A look back at the year in gardening in Western New York

views of waterfall in garden in North Tonawanda NY
One of the topics we covered this year was creating 360-degree views in your landscape. At left is the view of the seating area in front of a pond and waterfall, in the center is pond itself, and at right is the view of the pond from a garden with bird bath. Photos by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

It’s time for me to take a short break over the holidays. Since this is the last edition of Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com for 2021, let’s take a look back at the year in gardening.

The pandemic was in the background of everything we did this year. At the beginning of the year, some events were canceled, such as garden club meetings and Plantasia, the premier garden show in Western New York. (We are optimistically looking forward to Plantasia 2022, scheduled for March 17-20.

Groups that held activities outside, such as guided walks, gave us an opportunity to meet in person at the beginning of the year.

While many organizations held classes, most were online. One advantage to online classes was that people from different counties were able to access a variety of wonderful information without having to drive far. The Great Plant Sale of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens was held online, too, with curbside pickup.

Happily, people were able to visit the exhibits at the Botanical Gardens in person using timed tickets to limit the number of people inside at any one time, as well as other rules to keep people safe.

Garden centers were open and in spring, nonprofit groups held plant sales indoors with masks.

Vaccines became available, and it was such a joyful feeling. It seemed like we were nearing the end.

Summer saw happy gardeners attending garden walks, Open Gardens and other exciting events from Gardens Buffalo Niagara. Plant sales and plant exchanges were held again in early autumn. It was great to have so many events return to Western New York!

Some garden clubs began meeting in person. The Botanical Gardens held some classes in person.

Just when it looked as if we might be done with the pandamic, new variants appeared. Sigh. Let’s encourage each other and do whatever we can to keep others safe.


You may not remember that 2020 ended on a drought watch for Western New York, but don’t worry. We got plenty of rain throughout each season this year. See current conditions here on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Some gardeners experienced damaging hail in summer.

Our autumn was warm with beautiful color on the trees that lasted into November, depending on where in WNY you live.

Of course, there were spells of weather when we didn’t know what season it was. In February, we had a day that felt like winter & summer, all at the same time. My husband and I made a snowman while he was wearing shorts! Last week, shovelers couldn’t keep up with the snow in my neighborhood, and a few days later neighbors were mowing their lawns.


Throughout the year, there was plenty of information to share, such as how to create a garden that looks good in all four seasons, how to turn a lawn into a garden and how to start a perennial garden and how to add interest to your landscape with 360-degree views. You can get inspired from articles on garden walks, too.

Unfortunately, there were lots of reminders about invasive pests, invasive plants and plant diseases. While we wish we didn’t have to worry about these things, it’s helpful to be aware and to know what to do about them.

We talked a lot about native plants: why you should use them, which plants are good for certain conditions and where you can buy them.

With occasional reminders, I kept you posted on gardening tasks you could do at various times during the growing season—or things you shouldn’t do, such as planting your tomatoes too early. Because this magazine is online, I can share tips that are timely. I love that!

Next year

My next edition of Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com will be published on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

In the meantime, start planning for next spring. What did you like about your landscape this year? What do you want to do more of? What do you want to do differently? Take a look at this past article to get some guidance.

What are your ideas for 2022? Please leave a comment below.

6 Comments on “A look back at the year in gardening in Western New York

  1. Because it’s been getting harder every year to water my large garden every summer, I pulled up all the perennials that weren’t drought or heat tolerant.
    Some of that was heart wrenching. Then planted only drought and heat tolerant annuals and perennials. It seemed to work. Mother Nature helped with a month of rain.
    Thanks to you, I’m going to look for native plants that fall into that criteria.

  2. Many thanks, Connie, for this publication! Happy to report the ‘Army Worms’ are gone. Also, had a prolific amount of blooms on our Dogwood tree! Sooo beautiful! Merry Christmas and Good health (!) in 2022.

  3. Connie, Thanks for all the interesting articles and tips. Always so much we can learn. We planted over 200 daffodils last year and this fall another 450 bulbs, 400 daffodils in our orchard and in a fenced area 50 tulips so the deer and rabbits can’t get them. We gardeners are always doing something and then patiently waiting. Happy waiting, Merry Christmas to all our visitors and fellow gardeners!

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