hail damage on hostas

Will your hostas & other plants recover from hail damage in WNY?

by Connie Oswald Stofko I was one of the gardeners who experienced hail last week– it was the size of fat M&Ms! That wasn’t the only setback weather brought to Western New York gardeners in the past few weeks. “Some of us got hit with a five-day period of frost and freeze in mid-May,” said Kathy Guest Shadrack, board member and communication liaison with the Western New York Hosta Society. “Sadly, this came after a long period of abnormally warm…

lilies and red lily leaf beetle

Could these simple tricks keep away red lily leaf beetles?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Recently a couple of readers have shared ways to keep red lily leaf beetles from eating their plants. Could these things really work? I asked John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, what he thought of the suggestions. Bottom line: there are no studies on whether these methods work, but they shouldn’t hurt, either. Diatomaceous earth for red lily leaf beetles Susan Baker said that last year she had lily leaf beetles on…

Centaurea montana courtesy Ivy Garth

Mischler’s 59-cent perennial sale to start on Friday!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Hurray! One of Western New York’s favorite gardening events is taking place on the planned date! Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses will hold its yearly 59-cent perennial sale starting this Friday, April 24. The plants are sold only in packs of four plants at $2.36 per pack. You will order your plants online. When you order, you’ll indicate what date and time you would like to pick up your plants at Mischler’s, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville….

water feature in garden in Hamburg NY

Four landscape design ideas that you may have never seen before

by Connie Oswald Stofko When you go on garden walks or visit Open Gardens, it’s nice to just gaze at the beautiful landscapes. It’s also helpful to get new, practical ideas you can use in your own yard. We’ll do both in this article, looking at views from the landscape of Sue and Russell Rich in Hamburg. When they moved in 25 years ago, there was almost nothing in the yard, but now they are surrounded by beautiful garden beds….

Symphoricarpos 'Proud Berry'

Order now for Great Plant Sale so you don’t miss out; deadline is April 10

by Connie Oswald Stofko Now is the time to place your pre-order for the Great Plant Sale at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. The deadline to order is Friday, April 10, but don’t wait–some plants sell out early. You can order online. You’ll pick up your pre-ordered plants at the Great Plant Sale at the Botanical Gardens from May 14-16. There will be other plants for sale then, too, that you don’t have to pre-order. But if you…

amaryllis Star of Holland

Amaryllis with no leaves: can it come back next year?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a question from a reader: Hi,I bought an amaryllis in a home hardware store. Bulb and container. It is blooming beautiful right now in January. It’s named “Holland Star.’ I have two stalks, lots of blooms but no leaves??? What does that mean? Hope you can give me some advice. So glad I found this site. I have bought these for my mother many years ago. I did not know they would keep from year…

snowless garden and snowy garden

How to deal with warm-then-cold winter weather

by Connie Oswald Stofko We got snow in November, then it melted. In late December, the weather was surprisingly warm, with air temperatures reaching the high 50s. The grass looked so green! Then the temperatures hit lows in the teens. This past weekend we got socked with snow. One thing you can say for weather in Western New York– it’s not boring. Here are some things you can do to deal with these changes in winter weather. Protect your plants…

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,…

autumn leaves on grass

It’s leaf season! 9 tips for using autumn leaves in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko We enjoyed many weeks of beautiful autumn color in Western New York this year! Now it’s time for the leaves to fall. The bad news is that our recent strong winds brought down branches as well as leaves. I hope you didn’t sustain any damage. The good news is that the fallen leaves give us things to do in our landscapes at this time of year. And those leaves can be used in so many ways!…