lavender in Niagara Falls garden

Two tips on growing lavender in Western New York

  by M.L. Wells, Master Gardener Volunteer, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County When I gave visitors a tour of my gardens in July during the From the Earth event held by Allegany County Cornell Cooperative Extension, one visitor was amazed by my flourishing lavender plant. She asked, “Mine always dies, why does yours look so great?” As with most things, knowledge is power! To be a successful gardener you need to understand your plant’s needs, then apply a liberal amount…

'Fireworks' goldenrod

Why you should plant goldenrod, plus more tips from Master Gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not cause hay fever!” said Lyn Chimera, the author of “Goldenrod Gets a Bad Rap,” one of three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County. Although many gardeners think of goldenrod as a weed, it’s one of Chimera’s favorite garden plants.  It’s beautiful in the garden, it’s great as a cut flower and it provides food…

video on buying and planting perennials

2 tips on buying & planting perennials– Yes, you can plant them now!

by Connie Oswald Stofko First: Yes, you can still buy and plant perennials! You can even plant them in autumn. Today we get a couple of tips from Jen Weber, vice president and manager of Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca. They grow Gardener’s Own™ brand plants. When you’re buying perennials, don’t be afraid to buy a rootbound plant. Weber explains why buying a plant with roots sticking out of the pot is actually a good thing. But what…

chair in shade

Heat wave: take care of your garden– and yourself!

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Western New York is feeling the heat wave that is moving across the country. “If there was a time to water, this is it,” said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Pay special attention to trees and shrubs that have been planted in the last couple years, Farfaglia said. Those are the plants that will suffer the most if they’re not watered. Make sure you water deeply. Hanging baskets can…

hose slowly watering plant

Rainfall has been below normal in WNY, so keep watering

  by Connie Oswald Stofko In the past few weeks, I’ve seen clouds, heard thunder and even felt a few drops of rain in my Amherst garden. (I think I counted a total of 13 drops.) It’s not unusual to have a dry spell like this, but you need to remember to keep watering your garden. At the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga, they measured just .11 inch of rain since May 23, said meteorologist David Thomas. (I didn’t…

Hosta Liberty

You might turn into a hosta fan at Hosta Experience

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you’re not familiar with hostas, you may wonder why this plant has an entire plant society devoted to it. You may just become a fan after attending the Hosta Experience to be held by the Western New York Hosta Society from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 10 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. You’ll see it listed as the Hosta Show, which is was it was…

delphinium Magic Fountain Mix

‘Perennial’ doesn’t mean ‘live forever’; expect to replant some perennials

  by Connie Oswald Stofko “‘Perennial’ doesn’t mean ‘live forever,’ said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses. “Granted, they may come back, but some perennials are short lived and might not last more than three or four years.” It’s best to plant those varieties every two or three years to make sure they don’t die out completely. (All you people who tell me you can’t garden because you don’t have a green thumb: If a perennial died, it…

Cassia didmobotrya flower

Plant that smells like buttered popcorn offered at Great Plant Sale

by Connie Oswald Stofko “I’m pretty excited about this plant,” said Kristin Pochopin, director of Horticulture at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. She was referring to an annual called Cassia didmobotrya, whose unique feature is that when you rub the leaves, it smells like buttered popcorn. The scent is most noticeable in late summer and early fall. Popochin was familiar with this plant when she worked for a wholesale grower in Pennsylvania, but hasn’t seen it much in our area. It’s…

blood twig dogwood Midnight Fire

Look for ‘two-fers’ for your garden; hear more at PLANT WNY event

by Connie Oswald Stofko Home gardeners aren’t planting acres and acres of gardens anymore, so we have to get more out of the few plants we choose to include in our landscapes, Kerry Ann Mendez told me in a phone interview. The award-winning garden designer, author and lecturer noted that the two largest age groups in our country now are millennials and baby boomers, and both groups are choosing smaller spaces. Millennials are gravitating toward urban settings rather than sprawling suburbs, and…

milkweed seeds

Weather garden: focus on wind, rain

by Stephen Vermette, Department of Geography & Planning, SUNY Buffalo State In a previous issue, I introduced you to a weather garden, which vividly demonstrates how sunlight, temperature, wind and rain affect plants in different ways. It does this through the choice of plants, as well as through fun and useful ornaments such as thermometers, wind vanes and rain gauges. That first article focused on sunlight. In the second article, I focused on temperature. Today we will look at the…