The online magazine for gardeners in Erie and Niagara Counties

Vol. 1, Issue 7                                                                                                             Aug. 10, 2010


Dear Friend,

I have to admit that I’m feeling a bit sad right now because the National Garden Festival in Buffalo has come to an end. The organizers have created an amazing celebration that not only provides enjoyment and education for gardeners, but brings the community together, showcases our region for tourists and energizes the local economy. Wow! I can’t wait for next year’s event, and I’ll keep you posted on their plans.In this week’s issue, we bring you stories from the last garden walks of the season, which took place this past weekend. We have photos of lovely water features in a garden from the Ken-Ton Garden Tour. In the Black Rock-Riversidearea, a couple turned an abandoned lot into a patio retreat.Topping off this issue are lots of great ideas on how to pamper your roses organically— and cheaply– from Laura Sileo-Lepkyj.You can now follow us on Twitter @BfloNiagGarden.If you have garden club news or any other story ideas, please contact me at or (716) 833-5187.

Happy gardening,

Connie Oswald Stofko

water feature in Tonawanda NY A waterfall, pond and giant water wheel beguiled visitors to the backyard of John and Joanne Perrello at 2674 Colvin Blvd., Town of Tonawanda, during the Ken-Ton Garden Tour on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 7 and 8.


While they grew vegetables for about 30 years, the Perrellos started the water features just three years ago, beginning with the waterfall, which you can see in the background of this photo. They put in the pond,  foreground, in the spring of last year.Read More

The Gartins of Black Rock-Riverside in Buffalo What was once an abandoned lot is now a lovely backyard patio for Susan and Carlos Gartin. They shared their creation during the Black Rock and Riverside Tour of Gardens on Saturday, Aug. 7.

The lot is on East St., just behind their home at 169 Dearborn St. It had been a dumping ground for asphalt, concrete and bricks, and the weeds grew seven feet high, Carlos said. The Gartins bought it in August 2009.

Now flower beds are tucked in around the red pavers of the patio, and other flower and vegetable beds fill the rest of the yard.

Read More

pamper roses organically Adventures in Organic Gardening

By Laura Sileo-Lepkyj

I generally practice a survival-of-the-fittest approach to gardening, but I admit to pampering my roses a bit. I figure they deserve it for the joy they bring me. Few other flowers make me literally tear up from their beauty.

I planted my roses last spring. I have mostly English roses because I love the heavy fragrance and voluptuously full blossoms. The exceptions are my Grandiflora “Dream Come True” and two Polyantha “The Fairy” roses.

For tips on growing roses organically, read more.

The online magazine for gardeners in Erie and Niagara Counties

Vol. 1, Issue 6                                                                                                Aug. 3, 2010
Dear Friend,

Many of you let me know that you enjoyed last week’s article on dealing with rabbits, so I’m thrilled this week to be able to offer tips on keeping deer from eating your plants. I got the information at Poetry & Posies, the flower show of the East Aurora Garden Club held this past weekend.The members were so friendly and knowledgeable! You’ll also find photos and ideas for container plantings, also from the East Aurora Garden Club.If your organization has gardening news, please let me know so I can include it in the magazine. You can e-mail me at in this week’s issue we take a look at the garden of sculptor Dave Derner, who shares his tips on how to do gardening cheaply.Unless there are some that I don’t know about, this the last weekend for garden walks. Saturday is the Black Rock & Riverside Tour of Gardens during the day and the Starry Night Garden Tour in the evening, where you can visit about 25 well-lit gardens. The Ken-Ton Garden Tour takes place both Saturday and Sunday. The third annual fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Awareness Garden of the Buffalo Federation of Women’s Clubs will also be held Saturday. Make sure you check our upcoming events pageto make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Happy gardening,

Connie Oswald Stofko

Get great ideas for container plantings

container plants East Aurora Garden Club
Container plantings are so versatile. If your outdoor space is limited to an apartment balcony, a container can serve as your entire garden. Containers can also decorate porches and patios, or fill in bare spots in a larger garden.  They can be created in any style.

