Start to check for red lily leaf beetle in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko I received this message from Tess in Binghamton: “Red lily beetles have arrived early! Picked a dozen of them out of the flower bed today, March 20, 2020, in Binghamton NY area!!” It’s not too early to start looking for them in Western New York, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County “They do show up early, as soon as the foliage breaks ground,” Farfaglia said. In past years, “I’ve gotten calls…

snowdrops flowers by Stofko

Gardening things you can do now despite the COVID-19 cancellations

by Connie Oswald Stofko Plantasia is cancelled. The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is closed until at least April 20. Lots of other places and activities are shut down, too. It’s disappointing, but we all need to do what we can do to slow the spread of COVID-19. But here is good news: Spring is arriving on March 19. The weather seems to be getting milder. And there are actually some gardening activities you can do now! I’ll list…

water feature in garden in Hamburg NY

Four landscape design ideas that you may have never seen before

by Connie Oswald Stofko When you go on garden walks or visit Open Gardens, it’s nice to just gaze at the beautiful landscapes. It’s also helpful to get new, practical ideas you can use in your own yard. We’ll do both in this article, looking at views from the landscape of Sue and Russell Rich in Hamburg. When they moved in 25 years ago, there was almost nothing in the yard, but now they are surrounded by beautiful garden beds….

Symphoricarpos 'Proud Berry'

Order now for Great Plant Sale so you don’t miss out; deadline is April 10

by Connie Oswald Stofko Now is the time to place your pre-order for the Great Plant Sale at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. The deadline to order is Friday, April 10, but don’t wait–some plants sell out early. You can order online. You’ll pick up your pre-ordered plants at the Great Plant Sale at the Botanical Gardens from May 14-16. There will be other plants for sale then, too, that you don’t have to pre-order. But if you…

slender false brome

Invasive grass & more news from Master Gardeners

An invasive plant that has been identified in Genesee County and may be other parts of Western New York is slender false brome, according to an article in the latest issue of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Erie County. Because slender false brome looks so much like other grasses, it may be undetected in other counties. See more about the plant in this article by Lisa Marie Gee. Other articles in this issue are: Find out…

flowering dogwood

Trees with flowers, fruit & nuts offered in state, county sales

Find trees to fit your landscape in the annual seedling sales held by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and by local counties. Each sale has different offerings. In addition to tree seedlings, some counties offer shrubs, wildflower seeds, ferns and supplies for your plants. See details on the DEC sale here. See sales in these counties: Cattaraugus Chautauqua Erie Genesee Niagara Orleans (See page 5 of the newsletter.) Trees with flowers, fruit & nuts Here are…

tomato plants ripening inside in autumn

How to keep growing tomatoes on the vine after frost

by Connie Oswald Stofko There’s nothing like the taste of vine-ripened tomatoes, but frost will stop tomato production cold. There are ways to try to protect your plants from frost, but it can be difficult to accomplish. (See some tips here on how to prevent frost from damaging garden plants. So last year when Judy Clark of Hamburg excitedly told me, “It’s the end of November and I’m still getting fresh tomatoes,” you can bet that I wanted to know…

snowless garden and snowy garden

How to deal with warm-then-cold winter weather

by Connie Oswald Stofko We got snow in November, then it melted. In late December, the weather was surprisingly warm, with air temperatures reaching the high 50s. The grass looked so green! Then the temperatures hit lows in the teens. This past weekend we got socked with snow. One thing you can say for weather in Western New York– it’s not boring. Here are some things you can do to deal with these changes in winter weather. Protect your plants…

dandelions in lawn

Dandelions aren’t all bad, plus more tips from Master Gardeners

You may know that dandelion leaves can be eaten, but there are even more uses for this plant. The milky sap of a variety of dandelion can be used to make rubber, according to an article by Lyn Chimera in the most recent issue of WNY Gardening Matters. WNY Gardening Matters is produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Also in this issue: Learn about an invasive pest called the hemlock wooly adelgid, which can…

sticks in garden to keep rabbits and cats out

Tip to keep rabbits, cats out of your garden this winter

by Connie Oswald Stofko Do rabbits make nests in your garden? Do cats use your garden for a litterbox? Here is one tip to solve both problems. Make the space less appealing by breaking it up with sticks. In addition to sticks from a tree, you can recycle disposable chopsticks, Popsicle sticks, old plant tags and plastic forks and spoons. In my garden I have a metal spoon that was damaged when it fell into the garbage disposal. Don’t go…