Mum show and more autumn news & tips for Buffalo area

lava chrysanthemum in BuffaloChrysanthemum Show set at Botanical Gardens

Mums are the emblematic flower of autumn, and the Chrysanthemum Show at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is a Western New York tradition. It has been held annually for more than 105 years!

The show is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Saturday, October 20 to Sunday, November 11 at the Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Avenue, Buffalo.

Enjoy all the colors of the fall season with many different varieties of mums.

The cost is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors & students, $5 for children ages 3-12, free for members and children under 3.


Readers: Can you help with a question about lichen?

Occasionally we post questions from a reader in the hopes that another reader can help out. Today’s question is about lichen. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below.

When you have gardening questions, you can call the Master Gardeners with Cornell Cooperative Extension Erie County at (716) 652-5400. These knowledgeable volunteers are available from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays. You can also email them at There are helpful Cornell Cooperative Extension offices in other counties, too. Find contact information here for your county’s Cooperative Extension office.

You can also stop at a garden center to get great information. Check out our advertisers, click on their ad and you’ll be taken to their website or Facebook page to get their hours, address and other important information.

Here’s today’s question:

Does anyone have any suggestions/info regarding the indoor growing of lichen such as British Soldier (Cladonia Cristatella, Cladonia Pixie Cups, etc.), Lycopdium (Princess Pine), cushion moss, fern moss, etc.?

I’m looking for specific info on ideal humidity level, pH level, growing mediums, terrarium setups, H2O (when to water & how much), levels of light (what amount is too much or too little), etc.

I’m particularly interested in the British Soldier lichen.

Also, has anyone ever had any luck with gathering & germinating lichen and Lycopodium spores? I have heard about recipes that use buttermilk, oats (oatmeal), yogurt, etc. mixed with the lichen to make a type of shake/slurry that is applied to rocks or wood. Again, any information on light conditions, humidity, pH levels etc., including recipes will be greatly appreciated.

I am aware that lichen is very sensitive to pollutants & toxins in both the air & soil.

If you can help out this reader with the lichen question, please leave a comment below! If this is a topic that interests you, stop back later to see the answers!



compost for garden in Buffalo NYTurn those autumn leaves into beautiful garden soil

It seems like I’m always talking about compost, but there’s a good reason for that. Compost can turn around even the worst soil and allow plants to thrive.

Compost doesn’t have to be expensive– you can make it yourself. Autumn leaves are a great component of compost and they’re free!

If you don’t compost yet, start now. You”ll be glad you did. Here’s a simple way to make a compost bin out of pallets.

If you’re ready for some advanced composting, check out these tips for speeding up your compost pile.


Get more updates when you follow us on Facebook

Image from Facebook page Buffalo NYWhen I heard that Western New York was expecting a frost last Friday, I warned our followers on Facebook and suggested they bring in any annuals they want to keep over the winter. (It may not be too late to bring in your annuals; see the how-to video here.)

You’ll find even more last-minute tips, photos, sales and updates when you follow on Facebook.

I’ll see you on Facebook!


Get inspiration for your garden on Your Photos Page

Anne Gareis side garden 1 in Buffalo NY

You can get ideas for your own garden by looking at the shots sent in by readers on the Your Photos Page.

Looking at this picture from Anne Gareis, I know what my garden is missing– height. She’s brave about using tall plants, and the result is a dramatic garden. She doesn’t have a huge backyard, but she makes the most of the space she has.

Do you have a garden or nature photo that you’d like to share with our readers? attach it to an e-mail and send it to me at Please include some information about what we see in the photo to help me as I write the caption.

And don’t forget that you can enter photo contests, too.

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