bee covered in pollen on swamp milkweed

Support fireflies, plus 4 more reasons to get rid of some of your lawn

by Connie Oswald Stofko Attract fireflies, support pollinators, save yourself some work and have cleaner air. Those are some of the benefits you can reap when you get rid of some of your lawn. Support pollinators Pollinators include butterflies, insects, birds and other animals. To support them, turn a section of your lawn into a garden and include native plants. Native plants are better than non-natives in providing what native pollinators need: nectar, pollen and seeds, according to the New…

living Christmas tree

Living Christmas tree: enjoy inside, then plant outside

by Connie Oswald Stofko One way to make Christmas last a little longer is by buying a living Christmas tree. You can decorate it, enjoy it inside, then plant it outside where it will grow for years to come. Living Christmas trees are available now at at Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St. Buffalo. “We have three or four families who come in every year,” said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager of Urban Roots. “You’d think kids would want…

wrapping paper

Buy wrapping paper that you can compost

by Connie Oswald Stofko Before you buy wrapping paper, make sure you know which kinds you can compost. Some wrapping paper contains heavy metals that can contaminate your compost. Get all the details in this previous article. If you don’t compost yet, autumn is a great time to start because you have oodles of fallen leaves at your disposable. Your plant material will break down faster if you balance your kitchen scraps with materials such as dry leaves and paper….

happy flower, sad flower

Why bad things happen to good plants, & more from Master Gardeners

If your plant dies, it may not be your fault. Learn “Why Bad Things Happen to Good Plants” by Carol Ann Harlos in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters. Your plant could be immune to pathogens in the environment. But what happens when those pathogens change? Read more here. Other articles in this issue are: “Joe Pye Weed Plants Are Not All the Same” by Lyn Chimera “Research Summary: Climate Change is Increasing Impacts from Forest Pests“ WNY Gardening…

birch bark

Find better alternatives to silver birch in WNY Gardening Matters

People love the beauty of silver birch trees (Betula pendula) but have realized that variety is short lived and susceptible to the birch borer. Find other native alternatives that are more interesting in this article by Lyn Chimera. It’s in the current issue of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. “Remember, if you want to plant a tree always check for an appropriate native first,” Chimera said. Other articles in this…

red admiral butterfly

Citizen scientists: Help with BioBlitz on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor

by Connie Oswald Stofko Be a citizen scientist and help the Pollinator Conservation Association with its BioBlitz through Dec. 1 on the Outer Harbor in Buffalo. Help to discover and identify flora and fauna there to improve conservation planning for future projects. The area includes Times Beach, Tifft Nature Preserve, the Union Ship Canal, and all of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation land and State Park land on the Outer Harbor. You can post pictures and observations on INaturalist.org….

graphic for drought watch

7 WNY counties now on ‘drought watch;’ what it means to gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko Cattaraugus and Allegany counties were recently added to the list of counties on drought watch, joining these five counties already on the list: Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Orleans and Genesee. Wyoming County still has normal water conditions, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). A “watch” is the first of four levels of state drought advisories: “watch,” “warning,” “emergency” and “disaster.” See a map of current drought conditions here. Understanding drought watch A…

collage on climate change

How gardeners can understand & adapt to climate change

by Connie Oswald Stofko What does climate change mean for your garden? As the climate continues to change, how will you, as a gardener, keep up with the changes? This is Climate Week, and in this article we’ll bring you some resources to help you understand climate change and adapt as a gardener. Ebook on climate change for gardeners What do you see when you look at your garden? A flower here, a tree there, a butterfly over yonder? Your…

montage for early autumn

Six timely reminders for your early autumn garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here are some topics from previous issues that may answer a question that has come up for you recently, or may act as a timely reminder. Have you had houseplants outside for the summer? Here is information on how to get rid of bugs before you bring your plants inside. If you want a delightful springtime show of blossoms, plant bulbs now. Find suggestions here on what perennials to plant around tulips to hide the dying…

Skirmish over Queen Anne’s lace leads to bigger discussions

by Connie Oswald Stofko It all started about two weeks ago when an anonymous neighbor complained to the Town of Amherst about the front lawn of Walter and Nan Simpson. The Simpsons mow their lawn, but when an interesting plant pops up, such as Queen Anne’s lace, they mow around it. The neighbor didn’t like that. When a town inspector showed up, he deemed the Queen Anne’s lace to be a noxious weed, according to the town code. Since the…