garden gate from Kerry Ann Mendez

Your plants aren’t your children: advice for low-maintenance gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko Kerry Ann Mendez, garden designer, author and consultant, will kick off the festivities for the National Garden Festival on Friday, June 24 with a talk on “Tips for Low-maintenance, High-impact Perennial Gardens.” You can also join her that day for a tour of the perennials and shrubs at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. (See details of the opening day activities at the end of this article.) Mendez has written two books. The Ultimate Flower…

lily of valley

Lily of valley is flower for May

by Connie Oswald Stofko Tiny yet powerfully fragrant, the lily of the valley (also called May bells)  is a favorite for spring gardens. It is the flower for birthdays in May and symbolizes sweetness, purity and return of happiness. The scientific name for the plant is Convallaria Majalis. Lily of the valley is easy to grow. It is a perennial, so it comes back every year. It spreads and keeps its green leaves all summer long, so it can be…

Swinging Linda coleus

Coleus provides color in sun or shade garden in Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko Coleus is  “probably one of the easiest plants to grow in your garden,” said Doug O’Reilly, horticulturist and head gardener at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. “That’s why I grow them.” A Coleus Show will be held from this Saturday, May 7 to Sunday, May 29 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. Hours for the show are  10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults,…

Joe Pye Weed Chocolate in Buffalo rain garden

Here are some good native plants for your rain garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Native plants and flowers are strongly recommended for your rain garden because these plants have the greatest chance of growth and survival in Western New York. Using native plants also means low maintenance– you won’t need to water. Last week, we discussed building a rain garden and how rain gardens help keep our water clean. We showed you the rain garden at the Crane Branch Library in Buffalo, and we promised more information on  plants for…

front garden on West Ferry in Buffalo

Lush gardens featured on West Ferry during Garden Walk Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko Lynn and Alan Stout have lived at 801 West Ferry, Buffalo, for 20 years, and they have built their lavish gardens bit by bit. They shared their work with the public during Garden Walk Buffalo on Saturday and Sunday, July 24 and 25. About 350 gardens were displayed on Garden Walk Buffalo, making it one of the largest garden tours in the nation. Visitors to the Stouts’ home were treated to large, full gardens in both…

Clarence garden fountain

Clarence homeowners build prize-winning gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko Suzanne and Bob Wiepert built their “backyard oasis” by doing a little bit each year, starting in 2006. This year their gardens at 9525 Melinda won first place in Clarence Hollow in Bloom, a garden walk held Saturday, July 17 by the Clarence Garden Club. The Wieperts bought the house for its large backyard, just under an acre, which had big trees and boulders. From there, they built separate gardens and gave them names. At right…

front view home on Snyder-CleveHill Garden View

Once-overgrown gardens now flourish at Snyder home

by Connie Oswald Stofko This Snyder house was once so overgrown that ivy had infiltrated through a window and was growing into the gold shag carpeting inside the house. But now the home boasts a tidy formal garden in front and lush English cottage gardens in back. The home of Craig Coyne and Gary DiNezza at 31 Darwin Dr. was part of the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View in Amherst on Sunday, July 11. Though the property had been sorely neglected (there…

home on Buzz Around Hamburg Garden Walk

Buzz Around Hamburg showcases local gardens, arts, business district

by Connie Oswald Stofko More than 30 private gardens were open to the public during the Buzz Around Hamburg Garden Walk and Fair on Saturday and Sunday, July 10 and 11. Paul and Chrisanne Gaughan shared their gardens at 241 Union St. The front garden is an extension of the front porch.  Notice though, that the garden doesn’t follow the rectangular shape of the porch, but is designed with a curve, free-flowing line. The garden is full and lush,  using…

waterfall Williamsville Garden Walk

Foliage garden displayed at Williamsville Garden Walk

There are many elements to the landscaping at the Williamsville home of Susan Holt: a long stone wall, a winding gravel path leading to a secluded shade garden, a waterfall as the focal point of a lush back yard. The vegetation is full, abundant, interesting and colorful. What you won’t see is many flowers.  Some of the few blooms are on the flowering dogwood, the white flowers on the bush in the first photo. “I intentionally have a foliage garden,”…

‘Perennial diva’ offers tips for summer gardens in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Not everything is hardy. The definition of a perennial is something that lives three or more years– if you don’t kill it.” Stephanie Cohen, known as the “perennial diva,” gave tips on summer gardening in the sometimes irreverent and often funny keynote address of the National Garden Festival in Buffalo (now Gardens Buffalo Niagara). The event was held Saturday, June 19 in the Nichols School in Buffalo. After the talk, Cohen signed copies of her books,…