Visitors got lots of great ideas for container plantings at the Poetry & Posies standard flower show of the East Aurora Garden Club on Saturday and Sunday, July 31 and Aug. 1.

Read More

Deer eating your garden? East Aurora Garden Club offers tips

repel deer East Aurora Garden Club Commercial products, homemade mixtures and soap on a rope were among the methods to repel deer shared by Chris Hartmann, a member of the East Aurora Garden Club, in an educational exhibit called “Deer at the Corner of the House.” The exhibit was part of the Poetry & Posies standard flower show held by the East Aurora Garden Club Saturday and Sunday, July 31 and Aug. 1.

Read More

Buffalo sculptor shares tips on cheap gardening

Buffalo sculptor shares tips on cheap gardening Gardening doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby.

“I didn’t spend one cent on this garden,” said Dave Derner, who created a backyard retreat at 1088 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, where he lives above Half & Half Trading Co.
He got plants that nurseries or co-ops were going to throw out. Friends gave him plants as well. Many of the plants flourished.

“I just put things in and let them grow,” Derner said. “It’s amazing how things just want to grow.”
Read More

The online magazine for gardeners in Erie and Niagara Counties

Vol. 1, Issue 5                                                                                                             July 27, 2010


I had a great time at Garden Walk Buffalo this weekend. Free trolleys helped visitors get from one end of the tour to the other, and guides from Buffalo Tours offered interesting historical insights along the route. I’ve lived in Western New York my entire life, and I kept repeating, “I never knew that!”This issue includes one story from Garden Walk Buffalo. There were 350 wonderful gardens on that walk, so we’ll feature a few others in later editions.We also have a story on one of the prize-winning makeovers in the Front Yard Competitionof the National Garden Festival in Buffalo. We’ll carry stories on the other yards into autumn.We have a story about the Breast Cancer Awareness Garden, which is having a fundraiser. This weekend there is a Poetry and Posies Flower Show in East Aurora. How can you keep up with it all? Go to our upcoming events pagefor more information.A continuing saga for gardeners is dealing with pests. In this issue, we offer a few tips on dealing with rabbits. Since nothing seems to work for long, we’re looking for lots of ideas from you. Please feel free to leave a comment on our web site, or e-mail me at

Happy gardening,
Connie Oswald Stofko

Garden Walk Buffalo features gardens on West Ferry

front garden on West Ferry in Buffalo Lynn and Alan Stout have lived at 801 West Ferry, Buffalo, for 20 years, and they have built their lavish gardens bit by bit.

They shared their work with the public during Garden Walk Buffalo on Saturday and Sunday, July 24 and 25.

About 350 gardens were displayed on Garden Walk Buffalo, making it one of the largest garden tours in the nation.

Read More

Front Yard Competition: And the winners are…

view of right garden 36 N Parade Buffalo The voting is done, and the front yard of the large Victorian at 28/36 North Parade in Buffalo won the first place People’s Choice Award for large gardens in the Front Yard Competition of the National Garden Festival in Buffalo. It was designed by The English Gardener, Ltd.

Professional landscapers donated their time and materials to transform 19 front yards as part of the Front Yard Competition, the first event of its kind in the country.

We’ll show you the other prize-winning makeovers in future articles.

Read More

Event to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness Garden in Buffalo

Breast Cancer Awareness Garden Buffalo A fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Awareness Gardenat the Buffalo Central Terminal, a project of the Buffalo Federation of Women’s Clubs, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7 at the former train terminal, 495 Paderewski Dr., Buffalo.

Sip N Shop, the third annual fundraiser, is a wine tasting experience featuring wines from eight New York State wineries, craft vendors, music by the Pocket Change Trio, a farmers market,  a state representative for unclaimed funds, snacks and a basket raffle. You can also tour the terminal.

