snow on evergreen in Amherst NY

Winter solstice: days will be getting longer in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Surprise! Tomorrow is the first day of winter. Yes, Western New York has snow on the ground, and parts of Western New York got 80 inches of snow in November, but that’s just weather. We’re talking about how close–or far away– Western New York is to the sun. As the Earth spins on its axis, the Northern Hemisphere gets closer or farther away from the sun. When the Northern Hemisphere is at its farthest point, we…

arborvitae bent in snow in Hamburg New York

How to deal with snow damage in your WNY garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko “What a crazy thing this was!” said David Clark, who got about 80 inches of snow at his Hamburg home during the recent snow storm. The amount of snow dropped in Western New York varied. Buffalo’s Southtowns area was hit hardest while areas in the Northtowns got a foot or two. The snowfall varied in other WNY counties as well, with some parts getting just a few inches. If your landscape felt the brunt of the…

waterfall in Glen Park in Williamsville New York

You can vote on Environmental Bond Act: clean air, clean water, green jobs

by Connie Oswald Stofko Do you want New York State to borrow money for projects to help residents have clean air, clear water and green jobs? When you vote in the upcoming election, you’ll see that as New York State’s Proposition 1. Text of Proposition 1 This is the text you will see on your ballot: “To address and combat the impact of climate change and damage to the environment, the ‘Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond…


Drought watch ends in WNY; don’t burn leaves

Six Western New York counties have been taken off drought watch: Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming.  The drought watch was designated in August due to the below-normal precipitation during the previous three months. There have also been low stream flows and low groundwater levels. The status of these counties was changed Oct. 9 because of recent rainfall and higher levels of ground and surface water. Now all of Western New York is is in the normal range. A…


Dealing with frost in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko The official first day of autumn arrived last Thursday, and immediately, it seemed, Western New York temperatures took a nose dive. An overnight frost advisory was issued last week for Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. This week overnight temperatures may dip into the 30s in many parts of Western New York. That’s significant because frost can occur even if the air temperature is above freezing, according to our previous article. The article also explains why even 36-degree…

pansies in a watering can at Mischler's in Williamsville NY

Get pansies now to brighten outdoor spaces, large & small

by Connie Oswald Stofko Pansies are in bloom now and can add color to your garden, porch or patio. While cold temperatures won’t kill pansies, temperatures in the 20s Fahrenheit can damage the blooms, said Jessica Limardi, who is on the staff at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. Nightime temperatures may get that low in the coming week. “Without a good thick blanket of snow, the flowers can get damaged, so pull them close to the…

purple crocuses in Amherst NY

Gardening tasks for early spring in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko After weeks of snow covering our gardens, we can see plants again here in Western New York! The sun has been shining. At times, the weather’s so warm, you can be outside without a sweater. We can tackle some gardening tasks now that we couldn’t do just a couple of weeks ago. But it’s still early spring and the weather fluctuates. The afternoon warmth can be followed by freezing temperatures at night. A stretch of warm…

waterfall view from island planting

A look back at the year in gardening in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s time for me to take a short break over the holidays. Since this is the last edition of for 2021, let’s take a look back at the year in gardening. The pandemic was in the background of everything we did this year. At the beginning of the year, some events were canceled, such as garden club meetings and Plantasia, the premier garden show in Western New York. (We are optimistically looking forward to Plantasia…

hand holding hail in Snyder NY

Hail damaged your plants? What you can do in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko by Connie Oswald Stofko A narrow band of weather dropped hail– some of it as large as peas– in Western New York on Friday. A localized hail storm a few weeks ago damaged plants in some gardens in Niagara County, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Hail can shred the leaves of your plants and bruise the stems. Will your plants survive? It depends on how badly damaged they were….

daffodils in garden in spring

Daffodils sprouting in winter: What you should do

by Connie Oswald Stofko I got this question from a reader: I was wondering if there is anything I can do with the daffodil bulbs which are starting to sprout leaves out of the ground because of the mild weather. I am hoping that I don’t lose all of them by the time the cold and snow cover them. Michelle I checked with John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Here’s what he said: “This can…