bee flying into hosta flower in Amherst NY

Help bees, butterflies & other pollinators

by Connie Oswald Stofko Whether we want to grow food or enjoy beautiful flowers, pollinators are so important to our gardens that an entire week has been dedicated to them. About 75 percent of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators, according to Pollinator Partnership, which works to protect the health of these animals that are vital to not only our gardens, but to agriculture and our ecosystem. The group initiated Pollinator Week, held this year from June 15-21, out…

Fascinating green roof project under way in Springville; you can help

by Connie Oswald Stofko The Springville Center for the Arts is seeking volunteers to start seedlings for its green roof project. You’ll get seeds that you are asked to start in containers and nurture until they’re ready to be transplanted onto the green roof. You don’t have to live in Springville to participate. In addition to the seedling program, volunteers are needed for the installation of the green roof on the building that the arts center is rehabilitating at  5 East Main…

sunchokes in pot in Amherst NY

Control sunchokes by planting them in pots; I’ll share sunchokes with you

What’s not to like about sunchokes? They grow dramatically in one season, reaching heights of 10 feet. In September, when other plants are losing steam, sunchokes are just starting to flower. They add a lot of interest to your garden. Plus you can eat them! Find out more about sunchokes  (also called Jerusalem artichokes) here. I have to admit there is one drawback with sunchokes– The roots do spread a lot. The root is the part you eat, and even…

herb garden at Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village

Get tips from history to deal with a combination of dry and wet conditions in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko A combination of gardening problems faces Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, the 35-acre historical interpretive center in Amherst that showcases 19th century buildings set up like a village. Much of the landscape is boggy, so gardens can be wet early in the season. In addition, there’s no irrigation system, and hoses can’t reach all the gardens, so there’s no easy way to water plants during the dry summer months. To deal with these conditions, Buffalo Niagara Heritage…

bee from Buffalo and Erie Botanical Gardens

You can help protect bees from toxins; learn more at Honey Bee Festival

by Connie Oswald Stofko Let the clover and dandelions grow in your lawn. Minimize your pesticide use, too, especially on flowers that are attractive to honey bees. Those are ways gardeners can help with the problem of Colony Collapse Disorder, said Reed Johnson, assistant professor in the Department of Entomology at the Ohio State University. Dr. Johnson will speak at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 3 at the Honey Bee Festival at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South…

Learn more about invasive species during monthly teleconferences, videos

You can find information on invasive species through the 2014 New York State Invasive Species Speaker Series organized by Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM). Selected recordings can be found at the  NY Invasives You Tube Channel. People who don’t feel tech savvy may feel most comfortable accessing the information there. If you’re a little more confident when it comes to technology, you may want to sit in on one of the monthly teleconferences. You’ll find information on how…

It’s time to plant sunchokes in WNY & I will share some with you

by Connie Oswald Stofko I’m beginning to harvest my sunchokes, which I think are the coolest plants ever, and I’ll give some to anyone who wants to plant them. You can plant them now in Western New York. The only catch is that I don’t want to mail them, so I ask you to arrange to pick them up. If you don’t live near me (I’m in the Eggertsville area of Amherst), you probably work with someone whose cousin lives…

Watch local cooking challenge & learn to cook with native plants

Sumac, a native plant, is pretty this time of year with its large red, cone-shaped flowers. You can see these small trees in parks or in the wild, and they make a great landscape plant. But did you know sumac is edible? There are quite a few native plants you might want to start growing for food– If you know how to cook with them. In this article we’ll tell you about two events where you can get ideas on…

Sept. 13 is deadline to enter veggies, flowers in Genesee Country Village fair

You can enter plants, flowers, heirloom vegetables and fruits in the Agricultural Fair to be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5 and 6 at the Genesee Country Village and Museum, 1410 Flint Hill Road, Mumford. The competitions include one for largest pumpkin. Prior registration is required. Entry forms must be received by Friday, Sept. 13. Find the entry form and rules here. Entrants will receive one day free admission to the fair. The competitions are…

Sunchokes are available now, update on celery & more

Surprise– I have sunchokes to share Normally I don’t share sunchokes until fall when the tubers are ready to harvest. But I happen to have a few plants popping up in a spot where I’ve decided to plant something else this year, so they all have to find new homes. I am offering the plants for free, but I don’t want to mail them. If you’d like one, you must arrange to pick it up at my house– I’m in…