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Open Gardens in Western New York

Southtowns Bouquet   |   Buffalo-Delaware District   |   Buffalo-Elmwood Village & Allentown
Buffalo-Parkside  |  Northtowns East  |   Northtowns West  |   Hamburg  |   Lancaster
Niagara Trail |   East Aurora/Holland   |   Buffalo-Cottage District & Kleinhans   
  South Buffalo   |   Lakeshore   |   Public Gardens

Our Open Gardens project is modeled on the successful, long-standing tradition of Open Gardens in England. 
Private gardens are graciously made available to the public on a particular day at a particular time. 
Visitors are allowed to simply drop by.  Our Open Gardens are listed below by neighborhoods. 
Please note the specific day and time that the garden is open.


The Delaware District offers a splendid array of architecture and green spaces. Highlights include the magnificent Bidwell Parkway, designed as part of a comprehensive Buffalo parkway system by Frederick Law Olmsted, and large mansions up and down Delaware Avenue, many built by such well-known architects as McKim, Mead, and White, E. B. Green, and Esenwein & Johnson.

Delaware Park, the centerpiece of Olmsted’s Buffalo park network (planned and implemented by Olmsted and his partner Calvert Vaux 1868-98) can be seen along Rumsey Road, which borders its southwestern edge. Walkers can easily visit the Delaware Park rose garden as well as the Japanese garden on the other side of Hoyt Lake, near the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.

Frederick Law Olmsted designed a system in Buffalo where several parks were connected by parkways; the parkways were designed to accommodate both horseback riders on their central medians and vehicles on the paved roadways. Bidwell Parkway and Chapin Parkway, as well as the circles at Soldiers Place and Gates Circle are part of the system, leading north to Delaware Park. Although visitors are unlikely to see many horseback riders, the broad, gracious medians intended for them are still part of Bidwell and Chapin Parkways.

Adams Garden
  • The Garden of Bruce and Renee Adams:
    533 Auburn, Buffalo, NY 14222
    (Near Richmond in Elmwood village)

    Open Hours: Thursdays, 2-6

    The landscaping that occupies virtually every inch of our micro-yard is no overnight TLC makeover. It’s been in a constant state of change since 1977. We turned a no man’s land of muck and debris between houses into a gated enclosed area, expanding our tiny yard into a somewhat larger L-shape. This side area is the final resting place for all sorts of excess random objects and building materials. Each year, ground cover gradually envelops stacked brick, stone, marble slabs, and potted house plants. A bowling ball rests on a stone perch. A plaster torso leans decaying against the wall. A painting hangs over the neighbor’s window. We call this our “lost ruins.”

    Two-by-four foot slabs of blue-gray slate form a patio and walkway. Elevated flower beds and other split-level features add vertical contrast. Other materials fall into the general category of “obtainium,” which is to say anything that we could scavenge for free, like gathered stones and medium sized boulders that we somehow managed to hoist into the van, momentarily suspending of the laws of physics. A lightening quick AM raid on a demolition site provided dozens of bricks that otherwise would have ended their days as landfill. These were reset last years after 25 years. Two massive sandstone slabs were liberated from a soon-to-be demolished masonry fence on Elmwood.

    Within our rectangular flowerbeds, chaos reigns. We toss bulbs and bury them where they land. Over time we’ve added numerous containers and then shelves high on the house for more plants. It has been a never-ending battle to identify plants possessing the unique quality of being able to survive in shade as neighboring trees grow taller every year. In our one semi-sunny spot, monster-sized Stargazer and Casa Blanca lilies put on an annual July show. Hanging planters of fuchsia and wave petunias are good annuals. And we have luck with hostas and cannas, both in pots, but then who doesn’t? We also have several rare potted scadoxus multiflorus, a jungle plant that grows in shade and blooms in late July with a spectacular globe of orange flowers. Our property incorporates one of Buffalo’s earliest curbside rock garden patches – a rare thing when we did it in 1977.

