Replace Botanical Gardens’ storm-damaged plants & 4 more ways your donation helps

Posted on December 16, 2014 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

Posted on

December 9, 2014

by Connie Oswald Stofko

During the recent Snowvember storm, the wind and the weight of the snow broke 150 panes of glass in two greenhouses at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.

The storm destroyed 154 plants indoors. It will cost roughly $6,000 to replace them. That’s not taking into account damage done to plants outside.

But you can help by making a monetary donation today.

Not only did the Botanical Gardens lose plants in the storm, it lost revenue, making it that much harder to maintain and enhance the collection, explained David J. Swartz, president and CEO.

The storm closed down the Botanical Gardens for several days, so there was no revenue from admissions or from sales in the gift shop on those days. Staff spent time cleaning up the debris before the site could reopen to visitors, so salaries had to be paid on days when there was no revenue coming in.

Your gift can help. You can give online or mail a check to Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Society, Inc., Attn: Development Department, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo, NY 14218.

Here are four more ways your gift can help the Botanical Gardens:

Create a stunning entrance garden.

The Botanical Gardens has been chosen as a site for a Proven Winners Signature Garden. The Botanical Gardens will be working closely with Proven Winners to install plantings that will create exciting new gardens along the front walkway.

But those gardens need to be maintained, and an underground watering system is needed to ensure that the gardens look their best. That will cost about $5,000 or $6,000, Swartz said. Your donation can help that project.

Buy plants for the outdoor healing garden

A Medicinal Garden was created inside the Botanical Gardens a couple years ago and work began this summer on the outdoor Healing Garden. Both aim to give visitors a better understanding of the importance of medicinal plants and how the plants are used in traditional, herbal and modern medicines.

Plants to go into the outdoor garden still need to be purchased for planting this spring.

Restore the domes

While the plants and the programs are a draw for gardeners, the amazing architecture is an integral part of the experience at the Botanical Gardens.

Two of the domes– the Palm Dome or main dome, and the dome in House 11, which you see on your left as you approach the building– need paint and restoration work on the exterior. So far, $110,000 has been raised and $15,000 more is needed, Swartz said.

The Palm Dome had been restored in 2002 and the dome in House 11 had been restored in 2007, but since then, the paint has worn off and the exterior is deteriorating, he said. It’s important to maintain the building because it houses the plants, but it’s important in its own right.

“With its 19th century Victorian design, it’s an iconic structure,” Swartz said. “It’s a treasure. We want to make sure it lasts another 114 years.”

Help programs grow

The good news is that programs at the Botanical Gardens are growing. A group of 11 volunteers recently graduated after undertaking three months of training to become docents. Attendance is increasing.

But all that participation has a flip side, Swartz said.

“As participation rises, so do expenses,” he noted.

If you enjoy the exhibits, events, classes and workshops of the Botanical Gardens, you can help make sure they continue by making a gift.

Go to the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens’ website and click “Support” to see more ways you can help.

WGRZ TV Story - Behind the scenes at a jewel of the Queen City

Posted on November 11, 2014 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

Behind the scenes at a jewel of the Queen City
Aired November 7, 2014
On 11 acres in Buffalo's South Park sits a jewel in the Queen City's crown, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.


Docent Graduation 2014

Posted on November 10, 2014 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens congratulates the 11 members of the 2014 docent class as they set out on their mission of educating Gardens visitors of all ages on the wonders of the plant world.

The ceremony will be held Thursday, November 13th at 11am followed by a potluck lunch. New docents will first participate in a mini-tour led by fellow docents-in-training before graduating from the docent program. The docent graduation is a celebration of their efforts and accomplishments. After this, all 11 graduates will be ready to perform the full duties of a docent here at the Gardens.

Docents are friendly, knowledgeable volunteers who conduct the various educational programs at the Gardens. Docents lead guided tours, hands-on programs for school groups, and much more. Each docent undergoes approximately sixty hours of training over a 10 week period. Thirteen of the Gardens’ current docents served as mentor docents to the new trainees.

