Hurry, don’t let the bus leave without you!

bus with flowersTours of some of the best gardens in the Buffalo area– led by an expert guide– will be available starting in June, and now is the time to register.

The day-long bus tours have been organized by the Automobile Association in partnership with Horizon Club Tours as part of the National Garden Festival in Buffalo.

The tours will not only give you the opportunity to get an up-close and personal look at some great Western New York gardens, but your guide will be able to point out things you might not have noticed if you were seeing the garden by yourself on a garden walk.

Since it’s a bus tour, you won’t have to scrutinize a map or use your GPS to get yourself from garden to garden, either. There are two convenient locations to board the bus: at the AAA Travel and Insurance Center, 100 International Drive, Amherst, or at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, Two Fountain Plaza, Buffalo. Drop off will be at the same spots. (No, the bus isn’t really painted with flowers, but it is air conditioned!)

Each tour includes an elegant sit-down luncheon.

The five separate tours take place on Fridays and can be part of a fun “staycation” or a long weekend.

You should reserve your seat at least 10 days before the tour is scheduled to take place.

It may be possible to get a reservation after that, but if you wait until the last minute to try to reserve a seat, you may miss out. If a tour doesn’t have the required minimum number of reservations 10 days ahead of time, the tour will be cancelled. That would be a shame, so call your friends today and organize a road trip.

To register or to see more details, go to the Horizon Club Tours site.


Friday, June 24

Forest Lawn Cemetery and the Botanical Gardens – Opening Event for the National Garden Festival

Tour Host: Sandy Starks, Interpretive Program Director at Forest Lawn CemeteryKerry Mendez

Visit: You’ll see the gardens and ancient trees of Forest Lawn Cemetery, tour the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens and  enjoy a“Walk & Talk in the Perennials Garden” with  Kerry Ann Mendez, where you’ll be able to chat with her and ask her questions. Mendez, a frequent contributor to HGTV and many national magazines including Fine Gardening, is the author of The Ultimate Flower Gardener’s Top Ten Lists (2010), and has a really new book—just released this month—on shade gardening.

Lunch: Curly’s Grill

Price: $79 per person


Friday, July 1

Buffalo’s Celebrated Olmsted Parks

Tour Host: Brian Dold of  Buffalo Olmsted Parks ConservancyOlmsted parks in Buffalo NY

Visit: You’ll see all six of the Olmsted Parks (Cazenovia, Delaware, Front, Martin Luther King Jr., Riverside and South) and the parkways connecting them. Learn more about America’s oldest coordinated system of public parks and parkways.

Lunch: The Lunch Box at Parkside Lodge, Delaware Park

Price: $65 per person


Friday, July 8

Southtowns Bouquet

Tour Host: Mike Shadrack, international hosta expert and authorHamburg NY garden on bus tour

Visit: You’ll see the Boston hosta and shade garden of Mike and Kathy Shadrack, who wrote The Book of Little Hostas: 200 Small, Very Small, and Mini Varieties. You’ll also see outstanding private gardens in Hamburg and Eden.

Lunch: Lockwood’s Greenhouses

Price: $75 per person


Friday, July 15

Buffalo’s Famous Private Gardensprivate gardens in Buffalo NY

Tour Host: Jim Charlier, president of Garden Walk Buffalo, and Sally Cunningham, director of the National Garden Festival

Visit: You’ll see selected gardens of the famous Garden Walk Buffalo in the Cottage and Elmwood Village districts. You’ll miss the crowds of the garden walk while seeing some of the most interesting gardens Buffalo has to offer.

Lunch: Cabaret

Price: $75 per person


Friday, July 29

The Darwin Martin House of Frank Lloyd Wright and Private Gardens of Historic Parkside & Amherst

Tour Host: Mary Van Vorst, Master GardenerDarwin Martin House in Buffalo NY

Visit: You’ll see the traditional plantings of the Darwin D. Martin House, which is an architectural jewel and considered by many to be the finest achievement of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. You’ll also see wonderful private gardens in Amherst and Tonawanda.

Lunch: DiGiulio & Company

Price: $79 per person


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