Free tree seedlings available to schools; DEC also holding sale

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)  is offering free tree seedlings to schools, and it is selling tree and shrub seedlings for conservation plantings on private and public lands. The DEC operates the State Tree Nursery in Saratoga Springs. Seedlings for schools Free tree seedlings are available to any school: public, private or parochial; nursery, elementary, secondary, vocational, college or university. Any school-sponsored organization is also eligible. Spruce and pine are available. Only one species may be…

Northeast native flowers from National Garden Bureau

Perennial for 2013 is ‘wildflower,’ says National Garden Bureau

2013 has been named the Year of the Wildflower by the National Garden Bureau, the non-profit organization promoting gardening on behalf of the horticulture industry. Each year, the National Garden Bureau showcases a plant in each of three categories: vegetable/edible, annual and perennial. The showcased plants are supposed to be popular, easy-to-grow, widely adaptable, genetically diverse and versatile. The wildflower (though it’s more of a category than a plant) certainly meets those criteria. We talked to representatives of Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484…

rose in garden of Helen Waterhouse in Amherst NY

Q&A: roses, black-eyed Susans & sunchokes

Every so often, I get questions from readers that I can’t answer. That’s no surprise; when it comes to gardening, I am just a hobbyist. I’m able to bring you great information each week because I can interview people who know more than I do. So when I get questions I can’t answer, I turn to my readers for help. If you can offer advice on any of the questions below, please leave a comment below. And if you’re interested…

riparian habitat Buffalo NY

6 ways you can benefit from maintaining your waterfront habitat

If you own land on a lake, creek, river or other body of water, you may know that using native plants in the landscape can benefit the environment. But it can benefit you, too. You can learn more on how to care for your waterfront property at a series of workshops scheduled by Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. The workshops will provide technical assistance on the topic of waterfront or riparian habitat restoration using native plant species. The first workshop will be…

Jerusalem artichole or sunchoke flowers in Amherst NY

The coolest plant ever: Jerusalem artichoke (also known as sunchoke)

I don’t know why everyone doesn’t grow the Jerusalem artichoke, also known as sunchoke. This plant starts out from nothing and grows a dramatic ten feet tall in one season. It flowers in September, adding autumn interest to your garden. You can plant it in fall, so it gives you a chance to putter in your garden now. If that weren’t enough, it’s a food plant. The roots are delicious! I hadn’t heard of this marvelous plant until I got…

Yolanda Smith Seneca Nation

Herbal remedies & pharmaceuticals both start with plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko Whether you treat your maladies with an herbal tea or a pill from the drugstore, your medicine probably got its start in the garden. At the kick-off event for the medicinal gardens at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Wednesday, a proponent of herbal medicine and  pharmacists from D’Youville College gave their views on healing plants. Yolanda Smith, left, a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians, is a medicine gatherer and talked about the…

blue spruce on Summer Street in Buffalo NY

Lush Buffalo garden with full-grown trees was planted on top of asphalt

A 20-foot blue spruce, along with a birch, crab apple, dogwood and Japanese maple, are part of what is essentially a giant container garden built on top of a narrow asphalt driveway in Buffalo. Ellie Dorritie of 415 Summer St. shared her gardens during Garden Walk Buffalo on July 30 and 31. More than 350 gardens were on display during the event, which is the largest garden tour in the nation. Dorritie’s back garden includes brick pathways, which you can…

'Daydream' and 'Tomato Soup' echinacea in Buffalo NY

Planting season isn’t over! Check garden centers for new arrivals

Many gardeners feel they must get their garden planted by Memorial Day weekend or they’ve missed some sort of deadline. They think that if they go to a garden center now, they’ll see nothing but shriveled-up specimens on a discount table. Surprise! It’s still planting season in Buffalo and Western New York, and garden centers are full of fresh, new perennials and trees that you can plant right now.  Plus, you get instant color and instant flowers because these fully…

hummingbird at honeysuckle

Cold spring means hummingbirds need feeders now in Buffalo area

by Penny Durnin If you haven’t already hung your hummingbird feeder in your garden, do it now. The spring migration of hummingbirds is in full swing right now and there have been several reports of hummingbirds in gardens in and around Buffalo. My first male showed up Wednesday, May 4 at 7:11 in the evening. He must have been in need of some instant energy as he made about six visits to my feeder before dark. Ruby throated hummingbirds (the…

Queen Anne's Lace in Buffalo NY

Native plant or invasive species in the Buffalo area?

by Connie Oswald Stofko I was going to plant Queen Anne’s lace in my garden.  I used to love picking these pretty wildflowers in the fields when I was growing up in Cheektowaga.  And hey, planting native species is good for the environment, right? One problem: Queen Anne’s lace grows wild, but it’s not a native species. “We’re at the point where the most common stuff is non-native,” said Paul Fuhrmann of Ecology & Environment and the New York State…