Potpourri: Gardening tips and news too good to miss

old ladder holds garden plants in Buffalo NY
Photo by Maxine Osiewicz.

Sometimes I have bits of information that I think will interest readers, but each bit is too short for a whole article. I save them up until I have enough to offer you a potpourri of news. I hope you find something that interests you.

Add height to your garden with an old ladder

Maxine Osiewicz of Clarence had an old wooden ladder that was no longer safe to use. Instead of throwing it away, she secured it to her garden shed and used it as shelves for shade-loving annuals.

Originally, Osiewicz’s idea was to use the ladder as a trellis for clematis, but she realized the area was too shady for that. That’s when she decided to go with pots of colorful coleus and impatiens.

To hold the pots in place, she drove a long skinny nail through each step of the ladder. The pots have small holes in the bottom, and she set one hole over the nail. Osiewicz arranged the pots so that they would line up neatly.

She notes that if you have a different space, you could hang the ladder horizontally.

The plants were doing well until the deer discovered them. Osiewicz sprayed the plants with deer repellent and they grew back.


Rain barrels are free to qualifying organizations

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper is donating rain barrels to qualifying organizations.

You must have an external gutter system with a downspout to divert runoff  into the rain barrel. Priority sites are high visibility sites and low-income residential communities including key public buildings, government offices, community gardens, schools and education centers in low-income communities within the Buffalo and Niagara River watershed. Private residential buildings are not eligible for this program.

Get more information and an application.


Check out native plant garden in Lewiston

yellow wood sorrel in Lewiston NY by Donna Brok
Photo by Donna Brok.

If you enjoyed our article last week on native woodland plants, you might enjoy a visit to the small, shady native plant garden at the Lewiston Museum, 469 Plain Street, Lewiston. The plants are labelled with markers so you know what’s what.

Donna Brok did a great article about the garden on her blog Garden Walk, Garden Talk and featured many wonderful photos, including the photo of the yellow wood sorrel above right. I had seen this pretty flower in my neighbor’s lawn and thought it would make a pretty garden plant.

“This plant is considered a weed by most,” Brok wrote, so I don’t think my neighbor will mind if I dig up a few for myself. Yellow wood sorrel might work in a shady part of my yard or in a pathway.

“It is tough and can withstand some light foot traffic,” Brok wrote. “It grows robustly in a variety of conditions, including degraded habitats. What it does not like is competition with taller plants.”

The business office of the Lewiston Museum is open year round during normal weekday business hours, and the Exhibit Hall is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday during June, July, and August, or by appointment.


Mischler’s named Small Business of Year

The Amherst Chamber of Commerce named Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses the recipient of its Small Business of the Year Award for 2012.

Mischler’s  employs local residents, provides exceptional customer service, offers unique services and keeps commerce buzzing within the community, said Caitlin Campbell McNulty, the Chamber’s director of advocacy and communications.

Frank Mischler, president of Mischler’s, and Mark Yadon, vice president, will accept the award at a luncheon presented by the Chamber and First Niagara Bank on May 18.


Western New York Land Conservancy receives grants

The Western New York Land Conservancy will receive two grants totaling $48,400 from the Conservation Partnership Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Land Trust Alliance.

One grant will enable the Western New York Land Conservancy to begin the implementation phase of a multi-year Niagara Escarpment Legacy project intended to protect and restore approximately 320 acres of private and public lands along the Niagara Escarpment.

The other grant will enable the Land Conservancy to complete current condition reports and management plans for two properties in preparation for national land trust accreditation.


Town of Amherst no longer selling compost

The Town of Amherst Compost Facility will no longer be selling compost, wood mulch or soil blend products at the facility. If you have any questions, you can call the facility at (716) 689-1280.

4 Comments on “Potpourri: Gardening tips and news too good to miss

  1. Doesn’t matter to me who’s right or wrong. Just another example of beauty in nature.

  2. I love the old ladder idea for a vertical garden!
    I will be watching for someone tossing one in the trash : )

    Kristen, I believe, was on the right path with the picture of the wood sorrel. When I looked at it I said, that looks just like the “Fig Buttercup” I collected growing wild in the Deveaux Woods in Niagara Falls. They are a beautiful plant, early blooming with a very bright yellow flower. I have them planted in an enclosed area of my yard for safe keeping! Check Google Images for both and I think you will agree. Even the experts get it wrong from time to time. In any event it is a lovely native plant and nice addition to any local garden!

  3. This is what the plant was designated in the garden. The group that put this garden together was very knowledgable, so I can only go on what it was marked. I did check it out online and saw yellow wood sorrel that matched this plant. It did not appear to be invasive in the shaded garden although is known to be vigorous in preferred habitats.

  4. The picture of “wood sorrel” looks a lot like the heart shaped leaves and buttercup-like flower of the HIGHLY invasive lesser Celedine, which is often called marsh marigold — though the true native, marsh marigold is a bit different. Are you sure this isn’t the invasive one?

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