map of climate zones in Western New York

Our growing season is longer: What gardeners need to know about climate change in WNY

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Our growing season in Western New York is longer than it used to be– two weeks longer than it was in 1965, according to Stephen Vermette, professor of geography in the Department of Geography & Planning at Buffalo State College. Now the growing season starts about a week earlier in spring and lasts about a week longer in autumn. This is just one of the findings of Vermette’s research into how climate change is affecting…

hose in autumn garden

Don’t give up on your garden– keep watering!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Our summer was so wet, you may have fallen out of the habit of watering your plants. But the last few days have been hot and dry, and we may have a little more summer-like weather on the way. And even when our weather becomes more autumn-like, you need to keep watering! Don’t give up on your garden now! Here’s why: You probably have wonderful plants in your garden that you’ve been enjoying this summer– and…

savor the beauty poster copyright Stofko

Thought for the day: savor the beauty

by Connie Oswald Stofko Well, it’s official. This was the coldest February on record in Western New York. It’s been a tough winter. Some of us got seven feet of snow in November alone. Even areas of Western New York that don’t normally get much snow have two feet or more on the ground. People are tired of shoveling, of trying to walk on snowy sidewalks, of driving through snow. Then there’s the cold. Day after day of below zero…

ice sculpture with ribbons in Western New York

Make the most of these low temperatures by creating molded ice centerpieces

by Connie Oswald Stofko The winter I heard about making colored spheres out of ice, I thought it was a great idea. But I waited an entire year before I could try it outside because the previous winter had been too mild. Temperatures would repeatedly bounce up above freezing. The forecast never seemed to call for enough below-freezing days in a row to make the effort worthwhile. Then last winter it was finally cold enough to experiment. I was able…

Replace Botanical Gardens’ storm-damaged plants & 4 more ways your donation helps

by Connie Oswald Stofko During the recent Snowvember storm, the wind and the weight of the snow broke 150 panes of glass in two greenhouses at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical  Gardens. The storm destroyed 154 plants indoors. It will cost roughly $6,000 to replace them. That’s not taking into account damage done to plants outside. But you can help by making a monetary donation today. Not only did the Botanical Gardens lose plants in the storm, it lost…

snow plow stuck Snowvember 2014 from David Clark Hamburg NY

What does WNY’s Snowvember storm mean for your garden?

by Connie Oswald Stofko First, let me say that I sincerely hope you and your loved ones are safe. Since this is a gardening magazine, we’ll talk about what the Snowvember storm means for your garden, but I do want to let you know that I understand how serious this storm was. It was dangerous. People were injured and people died. There was property damage, too. Even if you got through it unscathed, it was scary. My thoughts and prayers…

It’s warmer out, but use restraint so you don’t compact your garden soil

by Connie Oswald Stofko We had a bit of warm sunshine this weekend and it was wonderful to do some outside chores. My husband raked the autumn leaves off the front lawn and I yanked a few early weeds from garden beds near a sidewalk. But there still isn’t a lot you can do in your garden yet, said Teresa Buchanan, general manager at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg. “I would tell people to use care in their gardens…

pansy in Buffalo

Flowers for outside right now? Pansies. More cool-weather flowers available next week

by Connie Oswald Stofko In other years you might have been able to work the soil and plant some cool-weather annuals in your flower beds at the beginning of April, but not this year, said Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. “It’s crazy,” he said.”It’s been too cold. “My advice for this year is to do your early plantings in containers.” Even if this past weekend’s snow has melted from your yard,…

Winter has been bitter, but all that snow should help WNY gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko This has been one bitterly cold winter. On the plus side, it has been snowy. You may think the cold and snow combine to create a double whammy, but when it comes to our gardens in Western New York, it would have been worse without the snow. “If you see snow, you should be happy,” said Carol Ann Harlos, Master Gardener coordinator for the Erie County Cornell Cooperative Extension. The air temperature and soil temperature can…

Think about your garden when you de-ice your sidewalk

How can you make your sidewalk safe in icy weather while still protecting your garden? John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, shares some tips. First, instead of buying rock salt, look for products that are labelled plant or pet safe. These products use calcium chloride, which pose less risk of damaging your plants with soluble salts, Farfaglia said. Still, you shouldn’t overdo it, he said. Don’t spread the calcium chloride product heavily and don’t use…