Desmodium canadense or showy tick trefoil

What are the most popular categories of perennials?

by Connie Oswald Stofko What kinds of perennials are most popular with gardeners? Perennials that: Attract butterflies Attract hummingbirds Are native plants That’s from Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. These categories are so popular that the staff at Mischler’s has grouped perennials from these categories together to make them easier for gardeners to find. There is still time to plant perennials, and many are blooming now! Let’s take a look at an example of one perennial…

monarch on milkweed

New signs on garden walks, plus why you should try native plants

If you are going to share your landscape on any of our local garden walks, you can pick up a free sign to let visitors know that you use native plants in your landscape. And if you don’t use native plants, read on to see why you might want to add a few. Signs for gardens with native plants Native plants will be highlighted on garden walks this summer in a project organized by Gardens Buffalo Niagara and the WNY…

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…

spiderwort in Buffalo NY

Don’t let names fool you: You may want ‘weeds’ & ‘worts’ in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko A weed is any plant you don’t want in your garden. So who would want a plant with “weed” already in its name? And “wort” sounds like “wart,” those unappealing skin blemishes. Yuck! “Wort” is often coupled with the name of some body part —such as in “lungwort.” Double yuck! Don’t be turned off by those names. “Weed” comes from an Old English word for herb. The archaic meaning of “wort”, which has lingered in some…

witch-hazel flowers

Witch-hazel’s fragrant blooms add interest in autumn & winter

If you’re looking for a plant that blooms in your garden now, consider witch-hazel. American witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a native shrub that produces fragrant blooms in late fall and early winter, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The streamer-like flowers are just starting to appear at this time of year, following the annual loss of the shrub’s leaves. The yellow flowers typically last into December. Since witch-hazel is one of the few plants blooming now,…

bumble bee on goldenrod by Stofko

Identify and help native bees in your garden

Did you know that the native bumble bee is more effective than honey bees at pollinating crops such as tomatoes? That’s just one reason gardeners should care about native bees, according to the Wild Bee ID. Another reason gardeners should care about native bees is that pollinator populations have been declining at alarming rates all across the continent, primarily due to habitat loss and pesticide poisoning.  The makers of the Wild Bee ID app hope that gardeners in North America…

Pretty native wildflowers & more from Master Gardeners

You might want to include Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) or trillium in your spring garden. Find out why in two articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners in Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County. Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) is the loveliest spring native wildflower, according to the article by Carol Ann Harlos. Other good news is that Virginia bluebells are not usually favored by deer or rabbits. Another pretty native plant is trillium….

fly on daisy

Tips on gardening for pollinators

When we think of pollinators, we usually think of bees. But any animal that carries pollen from one plant to another as they collect nectar is a pollinator. This includes hummingbirds, bats, beetles and even flies. More than 75 percent of all flowering plants are pollinated by animals. Since this is National Pollinator Week, we’re sharing some gardening tips on how you can help pollinators. This information comes from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the…

monarch caterpillar

If you want butterflies, garden for caterpillars

If you want butterflies to stick around your garden longer, it’s not enough to think about gardening for butterflies. You need to think about gardening for caterpillars, too, said David O’Donnell of Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm. You can find his article and more in the Spring 2019 edition of the Pollinator magazine. It is published by the Pollinator Conservation Association, which is based in Western New York. Butterflies have a mission, O’Donnell explained. In addition to keeping themselves nourished by…

North Tonawanda Botanical Garden shares tips on standing water & more

by Connie Oswald Stofko How can you deal with standing water in your yard? What can you plant to attract birds and butterflies? The North Tonawanda Botanical Garden Organization wants to share what they know about these topics and more. “Our ultimate focus is community education,” said Laura Pecoraro, secretary. The group, which became a nonprofit in July 2018, is in its fourth year of rehabilitating a long-neglected park. It’s located at 1825 Sweeney St., North Tonawanda, along the Tonawanda…