by Tiffany Hyman
Bring your cameras and experience the breathtaking gardens at the sixth annual Lewiston GardenFest, sponsored by the Lewiston Garden Club. The free event takes place on Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the village.
The show offers many stunning displays and fun activities for the keen and casual gardeners. Guests can learn about decorating, various products and see all the unique demonstrations while experiencing the outdoor, summer pastime.
There will be 10 open gardens that expand into the village and town this year.
"GardenFest is the place to be in New York state that weekend," said Marija Vukcevich, public relations coordinator.
"It's a great way to expand the showcase beauty of Lewiston," said GardenFest Chairwoman Barbara Landree.
GardenFest finance and grant writer Barbara Carter added, "Different aspects of gardening are shown into one convenient location."
Carter also said the festival is like no other because the main focus is on the garden and yard.
Along with enjoying the festival and viewing the gardens, come listen to the experts. This year, the show will feature four guest speakers instead of two as in previous years. These experts are master gardeners from Western New York who belong to the Cornell Cooperative Extension. One is a bee specialist, who will discuss the importance of restoring the insect to make honey.
"The speakers create an educational aspect," said GardenFest President Sharon Low.
The garden booths will feature representatives from nurseries, landscapers, garden artists and garden supply vendors. This two-day event includes more than 30 vendors, including Russell's Tree and Shrub Farm, Menne's Nursery, Lavocat's Family Greenhouse and O'Conner Family Greenhouse. Representatives from flower societies and vendors will encourage visitors to ask questions, and maybe even learn a few new ideas for the garden.
Carter explained the vendors will offer soil testing.
"Soil testing will help determine why a plant is not growing properly," she said.
There also will be a garden tour where guests are invited to explore the picturesque gardens of private homes and, of course, the public. One of the entities the GardenFest committee is proud of is the International Peace Garden, located behind the Little Yellow Artisan House on Center Street.
Landree explained the history behind the garden.
"The International Peace Garden was created to honor the international border between the United States and Canada since the War of 1812," she said.
The fun does not stop there. The container gardens competition will be held for the third year. Guests bring their own containers where they display their creativity in an array of gorgeous flowers. The competition is based on uniqueness and is judged by the public. Prizes are awarded to the best.
"Do not limit yourself to a container," said Low. "One year, a woman brought a striking display of flowers in a wagon and she ended up winning."
"We encourage people to make their own unique container and show off their gardening and planting skills," said Carter.
The Lewiston Garden Club was founded in 1927. Its goal is to promote every type of home gardening. Along with beautifying the Village of Lewiston, the club also plants flowerbeds, maintains ravishing gardens and hosts fundraising events. The profits earned are put toward the Beautification Committee, the Lewiston Historical Museum, the Lewiston Public Library and Hennepin Park Gazebo.
Low expressed her excitement for the donations the organization is working on.
"We have done a lot of good with the donations," she said.
Vukcevich added, "All the money goes back into the community."
Last year, the garden club donated $1,000 to the Beautification Committee; $2,000 in scholarships; $1,000 for the flowers for the International Peace Gardens; and the two Low is most proud of: $1,000 toward Hands Together in Haiti and $540 in care packages for troops in Afghanistan.
"It was a great feeling to help the people in Haiti and the troops last year," Low said.
Despite the area's reputable bad weather, Vukcevich, Low, Landree and Carter hope good weather will result in a good turnout.
Of course, "Even though we tend to have bad weather, people come regardless to see the beautiful gardens," said Landree.
Carter added, "Though it rains a lot in Western New York, just remember you cannot have a garden without rain."
On Friday, June 10, Assemblyman John Ceretto and State Sen. George Maziarz will present a resolution honoring the Garden Club. The ceremony is scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. at the Hennepin Park Gazebo.
GardenFest will take place on Center Street. Portions of Fourth and Fifth streets will be closed off for the event.