How to find gardening help in Western New York

cosmos in Amherst NY gardenI recently received this question:

“I’ve decided to put in a new rose garden. I’m looking for information on soil mix (in West Seneca I have deep clay). I’m willing to take out two feet of clay but I want to be sure I put the right soil back in. Where can I get local info?”

This was an interesting question because the reader didn’t ask, “What should I do?” but instead asked, “Where can I find information?”

Western New York has a wealth of sources to help you solve your gardening dilemmas. Here are some ways you can find the gardening information you need. articles

You can find a great deal of information right here. If you look to the right of this article, you’ll see a small box with the words “Search and Hit Enter.” You can type in any word you want, hit Enter, and you’ll be taken to a list of previous stories related to that word.

If you type in “clay,” you’ll get several choices, including “Clay-filled yard is nurtured into a colorful Buffalo garden.” Reading that story, you’ll find out that the gardener tilled peat moss and humus (decomposed leaves and such) into her clay.

Another place to find information on is just below the search box. You’ll see a list of words in different font sizes labelled “Topics.” Click on any of those and you’ll see stories on that topic. Try “compost” and you’ll find lots of information on how compost can help your helps you get gardening information

Go to a workshop or class

The next thing you should do is check out our Upcoming Events Page. There might just be a class or workshop that addresses the topic you’re interested in. You generally have the opportunity to ask follow-up questions, too. Here are a couple workshops that could help with the soil question.

A free workshop called “Soil Science– Fertilizers and Amendments” will be presented by David Clark, horticulturist, at Sunday, March 10, at Urban Roots Community Garden Center, 428 Rhode Island Street, Buffalo.

“What You Always Wanted to Know About Soils” will be presented by Mike Gallo, CNLP,  of Buffalo State College at 5 p.m. Friday, March 22 at Plantasia, which will be held at the Fairgrounds Event Center and Expo Hall, 5820 South Park Avenue, Hamburg. The talks are included in the price of admission.

Garden centers

Locally owned garden centers have folks on staff that know how to grow plants and will give you solid advice. Click on any ad on our website and you’ll be taken to that business’s website or Facebook page, where you can get their hours, phone number and other contact information.

Tip: The staff will have more time to answer questions like this in early spring. Memorial Day weekend will be super busy for them.

Master Gardeners

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.


Sharon Reed of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County sent us more useful information on how to get your gardening questions answered.

The Chautauqua County Master Gardeners have a weekly HelpLine for community members. You can contact the Helpline in several ways:

  • Email your question to
  • Call the Helpline at (716) 664-9502, ext 224
  • Stop in to the Ag Center, 3542 Turner Rd., Jamestown,  when they are open.

The Helpline is officially open April through September, but you can call or email any time. Master Gardeners monitor the Helpline throughout the year. The Master Gardeners are on site each Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You can like Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County on Facebook.

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