Tonawanda News — GREEN THUMBS: Weekend’s event will feature 62 gardens.
By Jessica Bagley
Sixty-two green-thumbed residents will show off their gardens this weekend as part of the 10th Annual Ken-Ton Garden Tour. The event will take place Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4. p.m., rain or shine.
“It features a gamut of anything you’d expect to see in a really nice garden,” Kevin Leous, the chair of the Ken-Ton Garden Tour Committee, said. “From waterfalls to fountains to sunflowers. It should be really interesting to see what residents come up with.”
This year also marks the second year that the tour will hold a night exhibit, the Saturday Night Lights tour, which will take place from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Twenty-five Ken-Ton residents, up from 18 last year, are slated to illuminate their gardens for the public Saturday night.
The tour covers most of Kenmore and Tonawandaâ€”from the Ellicott Creek area to Kenmore Avenue. A detailed map and garden descriptions can be found at www.kentongarden.com, or at the Town of Tonawanda Aquatic Center.
“We have a new website this year, which was a huge benefit to us,” Leous said. “People were able to sign up online and pay the registration fee online.”
The site’s map also details the exact addresses and description of each garden, including whether they will be participating in the Saturday Night Lights portion of the tour. The descriptions allow the public to pick and choose what they want to see â€” whether it be a koi pond or a rock garden â€” and travel accordingly over the weekend.
Dona Mae Sweet, who will be displaying her garden on Oakvale Boulevard in the town, is excited about the event. She participated in 2005, and wanted to take one more swing at it this year.
“I have over 70 perennials, and annuals, too, to add some color,” Sweet said. “Our backyard is our vacation.”
The Ken-Ton Garden Tour began as the Tonawanda Treasure Spots Program in 2002 as a program that allowed residents to nominate the best-maintained commercial and civic properties in the town. However, the progam’s mission was changed when The Buffalo News mistakenly advised residents to recommend residential properties.
In the next few days, there was an outpouring of interest from residents, who called to nominate neighbors’ residential gardens. In just three weeks, the committee changed the event to focus on residential properties. The event became the second garden tour in the area after Garden Walk Buffalo.
After the third year of the event, residents were invited to register for the event, and the name was changed to Ken-Ton Garden Tour, and it became part of the National Garden Festival, a group of 14 garden walks and tours in the greater Buffalo area.
“We’ve seen significant growth with the tour since the beginning of the event,” Leous said.
Leous said that they are expecting anywhere from 700 to 1,000 people to attend the tour.Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.