garden trellis from old swing frame

Old swing frame is repurposed as a trellis for cucumbers

by Connie Oswald Stofko Phyllis Lobbins, a Master Gardener from Cheektowaga, had a swing frame that might have gone out to trash, but she came up with a great use for it: She made it into a trellis for her cucumbers and squash. “I used regular garden twine because that was all I had on hand at the time,” Lobbins said, “but I would prefer using nylon string, or something that would not break down as quickly as twine. “I…

urn with plants at Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House

Bring the outdoors in: ideas from Wright’s Martin House

by Connie Oswald Stofko Bringing nature indoors was an aim of Frank Lloyd Wright, the famed architect who designed the Darwin Martin House in Buffalo. Wright wanted the Martin family to be able to enjoy nature even when they were inside. Rather than being an afterthought, the landscape was an integral part of the architectural design. That landscape, designed more than 100 years ago, has now been brought back to life. “We tried to re-create what had been here by…

lily pads protect fish in pond from heron

Protect fish in ponds from heron, plus final 2019 garden walk

by Connie Oswald Stofko The pond in the photo the may look overgrown, but all that foliage serves a purpose: It stops herons from eating fish in the pond. In this article, you can also find details on the last garden walk for 2019: the Black Squirrel Home and Garden Walk in Niagara Falls. Stop herons from eating your fish Marcia Panzarella shared her Camden Ave. landscape last week during the Northwest Buffalo Tour of Gardens. She has a pond,…

chives in flower in Amherst NY

Which herbs bolt, which herbs flower and why it makes a difference

by Connie Oswald Stofko What is bolting versus flowering? In both cases, the plant produces a flower. Flowering occurs as a natural part of the plant’s life and generally doesn’t affect the taste of leaves. Bolting occurs when a plant is stressed, often because the temperatures got too warm for that plant’s liking. The plant wants to reproduce before it dies, so it sends up a flower that will go to seed. Bolting diverts resources away from the leaves, which…

large vegetable garden on East Side of Buffalo

Tip on watering, plus this weekend’s garden walk

I got this great tip when I visited a garden on the East Side Garden Walk on July 20. Garden walk season isn’t over yet. There’s the Northwest Buffalo Tour of Gardens this weekend and the Black Squirrel Home and Garden Walk coming up on Aug. 10. Make sure you water the roots The vegetable garden at 261 Maple St. is huge and it takes two days to water, said David Lewis. Lewis maintains the garden for his relative, Cecil…

play area in small Buffalo yard

Landscape makes a comeback after fire

by Connie Oswald Stofko “You rebuild, and rebuild better,” said Krista Palgutt, whose landscape was damaged when their neighbor’s garage burned down. The back of the Palgutts’ house was charred. The patio, which they had just installed the previous year, had to be redone because the plastic furniture melted onto the patio. “But all the perennials came back,” Palgutt said, “except for the old growth hydrangeas.” No one was hurt in the fire, and I saw how their landscape made…

brown and yellow leaves on bottom of tomato plant

Why are leaves on my tomato plant turning yellow or brown?

by Connie Oswald Stofko The leaves on the bottom of my tomato plants are turning yellow, then brown. Don’t worry; it’s normal, says Jen Weber, vice president and manager of Mike Weber Greenhouses at 42 French Rd., West Seneca. “That’s what happens when the plant starts making tomatoes,” she said. “It’s better to have an ugly plant with lots of tomatoes than the other way around. By the end of summer, you should have a dead-looking tomato plant.” That’s what…

edging around garden beds in Hamburg, New York

How to get crisp edging, plus this week’s garden walks

by Connie Oswald Stofko The large landscape of Sue and Russell Rich in Hamburg is full of gardens, with flowering perennials packed shoulder to shoulder. Sue made all that happen. Russell mows the lawn and does the edging. So what is the one thing that people ask most often about this impressive landscape? To Sue’s chagrin, they ask about edging. People always want lessons on edging. I visited the Riches’ landscape during the Hamburg Garden Walk last weekend, and Russell…

two bees on a flower

Good news for bees, plus more from Master Gardeners

Due to the much publicized and well researched problems caused by neonicotinoids, the Environmental Protection Agency has banned 12 pesticides because of the harmful effect neonicotinoids have on bees, according to “Good News for Bees and the Environment” by Lyn Chimera. Unlike traditional pesticides, “neonics” are systemic, meaning that when taken up by the root system, the entire plant becomes toxic to insects. That article is one of the three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by…

David Mischler at Mischler's Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville

Geraniums have changed in 70 years; celebrate with someone who knows

by Connie Oswald Stofko Geranium plants are better than they were decades ago, said David Mischler, 80. He should know. “I’ve been working with geraniums since I was about 12,” he said. Now the office manager at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, he shares a quick history of geraniums as well as a tip about making geraniums look good for your next party. He will also be giving tours as Mischler’s holds its 75th anniversary celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday,…