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snowball hydrangea

4 ideas for hostess gifts and holiday gifts for gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and from there we rush headlong into any number of holiday celebrations. Here are four ideas for thoughtful gifts to give gardeners and non-gardeners alike. ‘Snowball’ hydrangea We’re starting off with the ‘Snowball’ hydrangea because it can serve as a festive accent in your home from Thanksgiving through all the winter holidays. This potted plant will last probably a couple months, according to Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville….

boxelder bug

Don’t worry if you find boxelder bugs in your house; they’re harmless

Have boxelder bugs taken shelter in your home this fall? If so, don’t worry. They are native and won’t harm you, your house or plants. Boxelder bugs don’t bite or sting, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. They aren’t attracted to food the way ants are. They become inactive when the weather turns cold enough. In addition, the boxelder bug doesn’t significantly damage the trees it feeds on, according to the National Pesticide Information Center. The…

sage and parsley in snow by Stofko

4 gardening tasks for early winter

by Connie Oswald Stofko In other years, the middle of November would be a time to think about how to prepare for winter. This year winter has already made its appearance and is taking its sweet time to give us a break. Here are some things you can do now, even if your yard is covered in snow. Harvest herbs Despite the snow, my sage and parsley are still going strong. (The leaves on the sage are a bit limp,…

witch-hazel flowers

Witch-hazel’s fragrant blooms add interest in autumn & winter

If you’re looking for a plant that blooms in your garden now, consider witch-hazel. American witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a native shrub that produces fragrant blooms in late fall and early winter, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The streamer-like flowers are just starting to appear at this time of year, following the annual loss of the shrub’s leaves. The yellow flowers typically last into December. Since witch-hazel is one of the few plants blooming now,…

wrapping paper

Before you buy wrapping paper, consider this: Can you compost it?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Those glossy wrapping papers are so pretty when they’re on a package, but what happens to the gift wrap after the package is opened? You might think that adding wrapping paper to your compost pile is a great way to use up the paper, but think again. Some wrapping paper can actually contaminate your compost with heavy metals– and that could affect your garden, too. Many kinds of gift wrap contain heavy metals such as lead,…

garden in snow by Stofko

Winter makes a surprise visit—What it means for your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Last week, I told you it was it was leaf season and gave you ideas on how to use all those autumn leaves. But before we could get the leaves raked — many leaves are still on the trees! — we got snow that broke records for Nov. 11. So what does all this snow mean for your garden? Snow provides insulation — yay! “I don’t think this is going to be a bad thing,” said…

pink poinsettia from Buffalo Botanical Gardens

Holiday events set at Botanical Gardens

Mark your calendar for holiday events at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. Note that the Botanical Gardens will be open 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 and will be closed on Dec. 25. Admission to the Poinsettia & Railway Exhibit and to Santa’s Workshop are included with admission to the Botanical Gardens. Prices are $12.50 for adults, $11 for seniors (62+), $11 for students (13+), $7 for kids 3-12, and…

holly raguza, Bugwood.org

Good news: No lanternfly infestations found, but your help is still needed

The good news is that there hasn’t yet been a documented spotted lanternfly infestation in New York. That’s wonderful because the spotted lanternfly can damage many kinds of plants. In addition, it can secrete so much messy “honeydew” that people can’t go outside without getting honeydew on their hair and clothes. If this insect becomes established in New York, it could impact our forests, agriculture and tourism. Your help is needed to keep this invasive and destructive insect out of our area, according…

autumn leaves on grass

It’s leaf season! 9 tips for using autumn leaves in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko We enjoyed many weeks of beautiful autumn color in Western New York this year! Now it’s time for the leaves to fall. The bad news is that our recent strong winds brought down branches as well as leaves. I hope you didn’t sustain any damage. The good news is that the fallen leaves give us things to do in our landscapes at this time of year. And those leaves can be used in so many ways!…

orchid from Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

Orchid show set for Nov. 9 & 10 at Botanical Gardens

An orchid show will be held Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 9 and 10 by the Niagara Frontier Orchid Society and the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens at the Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. Hours are 10 a.m. -4:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. The show will feature dozens of hand-picked and award-winning orchid exhibits dispersed throughout the Botanical Gardens for visitors to enjoy. Exhibitors include members of the Niagara Frontier Orchid Society, Genesee Region Orchid…

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