    Our multi-tiered koi pond presented numerous engineering challenges. An elevated adjoining pond serves as a low maintenance biological filter with a curved water stream that spills into the lower pond in several places. A gentler waterfall plunges over a rocky slope at the opposing end and a third cascade trickles down a rock elevation above the upper pond. An elevated aqueduct stream runs along the fence with several mini-falls, then into the main pond.

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    Charlier Garden
  • The Garden of Jim & Leslie Charlier:
    215 Lancaster Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222
    (One house in from Elmwood)

    Open Hours: Thursdays, 2-6

    The grassless front yard has a columnar apple tree, burning bush, and a cottage garden with dozens of perennials and bulbs, lavender, lilies, gooseneck loosestrife, roses, grasses, hostas, rudbeckia, crocosmia, liatris, horseradish and more. Dripping planted baskets and window boxes of annuals and a lightning shaped lightning rod complete the turreted 1897 Dutch Colonial home. The backyard contains a Harry Potter Garden, an apple espalier “fence” around a raised-bed French potager garden with miniature boxwood and a rose standard, a rock garden with rocks from trips around the world, black cane bamboo, dozens of potted plants and a collection of climbers including Dutchman’s Pipe, akebia, clematis, wisteria, honeysuckle and porcelain vine. There is a brick patio and multi-level deck with a diamond-shaped, dwarf, pear tree espalier, artwork and a hot tub. The heuchera (coral bell) garden has a homemade, copper coral bell fountain. The garden has appeared in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Great Backyards, People Places Plants, and, oddly enough, the Chinese language version of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Buffalo in Bloom award 2005-2012. Visit the blog for this garden at ArtofGardening.org. Easy access, level ground.

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    Irey/Locke Gardens
  • Mary's Garden, The Garden of Annabelle Irey & James Locke:
    75 Lancaster Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222
    Open Hours: Thursdays, 2-6

    Perennials and annuals complement this Victorian home with gardens on all four sides. White picket fence surrounds the main garden known as ‘Mary's Garden’ with crushed brick path and a pond. There is a collection of dahlias and containers with an interesting variety of plants, including tropicals and flowering vines. Features also include a shade garden, an English border, and interesting hardscape. Featured in numerous magazines including People, Places Plants (spring '07), Better Homes & Garden’s Garden Ideas and Outdoor Living (summer '08), Great Gardens, Solutions for Small Places (Jan. '08), Containers Made Easy ('08), Great Backyards ('09), Garden Gate and the Garden Walk Book and DVD. Easy walking, wheelchair accessible.

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    Humann Garden
  • The Garden of Alec Humann:
    72 Lancaster Avenue, Buffalo, NY

    Open Hours: Thursdays, 2-6

    The garden was originally laid out in 1992. A few of the original plants were kept, a pond was installed and the garden beds were all reformatted to fit the new spaces. Outside the fenced portion, a perennial bed extends into the front lawn as a peninsula. This garden is color-packed with popular perennial species and is anchored to the front of the house by mixed hydrangeas, a columnar beech and an original-to-the-house, five-leaf Aralia and Eleutherococcus hedge. To the right of the front walk there is a row of “Annabelle” hydrangeas tucked inside a clipped boxwood rectangle. Inside the fence, color is kept simple so as to not compete with the perennials out front. Most of the flowers are white or nearly so. Viburnum, dogwood, clethra, lacecap hydrangea, columnar holly and shaped boxwood all share this small urban space. Climbing roses and honeysuckle adorn the trellis sections and main arbor of the fence. Native species are mixed in to help provide food and shelter for birds-of which more than 106 species have been recorded in the vicinity.

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    Finley Garden
  • The Garden of Lucinda Finley:
    815 W. Ferry Street, Buffalo, NY 14222
    (Near the corner of Delaware)

    Open Hours: Thursdays, 2-6

    This garden features lush English-garden-style mixed borders in the front and on the side, with a private oasis of patios and colorful containers complementing more perennials in the rear. Perennials, grasses, bulbs, roses, shrubs, clematis and unusual specimen trees are seamlessly blended together, all planned so that something is always in bloom. The borders will reward those who linger and study them carefully, for they feature several unusual varieties, and areas of different color palettes.

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