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…

funnel to water Christmas tree

Water your Christmas tree without bending using clever trick from reader

by Connie Oswald Stofko “I don’t have to get down on my hands and knees to water the Christmas tree anymore,” said Rick Martinez of Niagara Falls. If you have a real Christmas tree, you know you have to keep it watered. Here’s a great tip from Martinez that makes watering your Christmas tree a little bit easier. You need a small funnel and four feet of half-inch tubing. Insert the funnel into the tubing. Use zip ties to attach…

Four tips to keep deer from eating your plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko We can never get enough tips on ways to keep deer from damaging plants. Some of these ideas may work for you and some may not. And even if the technique you’re using does work, it may stop working after a while, so you have to try something new. Here are four new tips on dealing with deer in your garden. Recipe for deer deterrent Michael Sheehan of the Western New York Hosta Society says this…

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…

rabbit with daisies

Roses can help save other plants from rabbits

by Connie Oswald Stofko I was intrigued by this tip. I have rabbits in my yard, and in the spring they munch on everything, including my rose bushes. But here is a way to use the canes from rose bushes to protect your other plants from hungry rabbits. This tip was shared by a reader named Susan: We had problems with rabbits munching our morning glory vines (or any lovely vine, for that matter). When I trimmed the rose bushes,…

arbor at entrance to backyard

Arbors, sheds & other hardscapes can enhance your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Visitors to the gardens of Jerry and Marie Wysocki in Hamburg delight in the abundance of plant material. But hardscapes are integral parts of the gardens, too. Hardscapes are the constructed, non-plant features in a landscape, such as the arbor and path that lead you into the backyard. The Wysockis shared their landscape during Open Gardens in July. When you tour garden walks and Open Gardens, try to look past the brightly colored flowers and see…

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…

red leaf with frost by Stofko

8 gardening tasks you can do in late autumn

by Connie Oswald Stofko Even though we got a taste of winter weather, it’s still autumn in Western New York. And there are still gardening things you can do! Bring in & store tender bulbs How should you care for bulbs of plants such as dahlias and canna lilies? Dig up the bulbs after the first killing frost, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. By now, most, if not all, of Western New York…

baskets on top of hosta plants

Tip to keep voles from damaging hostas

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here is a tip about voles from Kathy Guest Shadrack, board member and communication liaison with the Western New York Hosta Society. She has a problem with voles even though hawks, foxes and coyotes visit her gardens. In order to give her garden a fighting chance, she covers the crowns of her hostas with baskets she got from a dollar store. If the crown is really large, she chooses deer netting instead of a basket. She…