As visitors enter the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, they are greeted by the 67-foot Palm Dome that is full of palms and tropical fruit trees. The warmth of the greenhouse is a welcome reprieve during colder months in Buffalo, while additional outdoor gardens bloom in the summer.
Several ecosystems are on display, including the Florida Everglades, the cloud forests of Panama and American and African deserts. Yet the centerpiece of this dazzling oasis is a 30-foot waterfall. Designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted, the dome was built in 1897, making it one of the oldest botanical gardens in the country and a treat for architecture lovers.
The beautiful Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens — Photo courtesy of Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
There is always something going on at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, and 2014 marks the final phase of a two-year effort to expand the current offerings and invite new visitors to this impressive attraction. Several of the garden houses have been completely rebuilt, and exciting programs and exhibitions are being introduced.
One of the recent additions is the medicinal garden, which aims to educate the public about medicinal plants like ginseng, turmeric and other cancer-fighting plants. The area will also create a calming place for spiritual healing, meditation and reflection.
The new Wegmans Family Garden (sponsored by Western New York’s favorite grocery store chain) offers an opportunity for kids to learn about the plant world and the importance of eating healthy through hands-on exhibits.
Events like Healthy Smoothie Making, Bird Feeder and Binoculars and Mother’s Day Herb Pots encourage families to bring little ones to the gardens. Adults will find everything from horticulture and drawing classes to yoga in the gardens and Victorian tea gatherings. The Arcangel Gallery displays an evolving exhibit of nature-themed photography, with many images taken within the gardens themselves.
The gardens, illuminated at night — Photo courtesy of Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
If you stop by for a visit, one-hour guided tours are led through twelve greenhouses, with many of the exhibits changing seasonally. During much of the winter, the colorful Poinsettia Show takes the spotlight, along with a few holiday surprises. On select evenings, the gardens stay open late for Night Lights at the Gardens, for stunning, illuminated photos of the tropical atmosphere.
From June 21 through August 4, 2014, the annual National Garden Festival gets underway in Buffalo. It is a combined effort between several local organizations, including the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens and Garden Walk, a collaboration of 380 gardens that extends nearly five miles from Delaware Park to downtown Buffalo.