houseplants in Amherst NY

Get rid of bugs before you bring plants indoors for winter

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a question I got from a reader: Hi Connie, I was wondering if you had any suggestions about debugging houseplants that were outside for the summer, before bringing them back inside the house. I have a few plants to bring indoors and noticed little red spiders crawling around. I’m reluctant to have them back in my house. So, are there any “natural” sprays?  Should I just “ditch” them?  Any suggestions would be appreciated. Btw,…

seeds

Free seed library starting in Amherst for organic veggies, herbs, flowers

by Connie Oswald Stofko Brenda Snyder was looking for a seed bank–a place where seeds are collected and shared–but she couldn’t find one in Western New York. “There were no seed banks I could even drive to,” Snyder said. “I thought, ‘How is that even possible?’ I decided somebody just needed to take the bull by the horns and get it rolling.” Working with other volunteers, she is setting up the WNY Seed Library, a free seed library for anyone who wants…

large fungus in lawn in Amherst

Why are there mushrooms in my lawn & what should I do about them?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s an email I got recently from a reader: Hi Connie, Would you be so kind as to post this question for me?  I thought we were lacking rain so why do I have these HUGE mushrooms growing in my front lawn that gets lots of sun?   This is only my 2nd summer in WNY and I am confused!   Thanks a bunch o’ coreopsis, Pam Anderson Lewiston Sometimes I ask readers to share tips…

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oak leaf with wilt

Got dead oaks? Could be oak wilt; please report it

Oak wilt, a serious disease that affects oak trees, has been detected for a second time in Ontario County, southeast of Rochester, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). If you know of an oak tree that died over a short period of time, especially if it occurred between July and August, please report it to the Forest Health Information Line toll-free at 1-866-640-0652. Symptoms of oak wilt infection are often very noticeable in red oak…

Miscanthus 'Scout' waving in a breeze

Noninvasive varieties of maiden grass available now

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you like the looks of maiden grass, but were put off because it is labeled invasive, there is good news. Noninvasive varieties of Miscanthus sinensis or maiden grass are now available, said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. And if you’ve never heard of maiden grass, check these new varieties out. They look good now with attractive foliage, but they’re even better in autumn when they get spectacular, fluffy flowers….

ginseng class by Bob Beyfuss

Ginseng expert coming to WNY; get info now on how to grow this native plant

by Connie Oswald Stofko I always associated ginseng with Asia, but there is a variety, Panax quinquefolius, that is native to North America. Ginseng has been– and is still– widely used in herbal remedies. For years, when people wanted ginseng, they could just dig it up in forests. Unfortunately, over-harvesting has led to a decline in the wild population, so there are now regulations regarding wild ginseng. You can’t harvest from New York State land and you can’t harvest on private land without…

late blight on tomatoes

Late blight found in WNY; use fungicide before symptoms appear on tomatoes

by Connie Oswald Stofko Late blight is a devastating disease for tomatoes and potatoes, and the disease was confirmed yesterday in Chautauqua County. It will likely show up in the rest of Western New York soon, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Late blight is able to spread quickly, “especially if we get more rainy days like today,” he said. Late blight probably showed up first in Chautauqua County because the Southern Tier has…

David Clark back for horticulture classes at Botanical Gardens

David Clark, horticulturist and CNLP, will return to teach another series of Horticulture Certificate Programs at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. A dynamic instructor with a wealth of knowledge, he is fast becoming one of the country’s noted garden speakers. His classes are very popular because he conveys subject matter with infectious enthusiasm. These classes are great for beginners who would like to learn more about gardening as well as for experts looking to refine their skills. Clark creates a very lively and…

lavender in Niagara Falls garden

Two tips on growing lavender in Western New York

  by M.L. Wells, Master Gardener Volunteer, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County When I gave visitors a tour of my gardens in July during the From the Earth event held by Allegany County Cornell Cooperative Extension, one visitor was amazed by my flourishing lavender plant. She asked, “Mine always dies, why does yours look so great?” As with most things, knowledge is power! To be a successful gardener you need to understand your plant’s needs, then apply a liberal amount…

Mile-a-minute vine

Look out for mile-a-minute vine, called ‘kudzu of the north’

by Connie Oswald invStofko People are calling mile-a-minute vine “the kudzu of the north.” That’s scary because kudzu is known as “the vine that ate the south.” Mile-a-minute vine (Persicaria perfoliata) can grow as much as six inches per day and more than 20 feet per year. It has small, recurved barbs along its stem that allow it to grow over vegetation such as tree seedlings and smother them. It can have a negative effect on tree farms, forestry operations and the reforestation of natural areas. Mile-a-minute…

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