mock orange at Graycliff in Derby NY

Graycliff in bloom: fragrance & color with (kind of) native plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko Choosing native plants for our gardens seems like a recent trend, but native plants were used in landscaping about a hundred years ago. Ellen Biddle Shipman, the pioneering landscape architect who worked on the gardens at historic Graycliff from 1929 to 1931, chose native plants for the picking garden. The plants she used were native somewhere in North or South America, but not necessarily native to Western New York. For example, she chose lantana, which is native…

common ninebark courtesy Dow Gardens, Bugwood

Free native plants, nationally known author & more at Plant for Nature!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Get a free native plant, hear the author of The Humane Gardener, and find out more about how you can create a wonderful garden that works with nature rather than against it. It’s all part of the event Plant for Nature! to be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 4 at the WNY Welcome Center, 1999 Alvin Rd., Grand Island. It is hosted by the Citizen Coalition for Wildlife and Environment, which received a…

dunes with native grass on Lake Ontario courtesy Roy Widrig

Use native plants along shores of Lakes Erie & Ontario– see new guide

Private property owners as well as municipalities can use a new guide to select plants to revitalize the shorelines of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Working With Nature: A Guide to Native Plants for New York’s Great Lakes Shorelines was recently released by New York Sea Grant, part of a nationwide network of 34 university-based programs working with coastal communities through the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The guide offers nature-based alternatives to traditional “gray” or hard structures such as rock rip-rap (rocky material placed along…

native perennial hibiscus

Showy flowers & more: Four native plants that look great in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Native plants are not only good for beneficial insects, they can be just what you need to make your garden look great. Here are four native plants being offered by Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo. These plants are true natives, not hybrids or cultivars, said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager. All four plants like sun. See a list of Urban Roots’ native plants here. They offer about 100 different native plants throughout…

monarch on milkweed

New signs on garden walks, plus why you should try native plants

If you are going to share your landscape on any of our local garden walks, you can pick up a free sign to let visitors know that you use native plants in your landscape. And if you don’t use native plants, read on to see why you might want to add a few. Signs for gardens with native plants Native plants will be highlighted on garden walks this summer in a project organized by Gardens Buffalo Niagara and the WNY…

wild bergamot from Ken Parker

Gardening trend for 2019 in Western New York: native plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko Expect to hear more about native plants in 2019. A new group called the Western New York Native Plants Collaborative wants you to use more native plants in your garden, and there are lots of reason why you’ll want to use them. The collaborative is working on an education campaign to get gardeners excited about native plants and to encourage growers and garden centers to offer more native plants. The WNY Native Plants Collaborative includes members…

'Tiny Wine' ninebark

Order native plants by Feb. 11 through Friends of Reinstein Woods

Friends of Reinstein Woods is accepting orders for their native perennial plant sale through Saturday, Feb. 11. The sale will raise funds to support environmental education programs offered by Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve. “Native plants are an excellent choice for homeowners and gardeners,” said Brittany Rowan, Friends of Reinstein educator. “They are lower maintenance and use less resources like water and fertilizer than exotic varieties. Native plants can be used in all kinds of landscape features, from hummingbird and butterfly gardens…

butter and eggs or linaria vulgaris

Help a reader: What’s a good source for identifying native plants, weeds?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a question from a reader: Hi, I am looking for a book about native plants and weeds in Buffalo or Western New York. My friend likes to walk along the railroad tracks in Buffalo to look at the wildlife but he can’t identify some of the wild flowers and weeds growing along the tracks. Can you suggest a book I could purchase that would show different kinds of native wildflowers and weeds in this region?…

overall view of Bonnie Brooks' yard in Buffalo NY

Native plants and large greenhouse are attractions in this Parkside garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko The yard of Carrie Brooks, 773 Crescent Ave., Buffalo, is filled with plants, and many of them have a story. The forsythia came from a bouquet her daughter gave her. The branches stayed in the vase of water too long and rooted, so she planted them. After the bush has finished flowering, she allows a sweet pea vine to climb up and cover it with its own flowers. Japanese lanterns were used as the table decorations…

Native-Plant-Guide from Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper

Illustrated guide to native plants for WNY available for free from Riverkeeper

by Connie Oswald Stofko There are lots of reasons to use native plants in your garden. I like them because they’re low maintenance. Because they have adapted to our climate, they can survive hot, dry summers without me having to get out the hose. They can take cold, snowy winters without any fuss, too. Native plants attract birds and insects, which can help pollinate our plants. Native plants aren’t  invasive, as some non-native species can be. I think one of…