Why didn’t I think of that?–tips from WNY gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko

It’s wonderful to enjoy the beauty of the hundreds of gardens that we get to visit here in Western New York. It’s even better when we get an idea that we can use in our own garden!

Here are five simple tips to make your garden extra special.

hide garbage can in garden in Buffalo NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

In the photo above, you see lots of flowers in bloom. But what don’t you see? Garbage cans! Two simple doors hide what could be an ugly distraction.

I visited the garden of Kevin Lickers and his partner Ricardo Arce during Garden Walk Buffalo in 2021. See more views of their landscape here.

jungle gym integrated into garden in North Tonawanda NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

The children grew up and the jungle gym in the backyard of Nancy and Charles Bachman wasn’t needed anymore.

But they didn’t remove the the jungle gym; it was anchored in concrete. Instead, they decided to install a small pond under it.

It’s not a jungle gym anymore. It’s an arch over the pond, or a place to hang wind chimes or a trellis. Instead of being an eyesore, it’s part of the landscape.

I visited the Bachmans on the North Tonawanda Garden Walk in 2020. See how 360-degree views make their landscape interesting and see their tips in this article on seating areas.

herb garden near door in Lackawanna NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

“If you like cooking, locate your herb garden close to the kitchen,” said Linda Monaco.

Her garden lines the patio near the back door.

I visited her Lackawanna garden during Open Gardens. See how she and her husband Charles manage to garden in shade–even under a tree as well as get tips on garden decor.

dead tree with trumpet vine in Orchard Park NY
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

Pat Gurney lost many ash trees to emerald ash borers in her large Orchard Park landscape. She had several trees in front taken down, but others she just topped off so they wouldn’t fall. The photo above shows one of those trees.

What looks like a new canopy of leaves and orange flowers is actually a trumpet vine. It was a happy accident.

“The trumpet vine started to grow well,” Gurney said, “so I decided to just leave it.”

Bird houses add more interest to the stumps.

See how Gurney uses annuals here and how fences can be inviting.

keep milkweed and tall plants from drooping
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

If you have tall plants that drooping away from your fence, place a string in front of the plants and adhere the string to the fence. The leaves of the plants will hide the string. (I had to work hard to get a photo that would show you the string!)

This is from the landscape of Dan and Peggy Murak, who shared their landscape on the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View in 2021.

See more of their landscape here. and why you might want to plant common milkweed, which is the tall plant with pink flowers in the photo.


What tips have you come up with or seen on garden walks? Please share by leaving a comment.

2 Comments on “Why didn’t I think of that?–tips from WNY gardeners

  1. Any advice on how to protect spruce trees from the west wind damage in the winter? It’s early ,but we had damage last winter on three trees! We hope to avoid further damage. Thank You.

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