for a summer, rather than resting on our laurels (or resting at all), we decided to go virtual. Virtual for us meant more than just photos and videos online. And it includes Garden Walk Buffalo and East Side Garden Walk gardens and gardeners. Here’s a run-down of what we hope to do every day in July:
- Weekly online giveaways and games (Instagram, Facebook)
- Shopping experiences
Launch of GBN’s online store and promoting vendors that weren’t able to participate in June’s Buffalo Style Garden Art Sale.
Gardens In Plain View (Downloadable PDFs)
Strolls to see front gardens any day of the week
Gardeners’ Eye View (YouTube)
Garden Pro InterView (Zoom)
Interview with a professional
- WEDNESDAYS (blog posts)
Garden Stories by the Buffalo Architecture Foundation and GBN
Gardens Buffalo Niagara Into View (YouTube)
GBN video shorts
Garden Live View (Facebook Live)
Interview in a garden with a gardener
Points of View (Recorded Zoom)
Interview with volunteers and green partners