Dr. Joshua Smith of Serene Gardens on Grand Island Boulevard is hoping the Grand Island Garden Tour will open some horizons when it debuts July 6 and 7, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
"It's the first time Grand Island's been a part of the national garden tour," Smith said. "It's all free for everyone to join as well as free for everyone to visit the tour, visit the houses."
Patrons can conduct self-guided tours of participating Island homes and their gardens. Maps are still being developed and can be picked up at Serene Gardens, 2800 Grand Island Blvd.
"Anyone can join," Smith said, calling it a community event. The idea began brewing after discussions with several of the many garden clubs on the Island. The concept is new to the Island, but very popular in Buffalo.
"I think you get a chance to see different styles of gardening. You get into the back yards of a lot of the homes as well," Smith said of a typical tour.
The tour concept will allow garden lovers to cross an imaginary threshold and expand their horizons in garden design and ideas.
"Often you see a nice house with a nice garden, you hesitate to even slowly drive by because it's awkward," Smith said.
"I think (the tour) gives a lot of people ideas and shows them it doesn't have to be standard patterns that you see in a lot of the homes," Smith said. "You don't have to be exactly like your neighbor."
The goal recently has been to get the tour concept going on the Island, Smith said. Hamburg and Lewiston have large garden tours, and "Even areas that don't have their own particular garden tour, there are spots of houses that you can visit. And there is nothing (like that) on Grand Island, so I just got to thinking that we've got how many garden clubs? Which shows there are people living on the Island who are interest in gardening."
Islanders don't have the mentality of showing off their gardens and might be modest and hesitant at first to open up their gardens, Smith said.
"If you go on the Buffalo garden tour, it's all over the place. There's some really million-dollar garden type stuff, and there are some other very basic type things, but it's just sort of become a community event."
A Grand Island tour will have a positive economic impact, Smith added. Tours draw large numbers of people to the area. "The restaurants on Elmwood do phenomenal" during garden tours in Buffalo, Smith said. "Buffalo itself is like No. 1 in the country for garden tours," he said.
Grand Island can feed off that, he stated.