If You Like Gardens… Garden Walk Season is Here

Grand Island


The garden walk season has started in upstate NY and there are over one thousand gardens to visit. All July and into August, if you like gardens, I will have gardens. I take you to big name public gardens early in the season, but as summer kicks in, the small private gardens open their garden gates to visitors.

I went on my first walk of the season this past weekend on Grand Island and was a bit disappointed in general. Understandably, it is their first year under new management so it can only get better as time goes on hopefully.


Unfortunately, new management is sometimes what destroys a good thing like it did for the Orchard Parkway Garden Walk when the Business Association decided to grab it out from under the Neighborhood Block Club running it. In turn, they made it a failing endeavor sadly.

It is coming up at the end of this week, and I doubt there will be anything of interest to show. But five other communities have garden walks and I will make sure to get to some of them. I was in North Carolina for last year’s Historic Niagara Falls Garden Walk, but I heard it really bombed out.


There were only five gardens to visit on Grand Island with a few designed by a landscape company and as you would expect, they included typical trees and shrubs and a lot of mulch.


The first garden I visited had a small area landscaped, but the owner did it beautifully all by herself. She is an artist and her garden showed her artistic eye. The first eight images are from Joann’s garden. I was glad she was the first I saw.


We had a long talk as I told her of my artistic pursuits and the fact I have a blog. I explained how my blog is not for my architecture business and my landscape clients have no clue I write and photograph for posts. This is by design I explained because as a naturalist at heart, I have an affinity for weeds and natural scapes. It is in opposition to what many clients want on their properties, so I keep quiet on my own personal views.


My new friend, Joann the artist, said she has this affection for weeds as well. We talked about how beneficial it is to the wildlife and she told me of a photographer friend that shot beautiful images in the marsh similar to a painted scene. I told her I do this as well. Joann lives near the wetland I keep taking you to see egrets and heron.


Joann grows gourds and turns them into really beautiful art pieces. I especially liked the one with the horsehair necklace. At $100 this was a reasonable price for her work. Others on the table were a bit cheaper.

Below, the mouse in the rowboat showed her whimsical side. I loved this metal piece.


The following images are from the other gardens I visited on the Grand Island tour.

GIGardens GIGardens-8 GIGardens-6 GIGardens-5 GIGardens-4 GIGardens-3 GIGardens-2

I will be visiting more gardens in the weeks to come. Next post is a question raised on time spent blogging brought up by a fellow blogger at the Garden Bloggers Fling. I thought to address it with my thoughts. I tell you how I tackle the time issue.

At week’s end, you will see my garden and I will have a few more words on the garden walk held in Niagara Falls. I do not participate though.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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56 Responses to If You Like Gardens… Garden Walk Season is Here

  1. Loved my stroll! Thanks for adding such beauty!

  2. An artist’s touch is seen in everything they do. I love the gourd art! I find that once I started visiting a lot of gardens I tend to see the same plants over and over. I like to see gardens that either use plants in a clever combination, that compliment the landscape well or serve a purpose. Often times what sets a garden apart on these walks are the whimsical touches that are unique to that garden. I don’t know about you, but I become more critical the more gardens I visit.

    • It is true on the same plants, especially because of the time of year the walks are held. But there are some hybridizers on the circuit which showcase new varieties of daylily and hosta for instance. Other folks push the planting zone limits and have plants not often seen in our area. It seems a bit competitive with some of the gardeners too on what they can pack into gardens. You will see “gardens that either use plants in a clever combination, that compliment the landscape well or serve a purpose,” throughout the Buffalo gardens. Many of my previous posts on these garden have some clever plantings. I am a bit critical of gardens I visit because of my profession. It is why I noted the landscaper designed gardens. Very vanilla…

  3. Pat says:

    Beautiful gardens. I love the sculptures.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I like the first garden. You can tell she has an artistic eye.

  5. I went on the GI tour too. I feel bad for the organizers because their enthusiasm before hand was obvious and genuine. They had almost 20 signed up and about 15 backed out! Most of the 5 gardens were not stellar, but maybe they’ll have garnered enough interest to keep it going next year.

    • I did hear of the challenges that this young man had in putting this walk together. It is a shame he did not get more participation and help. I offered to help him out with advice should he think to do it next year. Signage and promotion were sorely lacking.

      What impressed me on the nursery, was not so much the nursery stock or the way they merchandised the store (both need improvement), but the idea to combine it with an Asian inspired restaurant. I thought this a nice combination. I would have liked to see them have demonstration gardens so folks could walk through after a meal and the chef could go out in the garden for fresh produce. It would be like the public gardens that do this only on a small/intimate scale. I see so much potential for this nursery with their idea….

  6. buemichl says:

    wonderful photos of a wonderful garden. Michael

  7. Such fun!! Especially love the row boat and frog parking! So clever. Love to see the pure creative touch others lend to their gardens! Thanks for the inspiration! Paula

  8. rebecca says:

    Garden walks are favorite activities for my husband and me. In all the years we’ve enjoyed them, we’ve not had too many disappointing ones. I look forward to your upcoming posts!

