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Beyond Flowers Tour 2015


Sustainability in Action 2015

Date & Time:

Sunday, August 1 / 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Please note that the date in the Open Garden Book is incorrect.  The correct date is Saturday, August 1st.

Via school bus with bathroom stops at noon and 2:00 p.m. No air conditioning.

$35, includes roundtrip transportation, tour guides, and a box lunch

Number of tickets


If you have any questions or problems ordering tickets, please e-mail Mary Van Vorst.
Your receipt from PayPal will include informsation on shipping, returns, etc. Please ignore this, as this is a digital ticket and nothing will be shipped or returned.

Pick-up site:
Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus parking lot
589 Ellicott Street
at Goodell Street
Free Parking


While the city of Buffalo continues to finalize its new Green Code, many innovative projects have already been undertaken in the city, showcasing more effective strategies for taking care of our environment. From a simple community-based rooftop garden to a million dollar project on Lake Erie, Buffalo is committed to reclaiming the space of our industrialized and not-so-environmentally-friendly past. Join us to see what is happening right now and be inspired by the possibilities for the future.

As we visit seven of these exciting sites, you will learn about their history and have the opportunity to speak with each site's lead organizer.

Our first stop will be the Massachusetts Avenue Project (M.A.P.)) Begun more than 20 years ago by residents and then incorporated in 2000, this urban farm now covers more than an acre of reclaimed vacant lots on the West Side. Area teens learn marketable skills through M.A.P.’s Growing Green Program, and the site features two greenhouses, chickens, an indoor tilapia farm and a composting operation. Be sure to check out the short documentary produced by Whole Foods, Grow: The Story of an Urban Farmer.


Right across the street on Massachusetts Ave., P.U.S.H. (People United for Sustainable Housing) has turned abandoned property into an environmentally conscious community gathering spot by creating a park and playground. As they say on their website, “The quickest and simplest way to bring the breath back to a neighborhood street is the ‘clean and green’ lot.” A short bus ride away are the 14th St. Gardens, where five adjacent lots that once held abandoned houses were cleared by P.U.S.H., and are now gardens used by 28 neighborhood families, many of them immigrants.

Out on Fuhrmann Boulevard we will stop at the two-year old Wilkeson Pointe, a former industrial dump site that has been transformed into a natural playground and now showcases wind sculptures and volleyball. A surprise view out over the breakwall awaits at the base of the sculptures.

Our lunch stop will be at the historically significant Mutual Riverfront Park on Hamburg Street, where we will be perfectly situated to take in a view of the world famous grain elevators.


After lunch, we move on to the Broadway Market where we visit gardens ingeniously built on the roof of their parking garage. Although the gardens are all about flowers and vegetables, they are equally about creating community in this diverse neighborhood.

Next up is the Urban Habitat Project next to the Central Terminal on Paderewski Drive. The UHP recently received an Environmental Quality Award from the EPA for its achievement in protecting public health and the environment. Not only is this three acre project beautiful, but it also redirects 320,000 gallons of rainwater away from Buffalo’s aging sewer system and uses splendid swaths of sunflowers to help clean the soil through phytoremediation.

Our tour concludes at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, where we began. Here you will see the largest bio-retention facility in the area, a relatively narrow garden at the south end of the four acre parking lot. Only three years in operation, the site works to divert up to four million gallons of storm water annually from Buffalo’s sewer system, preventing the overflow that dumps sewage into our waterways.


Beyond Flowers Tour 2015 – Self-Guided

Are you the independent type? Or maybe the date of the guided tour doesn’t work for you? Then set your own pace and explore some of Buffalo’s exciting community sustainability projects on a self-guided tour. Though you’ll miss out on the history and the chance to talk with the leaders behind each site, the projects are worth a visit on their own.

Your tour begins on Buffalo’s West Side at 389 Massachusetts Avenue, where tours are available at the Massachusetts Avenue Project (M.A.P.) site, Tuesdays at 4:00 and Saturdays at 10:30, $2 per person (check website to confirm dates/times). Learn about MAP’s Growing Green Urban Farm youth program and its indoor fish farm, compost site, chickens and green houses. Before you leave, be sure to pick up some salsa and chile sauce made and marketed by local teens participating in the Growing Green Project.

