jumping worm Amynthas

Take part in Invasive Species Challenge; focus is on 4 species

Be a citizen scientist by participating in the NY iMapInvasives team’s 5th Annual Invasive Species Mapping Challenge from June 24 – July 8. Four species will be the focus of this year’s challenge:  Jumping worm Tree of heaven Water chestnut European frogbit You can help map the distributions of these species.  An introductory webinar will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 24. The webinar will cover the identification of these species and how you can participate. Visit iMap’s website for more information…

detail of colorful arbor on Open Gardens

Open Gardens: Hear how one garden helped turn around a neighborhood

by Connie Oswald Stofko Cindy and Peter Loomis moved into their Cottage District home 19 years ago without seeing the front of the house. The tiny front yard was filled with a large hedge and two tall pine trees, which hid the house from the street. It wasn’t a neighborhood where people wanted to sit out front. The area was beginning to turn around, but there were still drug deals and prostitution, Cindy said. But Cindy likes light, so she…

perennials at Mischler's Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville

59-cent perennials at Mischler’s– they’re bigger than in April!

If you weren’t able to make it to the 59-cent Perennial Sale at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses when it was launched in April, you’re in luck. Rows and rows of those perennials are still available! And the plants are still the same price! Here are the advantages to buying the sale perennials now: The plants are bigger than they were in April. They are healthy and look great. In June, you don’t have to worry about protecting the plants from…

containers with plants

Join me online for ‘Garden Trends’ this Thursday, June 18

by Connie Oswald Stofko I will give an online talk on “Garden Trends” at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 18. It’s part of the series of Garden Fence Chats from the Master Gardeners at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. What’s great about these talks is that anyone can attend– even from a different county– without a long drive. And they’re free! There’s a different topic each weekday, and you can get your gardening questions answered on Wednesdays. Check our Events…

lawn in yard using permaculture

This Grand Island landscape is suburban in front, natural in back

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s like visiting a home out in the country–depending on what side of the house you’re on. In front, the home of Denise and Don Freedman has a typical suburban landscape. In back, it’s more natural, with fruit trees, a rain garden and trees that were there when they bought the land. They’ve been using permaculture techniques before they ever heard that word. What does permaculture mean to them? “It’s using your land to your advantage,”…

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…

Niagara Arts and Cultural Center

Garden volunteers sought to help arts center, neighborhood in Niagara Falls

__________ The Niagara Arts and Cultural Center (NACC), a nonprofit group, is looking for help to improve the landscaping on their campus, in turn beautifying their downtown neighborhood. They are looking for volunteers to help. The NACC is housed in the former Niagara Falls High School at 1201 Pine Ave., Niagara Falls. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The massive, neoclassic revival building served as Niagara Falls’s central high school until 2000 and was almost torn…

Asian giant hornet

Don’t worry– no ‘murder hornets’ in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko “I hope people aren’t afraid,” said Kathleen Goodman, a Master Gardener volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. She was wrapping up her presentation on Asian giant hornets, which have gotten the nickname “murder hornets.” That nickname grabs people’s attention, but it stirs up fear, too. “I just want people to know what’s going on,” Goodman said. Goodman gave the presentation on Asian giant hornets last week as part of Garden Fence Chats, an online…

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…

lush front garden in Lockport NY

Vote for this local garden in national contest; deadline is June 5

by Connie Oswald Stofko The front yard garden of John Taylor of Lockport is in the running for the title of America’s Best Front Yard in an annual competition by Better Homes and Gardens. His garden was submitted by his wife, Mary Brennan-Taylor. “Much to my surprise and delight,  John is one of the top 10 finalists from an enormous field of candidates,” she said. You can vote for your favorite garden here. Taylor’s garden is Number 7. Voting is…