Read More

Keep rabbits out of your garden

keep rabbits out of garden Our yard is overrun with rabbits.

They chomped on my gladiolus.

They decimated my delphinium.

We used to have a dog that kept the pesky rabbits at bay, but our Cookie died this winter at age 14. Now I’m trying to find new ways to protect my garden.

Here are some tips on keeping rabbits from damaging your garden.

July 20, 2010

The online magazine for gardeners in Erie and Niagara Counties

Vol. 1, Issue 4                                                                                                             July 20, 2010


Whew! Six garden walks in one weekend!This issue is devoted entirely to stories of last weekend’s garden walks. Stories from the Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk, which covers Eggertsville and University Heights, include a grassless front yard and one gardener’s struggle with the aftermath of the October Storm. Read other stories of this past weekend’s walks below.Going on a garden walk is not only great fun, it’s a great way to get ideas for your own garden. This coming weekend is Garden Walk Buffalo, which features more than 340 gardens.Get details on all of the upcoming eventsat our web site.

Happy gardening,

Connie Oswald Stofko

Grand Island homeowners suggest hiring professionals

Back garden on Grand Island Hire professionals for the overall design of your garden, then have fun adding to it.

That’s the advice of Chuck and Nancy LaChiusa, whose gardens at 140 Fernwood in Grand Island were on the Grand Island Garden Tour July 17. They gave us a preview the day before the walk.

Read More

Clarence homeowners build prize-winning gardens

Clarence garden fountain Suzanne and Bob Wiepert built their “backyard oasis” by doing a little bit each year, starting in 2006.

This year their gardens at 9525 Melinda won first place in Clarence Hollow in Bloom, a garden walk held Saturday, July 17 by the Clarence Garden Club.

Read More

First garden walk held for Town of Amherst

Amherst  front garden The gardens of Lois Weinstein, master gardener, were among those displayed Saturday, July 17, in the first Amherst Garden Walk.

Weinstein initiated the walk because while Eggertsville, Snyder and Williamsville are represented on garden walks, the rest of the Town of Amherst had no garden walk.  Her husband, Barry, who is town supervisor, encouraged the idea– as long as it didn’t cost the town any money.  (It didn’t.) There were 32 houses on the garden walk.

Read More

Lush perennial borders accent Lancaster home

Lancaster front garden When the Hagemans started gardening nine years ago, they had nothing but bushes. Now perennial beds fill both their front yard and backyard.

“Every year my husband says he’s not going to make me another border, and every year he makes me another border,” Debbie Hageman said.

She and her husband Cliff shared their garden at 73 Grant St. with visitors  during the 7th Annual Lancaster Garden Walk on Saturday and Sunday, July 17 and 18.

Read More

Border garden provides privacy in South Buffalo

South Buffalo side garden A new border garden gives a South Buffalo backyard more privacy.

The gardens at 222 Cumberland Ave. were on display Sunday, July 18 during the 10th annual South Buffalo Alive garden walk.

Dave Testa, who lives in the corner property with Jack Tontillo, envisioned the kind of mixed border you might see at a big English house.

Read More

July 13, 2010

The online magazine for gardeners in Erie and Niagara Counties

Vol. 1, Issue 3                                                                                                              July 13, 2010

The season of garden walks is reaching its peak. There were four garden walks last weekend, and six garden walks coming up next weekend! You’ll find coverage of last week’s garden walks in this issue (see below), along with Laura Sileo-Lepkyj’s column, Adventures in Organic Gardening.

You still have time this week to vote for your favorite makeover in the Front Yard Competition of the National Garden Festival. There’s another bus tour on Friday, and the open gardens continue this week, too. (I know there’s a lot to do, but the sun is up so long, who can sleep anyway?)

Get details on all of the upcoming events at our web site.

Happy gardening,

Connie Oswald Stofko

Pool is focal point of Lockport garden

Lockport in Bloom garden tour The pool  is the focal point of the landscape in the backyard of Mark and Meghan Vavalle, whose home at 323 Lincoln Ave. was part of the Lockport in Bloom citywide garden tour on July 10 and 11.

