Tonawanda News

June 17, 2014

GARDENFEST: Escarpment homeowner is among the 18 gardens open to visitors during June 21-22 event.

Escarpment home is among the 18 gardens open for Lewiston Gardenfest

By Michele DeLuca
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Greg Gima never planned to buy a home in Lewiston.  

He and his wife had looked at the house on a lark just before Christmas. But as soon as he saw the home’s setting, nestled up next to the the escarpment among the trees, the lifelong gardener  knew he had to have it.

Since then, he has been working on the gardens surrounding the home and is so enthusiastic about the results that he is welcoming visitors to see his efforts during the two-day Lewiston Gardenfest, which opens Saturday.

The former East Amherst resident says he has found a gardener’s “nirvana.” 

“The problem with trying to garden in East Amherst is you basically spend a lot of money on deer food,” he explained. Beyond that, his new home near the top of the escarpment had a lot more to offer in terms of views.

“It has absolutely incredible views,” he said. “In the living room, looking out the windows, you’re looking at the shelf of the escarpment, with really awesome views of trees and hillsides.”

The father of three sons, Gima, who grew up in Tonawanda, credits his love for gardening to his father, Peter, and has planted annuals in his new backyard because his father used to plant them for his mother, Patricia.  But the younger Gima prefers perennials and has included plenty of those, including salvia, siberian irises, day lilies and an assortment of peonies.

He has also installed two streams and waterfalls with the help of Drew Langston of AI Landscaping, who drew up the plans and enthusiastically dedicated weeks to the design, Gima said.

A manager at Dupont, Gima and his wife, Judy, a nurse, decided to open their home to the public after visiting the Lewiston Region Tour of Kitchens and Homes last year. They enjoyed the experience so much that they participated in Tour of Kitchens and Homes last week, and are among the 18 gardens open to the public during the Gardenfest, including 11 at The Gardens at Oxbow, a housing development just off Center Street.

“Being new to Lewiston, it’s a great way to meet people,” Gima said. “Hopefully I’ll meet some fellow gardeners.”  

He’s likely to, as Gardenfest chairwoman Barbara Landree said the event continues to grow each year, raising increasing amounts of money to beautify the public spaces in Lewiston. Last year, the eighth annual Gardenfest raised about $6,000, she said, adding that club members hope the money raised this year will be enough to refresh several of the pocket parks on Center Street.

“Our visitors love coming to Lewiston because our pots are so beautiful,” Landree said, noting the club has placed 120 large flower pots along Center Street, as well as many hanging pots. 

The club also maintains three pocket parks on Center Street, as well as helping to maintain the flowers at the Historical Museum and at the Lewiston Public Library.   

The festival includes demonstrations from master gardeners and floral society representatives, along with more than 50 vendors selling flowers, plants, garden art and more to beautify one’s outdoor space. 

The Garden Talks are scheduled for both days of the event at the community tent located in the center of the festival route. At 11 a.m. Saturday, Mark Yadon of Mischlers Florist will demonstrate techniques for perennials in containers. At 2 p.m. Saturday, Connie Oswald Stofko, publisher of, presents “Get Crafty in Your Garden.” 

At 11 a.m. June 22, Bob Brachikawski from Opportunities Unlimited presents “Herbs from Garden to Kitchen.” Landscape professional Colleen Gaskill will show how different color tones and textures of plants can complement each other at 2 p.m. June 22 in her demonstration.

Also, representatives from Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Hosta & Daylily Society and the Iris Society will answer gardening questions throughout the weekend and Cornell Cooperative Extension provide soil sample analysis.

There will be a container garden contest in which participants are asked to bring their small gardens in a planter or container, along with a stand for display, to the hospitality booth at 4th and Center streets by 9 a.m. Saturday.  Festival-goers will be able to vote for their favorites throughout the weekend and prizes will be awarded.

IF YOU GO • WHAT: The ninth annual Lewiston Gardenfest, sponsored by the Lewiston Garden Club • WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and June 22 • WHERE: Center Street, Lewiston • MORE INFORMATION: Visit