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…

rye grass and foxglove 'Summer King' amd lamium 'White Nancy'

Plants for trouble spots & more at Mischler’s 59-cent perennial sale

by Connie Oswald Stofko Do you have trouble finding plants for a dry, shady area? Or maybe you want beautiful flowers for sun. Or you’re ready to try some native plants. You can find that and more at the 59-cent perennial sale being held from Friday, April 26 to Friday, May 3 at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and…

buttonbush

Natives to plant in wet areas, plus more tips from Master Gardeners

If you have a wet area in your landscape, you may look at it as a problem area — but that’s because you’re trying to plant the wrong plants there. Learn about native plant choices that are so interesting they will make your neighbors wish they had wet areas in their landscapes, too. “Natives for Those Wet Places” by Lyn Chimera is one of the three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters. The publication is produced by…

penstemon 'Midnight Masquerade'

Unusual plants: Don’t miss these Hot Picks in Great Plant Sale

by Connie Oswald Stofko In the Great Plant Sale, “We want to offer things you’re not going to see everywhere,” said Sharon Reader, volunteer at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens and a member of the committee that chose the plants for the sale. The deadline to pre-order is Friday, April 5, but if you want one of the really spectacular Hot Picks, you better order now — They often sell out quick. UPDATE: The deadline to order plants…