Docents must be at least 18 years of age, complete the docent training course and have a passion for gardening and plants. Our next docent training session begins in September of next year.

Economic Impact of Western New York's Not-for-Profit Cultural Industry

Posted on November 07, 2014 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

Economic Impact of Western New York's Not-for-Profit Cultural Industry


The not-for-profit cultural sector in Western New York is the subject of many accolades, the producer of many accomplishments, and a key contributor to the region’s resurgence. These things are well-known, yet every once in a while we need to quantify our impact, and so you have before you an economic impact report of both the organizations themselves and their audiences.

A bit of context is important with any report like this. The years focused on are 2009-2013; this was a time period during and immediately following not only a period of economic concern in the community, but also a severe cut in public funding in Erie County. With that in mind, it is easy to understand that many organizations had to cut back in staff and spending. Yet it is also important to note that artistic accomplishment – judged both in total output and quality – remained as high as always and even grew. Further, audience spending was strong. Simply put, the not-for-profit cultural sector showed its resiliency and strength, and the audiences responded.

While you will read of the impact of the 105 organizations included, it’s also worth noting what’s not included. The many for-profit organizations from concert venues to the creative industries are not part of this study, nor is the economic impact from touring productions (the spending of those in the productions, which is distinct from those of the venue or audience).

Finally, while quantifying the economic impact of arts and culture is certainly important, it is only one of the many impacts of the sector, including: Tourism;

  • Education;
  • National and International Recognition;
  • Business and Employee Attraction;
  • Health and Human Services;
  • Veterans Services;
  • History and Heritage; and
  • Service to the Community.

No other sector offers all these impacts, and perhaps most importantly serves to inspire those who enjoy it while reflecting the culture of the people and places of our region. That’s the true impact of arts and culture; but for now, the numbers…

Tod A. Kniazuk
Executive Director
Arts Services Initiative of Western New York, Inc.

Click here for the full report of ASI's Economic Impact Study

Morty the corpse flower has company

Posted on October 03, 2014 by Erin Grajek | 0 Comments

The Buffalo News
By Mark Sommer News Staff Reporter
October 2, 2014

Morty the corpse flower has company
Morty the corpse flower has a friend – and it’s attracting attention at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. The plant isn’t blooming and emitting an odor like that of rotting flesh, as Morty did in August. But the new corpse flower plant – it’s actual name is amorphophallus titanum – is growing. And growing.

The plant stood just 2 feet tall a few weeks ago, and now stands in the Palm Dome at nearly 8 feet, with expectations it will reach 16 to 20 feet in several weeks. It all depends on the size of the corm, which is like a plant’s bulb. “It’s cool to see the other part of the plant’s life cycle, and it’s also pretty amazing because it’s huge, and we don’t have other plants like that in our collection. It’s very dramatic, this plant,” said Erin Grajek, the Botanical Gardens’ marketing director.

Corpse flowers bloom every six to 10 years, and it’s impossible to know for sure when that rare occasion is going to occur, although it could be years away. When Morty bloomed, the Botanical Gardens’ single-day attendance record was broken in successive days.

The Botanical Gardens purchased three of the rare tubers, including Morty, in July from a Massachusetts nursery. Like Morty, the plant with the recent growth spurt is speckled and the top – where the leaf is starting to emerge – is bright green and ruffly in appearance.

The plant looks like a tree, but it’s actually a leaf structure. The leaf structure saves energy to eventually produce the flower. The flower, when it appears, is one of the largest in the world, and because it is rare in captivity, it is seldom seen in a public setting.

Corpse flowers are native to the rain forests of Sumatra, Indonesia, and because they require warm, humid greenhouse conditions, are difficult to grow. The Botanical Gardens had 4,970 visitors during the two days Morty was in bloom, and nearly 9,000 from when it was announced Morty was on display through that weekend.

Morty’s friend does not have a name yet. A naming contest is expected soon.


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