daffodil buds in spring in Western New York

Things you can do in your garden in this warm(ish) weather in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Yesterday I took some kitchen scraps out to my compost bin. The air temperature was only about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and I was surprised by how warm it felt in the sun. It made me want to putter in my garden. But don’t rush things. One thing you have to be concerned about is walking around on a wet lawn or garden bed. Walking on wet soil can compact the soil, which isn’t good for your…

alocasia 'Regal Shields'

Monumental growth in one season; you can get these plants now

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you are aching to garden, check out exciting tropical plants called elephant ears and red banana plants, which can grow to impressive heights by the end of summer. The best part is that you don’t have to wait to get started — you can grow them inside now! Those are are some of the plants you’ll be able to buy next week at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses’ booth at Plantasia. Plantasia, Western New York’s premier…

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. By the way, Botanical Gardens members…

butterfly on purple coneflower in West Seneca NY

Native wildflowers, shrubs offered in Reinstein sale; deadline Feb. 15

Friends of Reinstein Woods is holding its annual plant sale, which features wildflowers and shrubs that are native to the Northeast. Orders will be accepted through Friday, Feb. 15. Orders may be placed online or by downloading a mail-in order form. “Planting native plants is one of the most beneficial acts you can do for our environment,” said Terrence Boyle, Friends of Reinstein Woods board president. “Native plants are an excellent choice for gardeners because the beauty of these flowers and shrubs enhance…

serviceberry flower

Why you should plant Amelanchier & more tips from Master Gardeners

Amelanchier is a native shrub that is easy to grow, gets pretty flowers, produces tasty berries and helps pollinators. As Lyn Chimera said in an article from January’s WNY Gardening Matters, what’s not to like? You can find more details here in the article on Amelanchier, also known as serviceberry, juneberry or shadbush. Also in this month’s issue are: An article discussing how some cultivars of native plants, also known as nativars, don’t support insects as well as the native plants…

flowers and vegetables in front yard

4 tips on using containers to create a gorgeous garden

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Previously I showed you my experiment with a container garden on my front lawn. That container garden wasn’t as successful as I had hoped, but I learned a lot and tried it again. This time it was successful and my neighbors told me they loved it, too! It didn’t look like much in May or June, but in July the plants filled out and it was gorgeous. We had a mild autumn, and the container…

spider plant

Caring for spider plants, plus more tips from Master Gardeners

Spider plants are popular for indoors because they look great with a waterfall of foliage and little “spiderlets” of leaves. They’re easy to care for, too, according the article in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County. Read more about spider plants here.  Also in this month’s edition, read: Fall fungi, which discusses mushrooms that pop up in your lawn Crazy about clematis This month in the garden,…

flowers on sunchoke in Amherst NY 2013

Plant sunchokes in pots; now is time to plant

by Connie Oswald Stofko I’ve been growing sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes) for several years now. These cool plants can grow 10 feet tall in one season. They get small yellow flowers. Not only that, you can eat the root! See more here. They’re very easy to grow– perhaps too easy. They spread a lot. Even if you try to harvest all of the tubers, it’s easy to miss a piece. The next year, you find you have sunchokes growing…

toad lily in Amherst NY

Create a beautiful autumn garden; see how Amherst gardener does it

  by Connie Oswald Stofko The many trees and shrubs in Connie Krueger’s backyard filtered the blazing afternoon sun. It was relaxing to be sheltered from the heat while being able to enjoy the colorful plants in both sunny and shady areas. And guess what? It was already after Labor Day! While your garden might peak in July, you can still enjoy your garden in autumn. Krueger shared her landscape during Open Gardens this summer, and her yard is still lovely…

New England asters

Why you should use native asters, plus more Master Gardener tips

Native asters are easy to grow, they bloom in autumn and they help butterflies. Read more about why you should use native asters in your garden in this article in September’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Scroll down farther in that article to read about the weed orchid or Epipactus helleborine, an invasive plant that can pop up in your garden. It has even been known to push up through…