Directly across the street is the P.U.S.H. Green Development Zone park and playground. Here, community activists transformed once abandoned lots into Buffalo’s largest publicly owned green space. Just a few blocks away at 309-315 14th St., between Rhode Island and Vermont, is P.U.S.H.’s 14th Street Garden, where five adjacent lots were cleared creating gardens for 28 neighborhood families.


Back into your car or onto your bike, and out to Fuhrmann Boulevard to visit Wilkeson Pointe in Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. Opened in 2013, this “no mow” area was once an industrial dump site. Now it boasts a rain garden and bio swales, sports volleyball courts and kinetic wind sculptures

Then it’s a short ride to 41 Hamburg Street, where you’ll find Mutual Riverfront Park. Pass under an overhead arch created from an ice boom, and enjoy the park’s spectacular view of the world-famous grain elevators. Not far away is Buffalo River Fest Park at 249 Ohio Street. (same website)

Now head over to Buffalo’s Central Terminal at 495 Paderewski Drive to visit the Urban Habitat Project. Part of the Central Terminal Restoration Project (CTRP), this three-acre site received the EPA’s Environmental Quality Award for its achievement in protecting public health and the environment. The site is not just beautiful - it also helps divert rain water from Buffalo’s overworked sewer system and uses sunflowers to clean the soil through phyto-remediation.

Next is the Broadway Market Roof Garden, built on the top of their parking garage, available Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Amidst the lush flowers and vegetables, you’ll enjoy a panoramic view of downtown Buffalo, including Polonia’s “Seven Sisters,” the seven churches that surround the Market.

And finally, downtown at Goodell and Ellicott at the end of the Kensington Expressway, stop to see the largest bio-retention cell in the area at the end of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus four acre parking lot. That relatively narrow plot of trees and plants is designed to handle nearly four million gallons of storm water a year, keeping it out of the easily over-whelmed Buffalo sewers. Continued improvements include solar and wind powered lighting and a bike storage shelter.

East Side Momentum Tour


East Side Momentum Tour
Saturday, August 8, 2015
9 am to 1 pm

School bus; restrooms will be available at the start of the tour at Flying Bison Brewery, and there will be one bathroom stop around 11 a.m. at MLK Park; no air conditioning

$25, includes roundtrip transportation, tour guides, water, fruit, and cookies

Pick-up site:
Flying Bison Brewery, 840 Seneca Street, Buffalo – free parking

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If you have any questions or problems ordering tickets, please e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Your receipt from PayPal will include informsation on shipping, returns, etc. Please ignore this, as this is a digital ticket and nothing will be shipped or returned.

As the mega projects continue in and around downtown Buffalo, equally important work is happening on a smaller scale in other parts of the city, specifically on Buffalo’s East Side.

Fueled by long-time residents, immigrants, and newcomers to Buffalo, the projects range from a modest garden used for contemplation and prayer by the Vietnamese Buddhist community to a garden designed to teach 5th and 6th graders science and art. The impact on community is grand, even when the projects are modest. We will visit eight sites with project leaders at each one to answer questions.

Our tour begins on Fillmore Avenue. Perhaps you’ve noticed the two-story tall Buddha statue on Fillmore near Broadway. Set in a small, lovely garden, the site marks the volunteer efforts of the Vietnamese Buddhist community. In 1997 they bought a vacant police station from the city for $1, and began their work entirely through volunteer efforts to turn it into a Buddhist Temple. or

Next will be the Wilson Street Farm, home of the Stevens family. The family garnered much press in the mid 2000s when they launched their plan to put a farm on 25 lots, nearly two acres, of vacant city property. To their surprise the city preferred to leave it vacant. The Stevens prevailed, and began farming in the spring of 2008. Come hear the story as told by Janice Stevens, mother of seven.

