lawn in yard using permaculture

This Grand Island landscape is suburban in front, natural in back

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s like visiting a home out in the country–depending on what side of the house you’re on. In front, the home of Denise and Don Freedman has a typical suburban landscape. In back, it’s more natural, with fruit trees, a rain garden and trees that were there when they bought the land. They’ve been using permaculture techniques before they ever heard that word. What does permaculture mean to them? “It’s using your land to your advantage,”…

lilies and red lily leaf beetle

Could these simple tricks keep away red lily leaf beetles?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Recently a couple of readers have shared ways to keep red lily leaf beetles from eating their plants. Could these things really work? I asked John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, what he thought of the suggestions. Bottom line: there are no studies on whether these methods work, but they shouldn’t hurt, either. Diatomaceous earth for red lily leaf beetles Susan Baker said that last year she had lily leaf beetles on…

decorative fence with trellis and gate in Hamburg NY

See great landscapes like this on Open Gardens, garden walks starting in July!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s something to look forward to: Open Gardens and some garden walks this summer! You can see a list of which gardening events are open and which are canceled at the end of this article. There may still be changes, so to get the most up-to-date information, go to the calendar page of Gardens Buffalo Niagara. One of the garden walks that has been canceled is the The Hamburg Garden Walk, but organizers plan to offer…

pussy willow

Advantages of willows that don’t weep, plus more from Master Gardeners

When you think of a willow, you probably think of a weeping willow (Salix babylonica), which originated in China. But if you want butterflies in your garden, you might want to choose native varieties of willow– they support at least 455 species of butterfly larva. Find out more reasons to plant native willows in the article Willows That Don’t Weep by Lynn Chimera. It’s one of the latest articles published in WNY Gardening Matters by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative…

basket of vegetables in Western New York by Stofko

How to choose best vegetables to grow in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Many beginning gardeners wonder what vegetables are the best to plant. That’s a difficult question to answer. What I like to plant may not be what you should plant. Here are some ideas on how you can choose what vegetables are best for you to plant. Right plant for the right spot The first thing you always have to think of are your growing conditions. Many of the vegetable plants that gardeners like to grow need…

snow in May 2020

Mow, snow, grow: wild spring weather in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko We had a mild winter and last month it seemed that spring had arrived in Western New York. There was a lot of rain, but every so often the rain took a break and people mowed their lawns. But there were stretches when it seemed like it was constantly cloudy. We yearned for sunshine! But this past week really made us shake our heads. The mowing days alternated with snowing days. Big, fat snowflakes floated in…

mint by Stofko

Invasive plant or aggressive? There is a difference

by Connie Oswald Stofko What is the difference between an invasive plant and an aggressive plant? Sometimes gardeners use the terms interchangeably, but aggressive and invasive aren’t the same thing. Aggressive plant An aggressive plant is one that spreads faster than preferred, or into an area of your garden where it is unwanted, according to the Chicago Botanic Garden. But what one gardener views as an aggressive plant might not be viewed that way by another gardener. As the Chicago…

four gardening images

More gardening & nature activities you can do during the pandemic

by Connie Oswald Stofko First: Our Events page is back! For awhile, the page was overwhelmed by cancelled events. There was no reason to check it out. But organizers have been creating interesting new events that keep participants safe during the pandemic. I am delighted to be post them on my Events page. On the Events page, you’ll find activities that are being held at a particular time and on a certain date. Most of them are online talks and…

deck in backyard in South Buffalo

Secluded deck provides sanctuary in South Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko Today I want to share some photos from the landscape of Sally and Paul Tucker of South Buffalo to give you inspiration for your own gardens. I visited them last July during South Buffalo Alive. Before we talk about the Tuckers’ yard, I know you are wondering what is happening with garden walks this year. My understanding is that two of the garden walks that take place early in the season, Lewiston GardenFest and Springville Garden…

clay in soil

Clay soil: compost is better than sand

by Connie Oswald Stofko When you have clay soil, should you add compost or sand? Compost. “In the long run, by far, the best thing you could possibly add is organic matter,” said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Organic matter can be compost, autumn leaves, peat moss or other plant material. Organic matter is better because you have to add so much sand to loosen the clay, it’s not practical, Farfaglia said. I asked this…