How to keep cool in Buffalo and other summer gardening tips

cucumber water in Buffalo NYThe official start of summer is June 20, but the summer weather that we previewed in March seems here to stay.  Here are a couple tips to keep you cool in your Western New York garden this summer, as well as other summer tips.

Cucumber water is refreshing

I tasted cucumber water for the first time last summer at the home of Sharon Heim and David Wahl in Buffalo. As you can see from the photo above, it makes a beautiful presentation.

You simply add sliced cucumbers to cold water. You don’t even have to peel the cucumbers. It makes a surprisingly refreshing drink.

Wahl answered the questions that everyone asks him:

gazebo in Buffalo NY with ceiling fan“It doesn’t take long to steep,” Wahl said, “and it doesn’t repeat on you.”


An electric fan can keep you cool outside

This tip is also from Wahl and Heim. They have the lovely canvas gazebo, which you can see at left, to give them some protection when they sit on their patio. But sometimes it can get hot if there isn’t much of a breeze.ceiling fan in gazebo in Buffalo NY

What they did was install a ceiling fan in the gazebo. In the photo at right, you’ll notice the plastic pot liner they placed between the canvas ceiling and the fan to protect the electrical parts.


Water your garden!

They’ve been predicting rain for days and days, but my garden is pretty dry. If you’re like me, you heard that it was supposed to rain overnight, so you didn’t bother to water. The rain didn’t show up, but it looked like it would rain later in the day, so we just waited some more. Then the clouds cleared, but the forecasters said that the next day would bring rain, so we put off watering yet again. And so it continued for days.

I know I should water more. Last year I visited the lush gardens of Ellie Dorrittie during Garden Walk Buffalo. I noticed that I have many of the same plants in my garden that Dorritie has in hers, but mine didn’t look nearly as good.

What’s her secret?

“Water,” she said simply. “Water when it rains, and water when it doesn’t.”

watering during dry weather in Western New YorkEven if there are thunderstorms at your house when you’re reading this, don’t forget to water your garden soon.

Do it properly, too. Moistening the top of your soil or mulch doesn’t do much for the roots of your plants. Learn how much water is enough, find out the best time of day to water and learn how an underground sprinkler can actually help you conserve water.


Find good homes for your extra plants

As you’re dividing your perennials, please keep Grassroots Gardens in mind. They work with community gardens all over the City of Buffalo.

Grassroots Gardens can use perennials and even healthy shrubs you may need to move out of your garden. Call them at 783-9653 to make arrangements for them to get the plants.



“Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day — like writing a poem, or saying a prayer.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, author and aviator


All photos by Connie Oswald Stofko

3 Comments on “How to keep cool in Buffalo and other summer gardening tips

  1. It was an article I was going to use closer to the official start of summer, but I think we needed it today!

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