Then on to a community center on Sycamore Street called None Like You / We Care. It’s both outreach and a block club, as well as a garden site. Elizabeth Triggs has lived in the house for 37 years, and started the community organization there 25 years ago. Everyone is welcome, and Mrs. Triggs’ philosophy is that everyone has a skill to offer. For example, in return for kids ages 4-12 getting help with their homework, the kids help with the gardening. In the summer they have outdoor movies in the garden, and volunteers have built handicap-accessible picnic tables for neighbors in wheelchairs. Volunteers come from all over, including UB and Daemen College.

Next is the Pelion Garden on Best Street. Once the site of 4 abandoned houses, the parents of City Honors School across the street conceived of an outdoor learning lab to be used by 5th and 6th grade science and art classes. The garden is used to educate kids and neighbors about: edible plants, pollinators, storm water runoff, invasive species, natives, and the like. You’ll also learn what yarn bombing is about.

Then to a joint venture of the Farmer Pirates and ArtFarms. Set on land owned by the Farmer Pirates, a magnificent oversized wooden table designed and built by the artist Michael Beitz is the first of a number of public art projects planned for the East Side by ArtFarms. The table has been used to sort and sell produce and also as community space for art classes with Locust St. art school. Future ArtFarm sites include the Wilson Street Farm, None Like You, and the Pelion garden.

Our next stop is a crown jewel of the East side, Martin Luther King Park. There’s excellent history at this link. And below are links to suit other media styles.

While most of us have seen the splash pad, few of us know about the compost tea they make there, the green house that grows all of the flowers for the parks, or even the maintained meadow. You’ll also hear about South Fillmore Avenue and its former inclusion in the Olmsted Park system. That is, until sometime around 1920. Locals are working to correct that omission. Keep in mind, Richmond Avenue with its now beautifully tended circles is part of the system, so the inclusion would have a significant impact.

After that is a visit to one of the sites supported by the group which calls itself the Farmer Pirates. The group owns and leases land at several locations on the East side. This one happens to be 6 acres on Gittere Street, where they’ve created a compost operation that distributed 1000 yards of compost in the spring of 2014. You can also find out why the name Farmer Pirates. At this stop you’ll also learn about the Beltine Railway, (photos here / map here). It’s a little known railroad system which once carried passengers around the city and which still circles the city. There were nineteen stops about a mile apart, and for a nickel you could get from one area in the city to any other.

Our last stop is Peoples Park, a pocket park many of you may have driven by and never noticed in the shadow of the Tri-Main Building. Built with the aim of bridging the East side and West side divide, kids ages 9 to 14 from school 61 on Leroy and from school 66 at Parkside & North use the park for programs. They’ve studied animal tracks and skeletons, and in the summer there is a reading circle once a week when kids drop in, read, and take books home. The park has raised beds adopted by organizations nearby like Journey’s End and Aspire.


If neither the date nor thought of a bus tour works for you, check out the sites on your own. On bike or in your car, it’s a morning well-spent. They’re all within a relatively short distance from one another.

Tu Hieu Buddhist Cultural Center – 647 Fillmore Ave
Wilson Street Farm – 360 Wilson Street
None Like You/We Care – 595 Sycamore Avenue
Pelion Garden – 186 East North Street
ArtFarms Table – corner of Michigan and Riley
Martin Luther King Park – Best Street and Fillmore Avenue
Farmer Pirates – compost operation – foot of Gittere Street
Peoples Park – Main Street and Jewett Avenue

Garden Walk Buffalo remains the same great two-day tour. Garden Walk Bufalo Niagara is so much more...


What's your garden pleasure? Touring gardens by motorcoach? Touring gardens on weekdays? Biking to gardens? Buying garden art? Seeing garden art exhibits? Unique specialty tours? Learning more about gardening? Visiting gardens nationally and internationally? The new Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara (GWBN) now does all this and still runs Garden Walk Buffalo (the two-day tour you already know). GWBN also gives grants to block clubs and community groups for beautification projects, and helps PLANT WNY with a public space makeover each year.

