A project more than a year in the making will be officially opened to the public over the holiday weekend at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. A restored greenhouse space within the complex is home to a new aquatic garden and Asian garden.
Water began flowing from a redesigned waterfall at the conclusion of a formal dedication ceremony. Guests got their first look at the updated attractions within the restored House 2 and House 3 of the Botanical Gardens complex.
Inside House 2 is an aquatic garden featuring a pond stocked with koi and various plants native to southeastern Asia. The Asian garden adjacent to it includes the waterfall, numerous species of bamboo, ginger, orchids and bonsai, statues of Buddha, a tea house and an archway.
"The idea is to create an environment that contains exotic and unique plants, plants that we've never had in the conservatory before, and an opportunity for the public to enjoy this experience with nature at the same time that they're experiencing all of the other aesthetic features that are in the facility," said Botanical Gardens president and CEO David Swarts.
The new displays will be available for public viewing beginning Saturday, January 14. Admission to the Botanical Gardens will be free, Swarts said, while the cost to visit Sunday and on Monday's Martin Luther King holiday will be one dollar per person.
He is hopeful people will return in the future, when the plants have had time to grow.
"There are many new exotic plants in here but it doesn't look overly lush," Swarts said. "Whenever you plant something new, it takes a while for them to grow and to reach maturity. Over the next several months to a year, this room will become much more exotic, much more of a rainforest."