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photo illustration of squirrels in apple tree

Help a reader: squirrels eating apples

by Connie Oswald Stofko I received this question from a reader: Hello, we have two semi-dwarf apple trees in our yard. I think an entire colony of squirrels have been eating apples on the tree. Any ideas to stop them would be appreciated. Kara StimsonOlean I haven’t experienced this problem, but maybe you have. How did you deal with this problem? Any suggestions? Please leave a comment below! Get more gardening tips See more questions & answers here. Find helpful articles…

dunes with native grass on Lake Ontario courtesy Roy Widrig

Use native plants along shores of Lakes Erie & Ontario– see new guide

Private property owners as well as municipalities can use a new guide to select plants to revitalize the shorelines of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Working With Nature: A Guide to Native Plants for New York’s Great Lakes Shorelines was recently released by New York Sea Grant, part of a nationwide network of 34 university-based programs working with coastal communities through the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The guide offers nature-based alternatives to traditional “gray” or hard structures such as rock rip-rap (rocky material placed along…

garden on corner lot in Kenmore New York

Corner lot? Small space? Shade? Get ideas from this Ken-Ton gardener

by Connie Oswald Stofko Julie Wood liked the house on a corner lot, but the tiny front and side yards needed some TLC. There was an area that was supposed to be lawn, but grass couldn’t grow. And there were thorny bushes by the sidewalk. “Why put thorny bushes there?” Wood wonders. “So people wouldn’t cut through the grass?” The landscape has changed a lot since she and her husband Jason moved in about 10 years ago. She gave up…

purple loosestrife

Why are we again seeing purple loosestrife in WNY?

After not seeing purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) in Western New York for many years, you may have noticed it making a comeback. This invasive plant used to be common until certain insects were released to control it, according to an article by Lyn Chimera in the most recent edition of WNY Gardening Matters. The insects were effective and loosestrife declined. But when the number of loosestrife plants declined, the number of insects also declined. This led to the return of…

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens side view

Swarts to retire; Botanical Gardens begins search for new CEO

After eleven years as the president/CEO of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, David J. Swarts will be transitioning into retirement over the next several months. “Through his leadership, the Botanical Gardens experienced a period of tremendous growth that enabled us to embark on an exciting Master Plan that will ensure the Botanical Gardens will flourish for generations to come,” said Miche Needham, chair of the Board of Directors. The board has formed a search committee to conduct a…

heirloom squash at Urban Roots in Buffalo NY

Heirloom & specialty squash at Urban Roots: decorative & tasty

by Connie Oswald Stofko Instead of placing a common pumpkin outside as a decoration, you can use an eye-catching heirloom or specialty squash, said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager of Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo. “The bonus with these is that they are beautiful for decorating, and then delicious to eat,” she said. “They come in great shapes and different colors. They’re great on tables.” When she displays hers outside, she leaves them out until after…

giant allium in pot courtesy Mischler's in Williamsville New York

Reminder: Plant tulips, allium & other bulbs now for spring flowers

by Connie Oswald Stofko In spring, people see giant alliums in their neighbors’ gardens, then run into garden centers expecting to buy that plant, said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville. “You can’t buy them in spring,” Yadon said. The same goes for crocuses, hyacinths, daffodils, tulips, fritillaria and other spring bulbs. If you want those flowers in spring, plant the bulbs in autumn. You can plant them now through mid-November, if you can still…

eastern cicada killer compared to Asian giant hornet

Is that a murder hornet in WNY or just a lookalike? How you can tell

by Connie Oswald Stofko Readers have contacted me because they felt sure they had seen the dangerous Asian giant hornet, also called the murder hornet, here in Western New York. I encouraged those folks to report it, and they probably did. Yet there haven’t been any verified sightings of murder hornets anywhere in New York State. Why? Because the Asian giant hornet has many lookalike species, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). See lookalikes here….

canna lily in Amherst NY

What plants do you overwinter in Western New York?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Canna lilies are tall, impressive plants that I’ve long admired in Western New York gardens. So when I visited the Master Gardener plant sale in Buffalo this spring and saw a whole area with cannas, I toyed with the idea of actually buying one. When a helpful Master Gardener explained the different varieties, I admitted I was hesitant to buy a canna lily because I’m a lazy gardener. I know you have to bring in the…

sparrow at birdfeeder in Western New York

Put your birdfeeders back up; birds no longer getting sick

by Connie Oswald Stofko Although the cause of the mysterious illness that was killing songbirds this summer is still a mystery, birds are no longer getting sick. You can put your birdfeeders and bird baths back up, according to an updated statement on All About Birds from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. To try to prevent the spread of the illness, home gardeners were asked to take down birdfeeders and bird baths so birds wouldn’t congregate there. The cause of…

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