Buffalo is better known for its long, snowy winters than its flowering gardens. Yet last year, GardenWalk Buffalo, a free self-guided tour that bills itself as the largest garden tour in America, attracted an estimated 45,000 people to 300-plus gardens.
After learning about GardenWalk Buffalo from a Plain Dealer article last summer, Clevelanders Jan Kious and Bobbi Reichtell decided to make the trek northeast. Walking around the city and talking to its impassioned urban gardeners soon changed their views of the city. They returned to Cleveland inspired to create a GardenWalk event locally.
Those seeds first sown in Buffalo will bear fruit this Saturday, June 25th, when the first GardenWalk Cleveland takes place. It will feature over 100 residential flower gardens as well as community gardens, urban farms, vineyards and orchards sprinkled throughout four Cleveland neighborhoods: Detroit Shoreway, Harvard/Lee/Miles, Hough and Tremont. Each community will have a headquarters where visitors can find car parking, bike parking, restrooms, water and maps.
In addition to highlighting Cleveland’s efforts to create greener, healthier neighborhoods, organizers hope the event will also break down east/west and black/white divisions by bringing together people that love gardening.
Citing the diverse, grassroots group that came together to organize the event as a harbinger of success, Reichtell stated in a release, “This is a shining example of the connections that gardens and greening work create in Cleveland,” she said. “Both Clevelanders and visitors from outside the city will love getting a behind-the-scenes look at gardens and farms in Cleveland’s neighborhoods.”
Fresh Water Cleveland, 6/23/11