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Garden Tour participants share tips

KENMORE - For visitors of Ken-Ton’s 11th annual Garden Tour, last weekend’s event was a chance to see a wide variety of flowers and plants in different shapes, sizes, and colors. However, for gardeners, it was also an opportunity to communicate and share tips with other green-thumbed community members.

During the event, which ran on July 20 and 21, gardeners opened up their yards to the public, shared their unique experiences, and gave advice to residents who may participate in this colorful tradition in the future.

According to Vicki Miller of Nassau Avenue, one who is just starting out should remember that gardening, like art, is subjective. She advised new participants not to be nervous when showcasing their masterpieces.

“I think people refrain from participating in the Garden Walk because they’re afraid of what people will think or say, and it’s not like that. It’s a great weekend, you meet wonderful people, and you share tips and you learn tips,” she said.

Many other participants of the Garden Tour also said an important part of gardening is networking and sharing things with others. This was especially true for those who were starting out, such as Denis Uminski of Columbia Boulevard. He said he took many gardening tips from his neighbor, Lynn O’Connor.

“I take my lead off of Lynn next door. She’s been doing this for years, and we watch her decorations increase and so on, she’s constantly searching for new things and so we’re starting to follow her example,” Uminski said.

O’Connor’s advice to gardeners was simple: “buy only what you love.” She commented that people often put a great deal of thought into their gardens, without knowing ahead of time what is actually going to grow.

“If it grows, that’s great. If it doesn’t, that’s okay, too,” she said.

For even experienced gardeners, the craft can be a challenge. Some factors, such as weather, are out of human control. Brian Blyth of Delaware Road in Tonawanda said this year’s weather was conducive to growing, but there were challenges.

“It’s actually been good for growing things, it’s just that sometimes the conditions get a little over the top, a little harsh. In general, it’s been good,” he said. “[It] seems to change and you get a long string of hot weather…then we ended up with that storm the other day.”

As an experienced gardener, Blyth advised people to realize gardening is about much more than just throwing water on a plant and hoping it will grow, adding that it is important to use fertilizer for the best results.

“A lot of people don’t realize that when they plant stuff, they have to feed it, fertilize it…we mulch all of our gardens, so then we don’t have to weed so often,” he said.

Blyth and his wife, Linda, showed off a large garden with approximately 1,500 individual plants. However, the biggest gardens do not start that way, and everyone must start somewhere, much like any other hobby.

“We started small, and just eventually our garden evolved,” he said.

Shelly Martin, a resident of Columbia Boulevard, expressed similar sentiments.

“Start small, have a vision, talk to people who are in the know, and just experiment,” she said.


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