Recharge houseplants outdoors while they fill in your landscape

by Connie Oswald Stofko Several weeks ago, the folks at one garden center suggested I do an article about houseplants–in summer! That’s an odd topic for this time of year, I thought to myself. Then another garden center suggested the same thing. When a third garden center brought up houseplants, I knew I had to find out more. Here are some reasons to pay attention to houseplants in summer: Healthier houseplants Your houseplants will grow better outside because they can…

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…

hairy bittercress weed

Hairy bittercress & more in WNY Gardening Matters

Hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) is a weed you may see at this time of year, said Carol Ann Harlos in WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. This plant and other ephemeral spring weeds pop up when the earth warms, quickly bloom and produce seeds. When the seeds are ripe, they shoot out and wait until autumn to germinate and grow. Depending on the conditions, several generations of plants can occur before…

bees on swamp milkweed

It’s Pollinator Week! Get tips on how to make your yard inviting

by Connie Oswald Stofko Pollinator Week is all about spreading awareness of the butterflies, bats, birds and bees that are essential to plant reproduction. Find out how you can help protect pollinators. Pollinator video Provide a place for pollinators by making your backyard a better habitat for plants, insects and birds. Watch the video Green Your Backyard from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). It gives great tips you can use whether you have a large suburban…

hide garbage can in garden in Buffalo NY

Why didn’t I think of that?–tips from WNY gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s wonderful to enjoy the beauty of the hundreds of gardens that we get to visit here in Western New York. It’s even better when we get an idea that we can use in our own garden! Here are five simple tips to make your garden extra special. In the photo above, you see lots of flowers in bloom. But what don’t you see? Garbage cans! Two simple doors hide what could be an ugly distraction….

eastern cicada killer compared to Asian giant hornet

Reminder: No murder hornets in WNY; how to identify lookalikes

by Connie Oswald Stofko “We do not have Asian giant hornets (also known as murder hornets) anywhere in Western New York,” said Sharon Bachman, Agriculture & Natural Resources Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. We ran an article about murder hornets in October 2021. We didn’t have any in Western New York then and we still don’t have any. I keep hearing from people who think they have spotted murder hornets–or even insist that what they encountered was…

peonies at Graycliff in Derby NY

What’s blooming at Graycliff now

by Connie Oswald Stofko Every so often, we’ll post a photo (or two or three) of what’s blooming at Graycliff, 6472 Old Lake Shore Rd., Derby. See beautiful plants that are in bloom now, but won’t be noticed on a garden walk because the plant will be past its prime. These are plants you might want to add to your landscape for some early summer color. The photos also give you a peek at the stunning Graycliff landscape, which was initially…

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…

digging in yard by Stofko

Reminder: Call 811 before you dig

by Connie Oswald Stofko You’d be pretty embarrassed if the whole neighborhood lost its cable because you cut the line while you were digging or rototilling. And if you hit a gas or electrical line, you and others could be injured or even killed! So before you dig a hole for a fence post, water feature, garden or pool, you need to know where all those utility lines are so you don’t accidentally hit them with your shovel or rototiller….

orange and red peppers

Inflation: Ideas for growing food in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Maybe you haven’t noticed, but food prices are going up and may continue to rise. Food plants may be a good investment right now. To deal with inflation, consider growing vegetables, herbs or fruit that: You are really going to eat Are expensive to buy You can share with others Plant what you like to eat I used to have a large section of garden filled with chives. They grow easily and get a pretty purple…