Garden Walk Buffalo Niagara is all about creating, providing access to, and promotion of, garden tourism experiences in the Buffalo Niagara region as a catalyst for beautification, education, tourism, community-building, promotion, healthy living, sustainability, and civic pride. Don't forget to visit our Facebook page and "like" it to get updates on what's going on in gardening, year-round, in the Buffalo Niagara region.

Garden Walk Buffalo Announces 2015 Board of Directors Expands Regional Garden Tourism Initiatives

altGarden Walk Buffalo, Inc., the nonprofit organization that hosts America’s largest annual garden tour – Garden Walk Buffalo – announces its newly elected board of directors for 2015.

The newly appointed board is hard at work planning several events, including its signature Garden Walk event, which annually attracts more than 60,000 tourists from around the world to Western New York on the last full weekend in July, with an estimated economic impact of $4.5 million.

Returning Board Members:

Tips from Garden Walk gardeners
Tips from Garden Walk Gardeners :: Garden Walk Buffalo

Vloggers Billy & Pat cover garden tips from Garden Walk Buffalo featuring some Garden Walk Buffalo gardeners...

Looking for more to do in Buffalo Niagara?

altYour one-stop for finding out all there is to do in Buffalo is Visit Buffalo Niagara (VBN). Foodie? History buff? Sports fan? Arts appreciator? Architecture your thing? Professional shopper? Visit Buffalo Niagara partners with all area attractions, festivals, and hotels to help make your visit the most enjoyable it can be – whether it be you on your own, your family, girls weekends, bus tours, or conventions large and small. Even if you're Canadian. Especially if you're Canadian!

Visit Buffalo Niagara has been a great partner to Garden Walk Buffalo for many years, helping to not only spread the word of the Walk outside of the region, but hosting dozens of national garden and travel writers here during and before Garden Walk.

The New York State Regional Economic Development Council awarded VBN a $50,000 grant, which VBN administers, on behalf of Garden Walk, the National Garden Festival and the horticulture tourism sector to promote garden tourism. Media purchases this year have included ads in the Canada Blooms catalog, Canadian Gardening magazine, Upstate Gardener's Journal, TV commercials on WNED, radio sponsorships on WBFO, social media campaigns, media relations efforts, and much more.

Garden Walk Buffalo's 20th Anniversary Commemorative Annual

altIn honor of its 20th year, Garden Walk Buffalo has produced a 60-page, glossy, magazine-style, commemorative annual featuring the gardens of Buffalo. The annual is available for $10

To order a magazine online, visit our online store.

The publication features articles by the region's leading garden writers, including Sally Cunningham, Elizabeth Licata, Connie Oswald Stofko, Rochester's Jane Milliman and more.

It features articles on Buffalo-style gardens, how to dress up your garden for visiting crowds, how to get the most out of a garden tour, tips for small gardens, gardening in Buffalo's urban setting, water features, hellstrips (area between sidewalk and street), other area gardening destinations, hardscape restoration, and much more.

We didn't write the book on garden tourism, but we're in it!

altThe first-ever book on garden tourism, aptly titled Garden Tourism, is out. The book, written by Dr. Richard Benfield, Associate Professor of Geography at the Central Connecticut State University, is an academic tome covering the history of, and the evolving of, garden tourism from early Egyptian times (around 1,500 BCE), to the time the book was published earlier this year. It's exhaustive.

And Garden Walk Buffalo and Buffalo's National Garden Festival were well represented with a page and a half! In the chapter titled "Outdoor Garden Festivals" there is a brief intro on the origins of Garden Walk Buffalo–its byproduct/outgrowth the National Garden Festival–and stats and research data we've collected over the years from zip code collection and consumer surveys with the help and financial support of Visit Buffalo Niagara.

Richard, who has visited Garden Walk Buffalo, and visited Buffalo on other occasions, is a great advocate for the garden tourism efforts we're putting forth.

Garden Walk Buffalo president emeritus, Jim Charlier, wrote an endorsement/quote/review for the back of the book, which reads:

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