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Gardening and More: National Garden Festival receives prestigious, international award

WINNERS CIRCLE ­— Sally Cunningham, pictured, second from left, director of the National Garden Festival, along with Jim Charlier and Ed Healy, members of the National Garden Festival’s board, accepted an award, on behalf of the National Garden Festival, at the Garden Tourism Conference in Toronto, in March. Presenting the award were Alexander Reford, left, chair of the Canadian Garden Tourism Council, and Bill Hardy, in the rear, chair of the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association. Photo courtesy of the National Garden Festival.
HAMBURG — The National Garden Festival, which includes Buzz Around Hamburg, as well as other gardening events in the Southtowns, has received an honor: an international award.

In March, the National Garden Festival was among garden festivals from around the world, to be recognized at the Garden Tourism Conference in Toronto. Other award recipients traveled from Japan, France, Portugal, Italy and Australia, as well as from across North America.

“More and more eyes, around the world, are being opened to the fact that Buffalo is a premier gardening tourism destination,” said Sally Cunningham, director of the National Garden Festival organization.

The National Garden Festival was named the promotion of the year at the Garden Tourism Conference. The Garden Tourism awards are presented to organizations and individuals who have distinguished themselves in the development and promotion of the garden experience as a tourism attraction.

This award is a huge honor for everyone involved: the leaders of the National Garden Festival, the volunteers who donate their time and energy to the individual events and the gardeners who open up their gardens to visitors. We should all be proud of what we and our neighbors have accomplished.

Upcoming features of this year’s National Garden Festival include:

Buzz Around Hamburg Garden Walk & Fair
Buzz Around Hamburg Garden Walk & Fair is one of more than a dozen garden walks to be held, this year. Buzz Around Hamburg will be held from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 13 and 14. The event includes a garden vendor fair, as well as the garden walk.

Visitors can pick up maps for the garden walk at Memorial Park Bandstand at Lake at Union Streets in Hamburg. The map includes coupons for village restaurants and businesses.

The walk features more than 25 gardens, that vary from formal to whimsical, including sunny poolsides, shady waterfalls, rainbows of perennials, organic vegetables and lush containers.

The organizers of Buzz Around Hamburg suggest that, as you travel through the refurbished business district, you note the roundabouts and bump-outs. Their lush plantings reflect the hard work of the Hamburg Beautification Committee, the many, dedicated volunteers fondly known as the “Beauts.”

Open gardens
The open gardens project is modeled on a tradition in England, in which private gardens are made available to the public, on a particular day, at a particular time.

The gardens of the National Garden Festival are grouped by neighborhood. Open gardens in our area will be held in Hamburg, Holland, East Aurora, Orchard Park, Eden, Lackawanna and South Buffalo. The addresses, as well as the times each is open, can be found at The hours and dates may vary for the different gardens, so be sure to take note of when each garden is open.

Bus tours
A variety of motorcoach tours will be offered, including “Southtowns Bouquet,” which will include the gardens of Mike and Kathy Shadrack of Hamburg, authors of “The Book of Little Hostas: 200 Small, Very Small and Mini Varieties.”

The event will include a luncheon and a tour at Lockwood’s Greenhouses in Hamburg, as well as new private gardens in Hamburg.

This tour is scheduled for Thursday, July 25. When more details are available, they will be posted on the National Garden Festival website.

Garden education
Educational events will include two scheduled at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, located at 4484 Clark St. in Hamburg.

Perennials Day will be held on Saturday, June 22. This symposium will include guest speakers and a luncheon.

Native Plants Day will be held on Saturday, July 6. This symposium will include speakers, a panel and a regional foods luncheon.

The times for the events and other details were not available, at press time.

The National Garden Festival is an event that takes place right in our own backyard, or the backyard of our neighbors! The world is sitting up and taking notice, of this spectacular event. Mark your calendars and make sure you take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

Connie Oswald Stofko is publisher of, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email

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