gardens and waterfall in Elma

Huge water feature & plenty of perennials highlight Open Garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Everywhere you turn, there’s a great view in the backyard of Jerry and Karen Dwigun in Elma. And Karen Dwigun has lots of tips to help you make the most of your landscape. The Dwiguns shared their landscape during Open Gardens in July. Find the right spot for a perennial Plants that are marked “shade” still need some sun, Dwigun said. If you put a plant in a spot and it’s not doing well, move it….

garden directly under a large tree

You can garden in shade–even under a tree!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Do you struggle with shade? Find out how these gardeners created lush shade gardens–directly under large trees! The trick, the gardeners said, is using good soil with lots of compost. Note: Don’t pile soil up against the tree trunk and don’t create mulch volcanoes. See more here. “Make sure the soil is real good,” said Linda Monaco. She and her husband Chris live in Lackawanna and shared their landscape on Open Gardens last month. “In the…

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….

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,…

Hosta 'Sum of All'

Three tips on overwintering perennials in containers

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s time to think about some simple steps to overwinter your plant. These tips should work with any kind of perennial that is winter hardy; that is, any perennial that would come back in spring if it was planted in a garden bed over the winter. Bonus tip: Before we get into that, let me say that I was impressed by this stunning hosta at the home of Marcia and David Sully in Eden. I’ve written…

garden beds in center of yard

Prepare for Open Gardens & get tips from Hidden Gardens of Eden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Open Gardens will be held on Thursdays and Fridays starting next week, so get your booklet now. The booklet lists the locations of the gardens as well as the times and dates that each garden is open. The organizers even included suggested routes to help you see all the gardens. The booklet is available for a $10 donation at many local garden centers– see the list here.  The Open Gardens are like garden walks, but they take…

looking into 'secret garden' in Amherst NY

Shade, color, water and sound create sanctuary on Amherst Garden Walk

by Connie Oswald Stofko “This is my sanctuary,” said Kathleen Pratt of Amherst. “The waterfall, the fish, the birds — it all brings me such peace.” I visited the home she shares with her husband John during last year’s Town of Amherst Garden Walk. This year, the Town of Amherst Garden Walk will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 6. You can see the dates for all of the garden walks here. Even though her yard…

Seed-starting tips & more help from Master Gardeners

You started some seeds inside and watched them grow into healthy seedlings. Soon after, they were dead. This sudden death is “damping off,” and it can be prevented. Find out how to avoid damping off in an article by Carol Ann Harlos in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters. It’s produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. In addition to the article on damping off, in this edition of WNY Gardening Matters you will…

rose climbing on trellis

Prune roses when forsythia blooms, but don’t cut back climbing roses

Here are two tips from the Western New York Rose Society on pruning and planting roses. Tip #1: Don’t prune or plant roses too soon. Wait until you see forsythia blooming in your neighborhood. When you see those yellow blossoms, you will know it’s the perfect time to start planting and pruning your roses. From Steve Styn, Western New York Rose Society Rosarian Tip #2: Don’t cut back your climbing roses. Just trim the brown tips off in the spring. …

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. UPDATE: The deadline to order plants…