Mark estimates that they have 70 varieties of perennials in their garden. They’ve been working on their landscape for four years now.

“It’s definitely a work in progress,” Meghan said. “There’s always something new to add.”

Read More

Niagara Falls garden uses biblical theme

Orchard Parkway Garden Walk in Niagara  Falls The garden of Geri and Dominic Mitro of 701 Orchard Parkway, featured on the third annual Orchard Parkway Garden Walk in Niagara Falls, expresses their gratitude to God.

“After praying for three years to find our new home in 2004, we felt so blessed we wanted to glorify the Lord with our landscape,” they wrote in the garden walk brochure.

The Mitros select plants with names that have some tie to the Bible. There is a white phlox by the name of David,  and a burning bush that turns red in the fall.

Read More

Buzz Around Hamburg showcases local gardens, arts

Buzz Around Hamburg garden walk More than 30 private gardens were open to the public during the Buzz Around Hamburg Garden Walk and Fair on Saturday and Sunday, July 10 and 11.

Paul and Chrisanne Gaughan shared their gardens at 241 Union St.

The front garden is an extension of the front porch.  Notice though, that the garden doesn’t follow the rectangular shape of the porch, but is designed with a curve, free-flowing line. The garden is full and lush,  using plants of different heights and colors for interest.

Read More

Once-overgown gardens now flourish in Snyder

Snyder-CleveHill Garden View This Snyder house was once so overgrown that ivy had infiltrated through a window and was growing into the gold shag carpeting inside the house. But now the home boasts a tidy formal garden in front and lush English cottage gardens in back.

The home of Craig Coyne and Gary DiNezza at 31 Darwin Dr. was part of the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View in Amherst on Sunday, July 11.

Read More

Try vinegar and boiling water in your organic garden

cutleaf weeping peashrub In my previous column, I promised I would tell you what exactly is industrial strength acetic acid, and why I was lugging around boiling water on a 90-degree day.

In answer to the first part: Industrial strength acetic acid is, simply put, high-power vinegar and is used in manufacturing and chemical labs.

In answer to the latter: because I had a momentary lapse in judgment.

Read More

July 6, 2010

The online magazine for gardeners in Erie and Niagara Counties

Vol. 1, Issue 2                                                                                                              July 6, 2010

Welcome to the second issue of

There are so many exciting activities coming up in the next week! Tomorrow there’s a free concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in Delaware Park.Garden walks will take place in Hamburg, Lockport, Niagara Falls and the Snyder-CleveHill section of Amherst. “A Bloomin’ Show,” a flower show presented by three plant societies, will include the first accredited hosta bloom show in the nation. There’s a bus tour, a hike and a celebration of Japanese gardens. There’s so much I can’t list it all here. And that’s just the upcoming week! Get details on all of the upcoming events at our web site.

So leave the weeding for a few hours,.Enjoy our beautiful summer weather and mingle with other gardeners at some of these exciting events!

Happy gardening,

Connie Oswald Stofko


East Side block receiving gardening makeover in competition

work begins at 16 N Parade  BuffaloProfessional landscapers are donating their time and materials to transform 19 front yards in Buffalo as part of the Front Yard Competition, the first event of its kind in the country. The event was kicked off with a press conference this morning. Work will continue until Saturday,  July 10.  Then comes the best part: You get to vote for your favorite yard from July 11 to July 18. Read More

Eggertsville gardener still deals with effects of October Storm


Eggertsville gardener still dealing with October storm 2006

Cherie St. Pierre’s home in Eggertsville used to be graced by a 30-year-old weeping cherry tree, but the tree couldn’t make a comeback after “that terrible storm.”

Those of us who experienced that storm know immediately that she is referring the October Storm of 2006. You can read more about both the good and bad effects that storm is still having on her gardens.

