Unusual plants: Don’t miss these Hot Picks in Great Plant Sale

by Connie Oswald Stofko In the Great Plant Sale, “We want to offer things you’re not going to see everywhere,” said Sharon Reader, volunteer at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens and a member of the committee that chose the plants for the sale. The deadline to pre-order is Friday, April 5, but if you want one of the really spectacular Hot Picks, you better order now — They often sell out quick. By the way, Botanical Gardens members…

Sully garden in Eden, NY

It’s OK to kill plants– Hear Zampini at PLANT WNY’s Education Day

  by Connie Oswald Stofko “It’s okay to kill plants.” When I heard Maria Zampini say that, I gasped. Loudly! I know what she means, but it does take your breath away to hear it stated so bluntly. Zampini, co-author of Garden-pedia: An A-Z Guide to Gardening Terms, will speak at PLANT WNY‘s daylong Education Conference on Friday, Feb. 1. She shared tips with me in a phone conversation from her home in the Cleveland area. Zampini always tells gardeners that your garden is yours, and you don’t need…

flowers and vegetables in front yard

4 tips on using containers to create a gorgeous garden

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Previously I showed you my experiment with a container garden on my front lawn. That container garden wasn’t as successful as I had hoped, but I learned a lot and tried it again. This time it was successful and my neighbors told me they loved it, too! It didn’t look like much in May or June, but in July the plants filled out and it was gorgeous. We had a mild autumn, and the container…

white glitter poinsettia in Amherst NY

Poinsettias are easy to maintain, so why doesn’t yours rebloom?

by Connie Oswald Stofko We know that it’s easy to care for poinsettia plants. They can last through January and into spring without much effort, and many gardeners successfully nurture their poinsettias through summer. So why can’t we get poinsettias to rebloom the following year? And since poinsettias are so easy to care for, why do we buy the plants? Why don’t we start from scratch and grow poinsettia plants ourselves? “It’s difficult,” said Mark Yadon, vice president of  Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses,…

container gardening on wheelchair ramp

You can do container gardening anywhere– even on a wheelchair ramp!

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Don’t have a big yard? You can do container gardening anywhere–even on a wheelchair ramp! Growing flowers or vegetables in pots is called container gardening. Container gardening counts as real gardening! I’ve seen it done in small spaces on balconies, decks and porches. I saw a clever example of container gardening done on a wheelchair ramp at the home of Dorothy Gambino during the Samuel Capen Garden Walk in July. Gambino chose the vegetables she wanted– tomatoes…

flat spot and hole in petunia

Don’t create flat spots when you water containers

  by Connie Oswald Stofko When you have a mixed container of annuals that includes flowers such as petunias, the plants are supposed to be in a tall, rounded mound with no flat spots. If yours don’t look like that, you’re probably watering wrong, said Jen Weber, vice president and manager of Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca. To water prevent holes and flat spots, use a watering can and water slowly. If you have a spikey flower in the center…

hose slowly watering plant

Rainfall has been below normal in WNY, so keep watering

  by Connie Oswald Stofko In the past few weeks, I’ve seen clouds, heard thunder and even felt a few drops of rain in my Amherst garden. (I think I counted a total of 13 drops.) It’s not unusual to have a dry spell like this, but you need to remember to keep watering your garden. At the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga, they measured just .11 inch of rain since May 23, said meteorologist David Thomas. (I didn’t…

plastic bottle protecting sprout

Tips on deer, composting & more for Western New York

  by Connie Oswald Stofko I am fortunate that so many Western New Yorkers share gardening tips with me. People often share tips with me after I give a talk. Unfortunately, I am so busy scribbling down notes about the tips themselves that I don’t always get the name of the person who shared the tip. My apologies. Today I’ll share a few of the tips I’ve accumulated. If you have a tip that worked for you, you can share…

pansies with rain drops in Amherst

Breath of spring– Pansies now available at Mischler’s

It’s the first day of spring! Some days, the sun feels so warm you can venture out in just a sweater. Well, it’s warm enough if you’re getting some exercise, like breaking down the mounds of snow still left in your driveway. But it is warm enough for pansies! You can get pansies at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. Pansies are a cool weather annual. They don’t mind cool temperatures and they can tolerate some frost. That’s why…

Cassia didmobotrya flower

Plant that smells like buttered popcorn offered at Great Plant Sale

by Connie Oswald Stofko “I’m pretty excited about this plant,” said Kristin Pochopin, director of Horticulture at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. She was referring to an annual called Cassia didmobotrya, whose unique feature is that when you rub the leaves, it smells like buttered popcorn. The scent is most noticeable in late summer and early fall. Popochin was familiar with this plant when she worked for a wholesale grower in Pennsylvania, but hasn’t seen it much in our area. It’s…