tall grass in median garden in Buffalo NY

Medians get makeover on Minnesota Ave. in Buffalo’s University Heights

The median gardens that were started 10 years ago on Minnesota Ave. in Buffalo had begun to fade. Residents who had been active in maintaining the gardens “moved, passed away or got tied up with their busy lives,” said Yvonne Brown, a member of the Minnesota Avenue Block Club. The median gardens got new life this year with funding from a City of Buffalo Livable Communities Block Grant, private donations and donations from the residents themselves. “Now we’re working on…

Nick Fratello of Black Rock in Buffalo

Nick Fratello, 11, offers tips on attracting birds to your garden

“I’ve been into birds for a really, really long time; probably six years,” said Nick Fratello, 11. That’s why he prepared an exhibit on garden plants that attract birds, which he displayed at a booth at headquarters for the Black Rock and Riverside Tour of Gardens on Aug. 7. He also handed out tip sheets. His tip sheet begins with hummingbirds. While there are hummingbirds in Western New York, the only kind you’re likely to find here is the ruby-throated…

gardeners conserve Great Lakes

Gardeners can play a role in conserving Great Lakes

Clean water is a precious commodity, and as a gardener, you can play a role in conserving in the Great Lakes. That was the message of Larry Brooks, who does communications for Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, in a Gardening Mondays talk downtown at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. Living on the shores of the Niagara River and Lake Erie, it seems that water is one thing we shouldn’t have to worry about.  After all, one-fifth of the available fresh…

false Solomon's seal sale to benefit WNY Land Conservancy

Native plant sale to benefit WNY Land Conservancy

A sale of native plants and mums is being held to benefit the Western New York Land Conservancy. You must order by Sept. 4. Pickup is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Saturday, Sept. 11 at Orchard Glen Retirement Community, 6055 Armor Duells Rd., Orchard Park. Native plants are vigorous and hardy and, once established, require no irrigation or fertilization. They provide a habitat for butterflies, insects, hummingbirds and other small birds and animals we know and need. These native…

watering garden in Western New York

With Western New York’s dry weather, measure your watering by the inch

Because we’ve had a few showers lately, Western New Yorkers think their gardens have gotten enough rain. Unfortunately, “Our gardens are actually facing near drought conditions,” said Ken Re, who is in sales and is the director of marketing for Russell’s Tree and Shrub Farm in East Amherst. “In this dry weather you should be watering regularly–-every other day if you can,” he said. “If you don’t water enough, your plants are placed under stress but may not show the…

Chiko school of Ikebana

Flower demonstration to celebrate Ikebana’s 50th anniversary

Ikebana International Buffalo Chapter 50 will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the international organization with an event called “Friendship Through Flowers” to be held from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, at Transit Valley Country Club, 8920 Transit Rd., East Amherst. The ticket deadline is Thursday, Aug. 19. Tickets cost $20 and are advance sale only. For ticket information call 688-6691. The celebration, themed “Joy,” will include an Ikebana-Japanese Floral Art demonstration by Sogetsu School Master Gregory Williams and…

water feature in Tonawanda NY

Water features highlight garden on Ken-Ton Garden Tour

A waterfall, pond and giant water wheel beguiled visitors to the backyard of John and Joanne Perrello at 2674 Colvin Blvd., Town of Tonawanda, during the Ken-Ton Garden Tour on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 7 and 8. While they grew vegetables for about 30 years, the Perrellos started the water features just three years ago, beginning with the waterfall, which you can see in the background of the first photo. They put in the pond, which you can see in…

Carlos and Susan Gartin of Buffalo

Gracious patio garden graces once-abandoned lot in Buffalo

What was once an abandoned lot is now a lovely backyard patio for Susan and Carlos Gartin. They shared their creation during the Black Rock and Riverside Tour of Gardens on Saturday, Aug. 7. The lot is on East St., just behind their home at 169 Dearborn St.  It had been a dumping ground for asphalt, concrete and bricks, and the weeds grew seven feet high, Carlos said. The Gartins bought it in August 2009. Now flower beds are tucked…

Rosa Dream Come True organic gardening in Western New York

The (relative) pampering of roses

Rosa Dream Come True Adventures in Organic Gardening By Laura Sileo-Lepkyj I generally practice a survival-of-the-fittest approach to gardening, but I admit to pampering my roses a bit. I figure they deserve it for the joy they bring me. Few other flowers make me literally tear up from their beauty. I planted my roses last spring. I have mostly English roses because I love the heavy fragrance and voluptuously full blossoms. The exceptions are my Grandiflora “Dream Come True” and…

sculpture garden Elmwood Ave. Buffalo

Buffalo sculptor shares tips on cheap gardening

Gardening doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby. “I didn’t spend one cent on this garden,” said Dave Derner, who created a backyard retreat at 1088 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, where he lives above Half & Half Trading Co. He got plants that nurseries or co-ops were going to throw out. Friends gave him plants as well. Many of the plants flourished. “I just put things in and let them grow,” Derner said. “It’s amazing how things just want to grow.”…

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