You can also visit her gardens during Open Gardens, a program of the National Garden Festival. Private gardens are graciously made available to the public on a particular day at a particular time. Visitors are allowed to simply drop by. St. Pierre’s gardens are open from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 8, 15 and 22.

Grassless yards make Eggertsville property a mow-free zone

Eggertsville yard has no grass You can visit all of Cherie St. Pierre’s gardens in Eggertsville as part of the Open Gardens program of the National Garden Festival, but one is so different than the others that we had to give it an article of its own.

While St. Pierre’s home and an adjoining property have traditional yards, her rental property across the street at 3887 Bailey has no grass in its front or backyard!

Read More

Prepare your own garden for visitors

Gardening magazineWhether you’ve signed up to exhibit your garden on one of the 17 garden walks that are part of the National Garden Festival in Buffalo, or whether you’re expecting company, you want your garden to look its best.

Sally Cunningham, project coordinator for the National Garden Festival, shares some tips.


June 29, 2010

The online magazine for gardeners in Erie and Niagara Counties.

Vol. 1, Issue 1                                                                                                              June 29, 2010
Welcome to the premiere issue of!

It’s been an interesting first week of summer. We’ve had sun, rain, lightning and even a small earthquake! Maybe it was caused by the National Garden Festival in Buffalo, which is an earth-shaking event! The festival takes all of the garden walks in the area, places them under one umbrella, and throws in a ton of other gardening programs to make a five-week garden party for Western New Yorkers and tourists to enjoy.

Keep up with Western New York’s gardening activities on our upcoming events page. If you’re with a garden club or other organization, I’d to share news on your upcoming meetings and events. You can reach me at

Happy gardening,

Connie Oswald Stofko

Three garden walks open summer season


Andrea Spooner, left, and Pat Bacon, both of Tonawanda, visit the Lewiston GardenFest.
Lewiston GardenFest  2010

It was a busy time for garden walks this weekend. The Village of Williamsville Garden Walk was held Saturday; the Lewiston GardenFest, Saturday and Sunday, and the Parkside Garden Tour in Buffalo, Sunday.

Click on each link above to read more and see lots of photos of each walks. (Hint: As you’re reading the article, if you’d like to see a slightly larger version of a picture, just click on it.)

‘Perennial diva’ offers tips for summer gardens in WNY

Stephanie Cohen

“Not everything is hardy. The definition of a perennial is something that lives three or more years- if you don’t kill it.”

Stephanie Cohen, known as the “perennial diva,” gave tips on summer gardening in the sometimes irreverent and often funny keynote address of the National Garden Festival in Buffalo on June 19. After the talk, Cohen signed copies of her books, which include The Perennial Gardener’s Design Primer, Fallscaping, and her newest, The Nonstop Garden. Read More

Euphorbia seguieriana

Kickoff party opens Buffalo’s National Garden Festival

Kickoff party National Garden Festival

Among the gardeners enjoying the festivities to kick off the National Garden Festival in Buffalo on Thursday, June 17 were, from left, Steve Bellus; Craig Coyne, chair of the Snyder-CleveHill garden walk; Candy Clark; Bard Basswood, who is doing an impression of an oak, and Gary DiNezza. The event was held at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.

The National Garden Festival takes all of the garden walks in our area, throws in amazing extra events, and comes up with a five-week festival that will draw in tourists as well as hometown Western New Yorkers. You can visit more than 900 gardens on the 17 walks.

Make sure you check out all of the day-long bus tours. The next two are the trip to the Niagara Wine Trail on July 2, and a tour of urban farms on July 9.

Landscape professionals will compete in a front yard contest. They’ll transform yards in the neighborhood near the Buffalo Science Museum, and you’ll get to vote for your favorite design. We’ll show you pictures of the before and after.

Tomorrow is Starry Night in the Garden, a benefit for the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.

In addition to garden walks on the weekends, you can visit open gardens on Mondays and Thursdays.

See a list of more events on our upcoming events page.

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