Buffalo’s passion for gardens attracts gardening tourists

view from Amherst Garden Walk 2010
View from Amherst Garden Walk 2010

Everybody in Buffalo and Western New York gardens.

That’s what I decided last year while chatting with a young, single blue-collar guy. When I started talking about this garden magazine, I thought he would announce that he was  in desperate need of some cheese and crackers and wander off.

Instead, he whipped out his cell phone and showed me photos of his garden, which he created with a patriotic theme of red, white and blue.

Some people think of gardening as a pastime for retirees, but glance through our past articles and you’ll see that  young families garden, artists garden and even hospitals garden.

View from Lockport in Bloom 2010
View from Lockport in Bloom 2010

Not only does everybody in Buffalo and Western New York like to garden, we also like to look at other people’s gardens and learn more about gardening. Our passion made last year’s National Garden Festival a success and drew visitors to our area.

The National Garden Festival in Buffalo brought 17 garden walks under its umbrella and tossed in many other events, including the Front Yard Competition, bus tours, talks, workshops and open gardens.

The statistics are in, and organizers estimate that a whopping at 67,000 people attended the events!

View from Parkside Garden Tour 2010
View from Parkside Garden Tour 2010

Most of those people were from Erie and Niagara Counties, but about a quarter of them were from nearby counties, Canada, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. In all, 36 states were represented.

Here are some visitor statistics that bode well for garden tourism and for the local economy:

• 19 percent visited other area attractions while here

• 83 percent ate at least one meal in a local restaurant

• 30 percent did some shopping during their visit

• Average expenditure during their visit was $67.82 per day

Now in its second year, the National Garden Festival in Buffalo will take place from June 24 to July 31. It will include 17 garden walks with 1,000 gardens on display! There will also be bus tours, talks, seminars and special events.

The Front Yard Competition will take place on Newman Place near Cazenovia Park in Buffalo.

We’ll keep you posted as more details are announced.

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