    • Thanks Rebecca. You will see some really different gardens. One thing Buffalo is known for is their wild garden adornments. Many artists in Buffalo and they create some really cool garden items, always with unexpected materials too.

  9. Mac says:

    Lovely. And those gourds are wonderful!

  10. I always save your posts for my breaks, my daydreaming moments!
    Said it before, but thank you for this my dear!

  11. Reblogged this on jayalekshmijgd and commented:

  12. I love the art pots !! and the gardens ofcourse !!

  13. Sue says:

    Every summer I get together with a group of gardeners I met on the internet for a long weekend of public and private garden touring, nursery crawling and other miscellaneous frivolity. In 2011 our destination was Garden Walk Buffalo. What a fabulous event and great way to get people into the city! Naturally on a tour of that magnitude there are good and not so good gardens but overall we came away with a positive take. Garden walks are the best.

    • I find Buffalo to have almost all unique, fun gardens. It is out in the suburbs where you get much of the bland gardens, but I will take viewers to some very beautiful gardens in the burbs.

  14. I generally don’t go on garden walks. I tend to find them disappointing, but maybe I need to try some different ones. I do like some of the garden art, it can be difficult to find pieces I like that seem at least a little original.

    • San Fran was like a garden walk! Keeyla Meadows was similar to some of the Buffalo gardens with artist gardeners. Buffalo has spaces like that with every inch of space planted and garden art throughout. It is hard to get into those gardens for photos, and I did not see any on the open gardens preceding Garden Walk Buffalo. I have to ask if they were on the bus tour I missed when I went to San Fran. I have photos from previous years if I don’t get to them this year due to the crowds. I don’t think I ever posted those gardens either. Riot of color and texture.

  15. You are right; Joann’s garden has a soul! I liked the reflection of the mouse in the window as well! Thanks so much for letting us walk with you!

  16. What an adorable garden you got to visit. Love your photos and hope the owner got to enjoy them as well.

  17. Reblogged this on barbsburnttree and commented:
    Beautiful….so pleasing to the soul…

  18. flora says:

    awesome , beautiful gardens Donna…wish I can visit them too!

  19. What a difference between Californian gardens and your area’s. hanks for sharing your garden visits. Looking forward to your next post about an important topic.

    • The plant material was the greatest difference. A few of the garden styles can be found here, but not the plants unless potted. The next post looks at a question posed at the Fling, not to everyone, but one I thought was important. It addresses how much time we spend on the web and looks at a weird reason that may be drawing us in. I also tell why my posts are fast and not very time consuming, unless of course it is a researched post – they take time.

  20. Thank you for the wonderful tour! I am always looking for gardens to visit and I appreciate your knowledge and honesty about each one. Being recently retired from one job I look forward to visiting more places and I love how you point out all the gardens there are to see! Looking forward to more.

    • I try to be honest. I usually don’t say anything bad about gardens because there is always something worth a longer look. Not all garden styles are what we as designers would do or find appealing, but part of being a designer, is being open to what a client wants. If it is kitsch, we make spaces to feature it and let the home owners go wild.

  21. Patty says:

    I have marked the Buffalo Garden Walk on my calendar but am not sure I will be able to go in the end. I went to a small one in my area a couple of weeks ago and it is always interesting seeing what people do. Joann’s gourds are very impressive. If I still had my shop I would have sold them!

    • That is too bad you will miss Garden Walk Buffalo. I have not gone every year because I hit many gardens during the open garden days preceding the event on Thursdays and Fridays. If you wanted to do that, I could get a book for you that lists the gardens opened. Or better yet, you could contact Jim from Art of Gardening, to get you one. They cost $8 US. Not all the gardens I am familiar with (Jim is), and many are new to the Festival, but it is always fun to see what is happening in these personal spaces. Last year I went to some pretty remarkable open gardens. I am sure I will stumble on a few not quite my cup of tea though at some point.

  22. That first garden was fun to see–thanks for sharing. The gourd art, for sure, is very unique. I know what you mean about preferring a “natural” garden. Sometimes I feel like I’m out of place in my neighborhood, because some people want everything just so, and placed in straight lines. Much of my garden is actually a forest, so that part is where I go to simply explore and observe. Thanks, again, for taking us along on the tour!

  23. Barbara says:

    I would love to experience a GArden Walk like that – the additional sculptures are just amazing. Love the mice in boat!

  24. janechese says:

    I love how the greens follow the flow of the supports(archway, fences, etc. The gourds are truly beautiful.

  25. A.M.B. says:

    I’m sorry to hear that the first walk was a disappointment! I hope the next one is an improvement. Great pictures in this post, as usual!

  26. lucindalines says:

    Love that information on the gourds. I have some drying out from last summer, hope to get them painted soon. Will need to share my amateur work.

  27. I really loved Joann’s garden and those gourds are just gorgeous. The blue one was calling my name! I have not heard about gardens open around here.

  28. I loved the naturalness of Joann’s garden, and her art pieces from gourds are exquisite!

  29. Fergiemoto says:

    Lovely garden! I like taking a stroll through these beauties!

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