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person painting a fence

Did you paint a fence? How you can dispose of leftover paint

Did you paint a fence or garage? Did you coat a deck? What will you do with the leftovers? Paint products can harm the environment if not managed properly and there have been few options for reuse or recycling, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Now there’s a network of paint retailers, local government facilities and reuse stores where you can drop off your leftovers. It’s provided by New York State’s Paint Stewardship Program. The DEC oversees…

visitors looking at roses during Rose Show by Western New York Rose Society at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

What do I smell? Roses! Visit show June 15 at Botanical Gardens

If you want fragrant roses in your garden, what variety should you choose? Find out at the annual Rose Show to be held by the Western New York Rose Society from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. The Rose Show is included in admission. Enter the front doors of the conservatory to pay, then exit through the back door and walk to the Administration Building…

garden in Lewiston GardenFest in Lewiston NY

Lewiston GardenFest kicks off garden walk season this weekend

The first garden walk of the season, the Lewiston GardenFest, will be held take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16 along Center Street in Lewiston. The event is held by the Lewiston Garden Club. “Part of the fun is that we offer plenty of ideas, no matter what level of gardener you may be,” said Mary Ann Yates, Lewiston GardenFest chair. “Gain inspiration from our open gardens and speakers, find the right plant for your front porch, or accentuate…

DEC staff member wearing protective equipment next to adult giant hogweed plant.

Good news & bad news with giant hogweed in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko The bad news: Giant hogweed is a nasty invasive plant that can cause severe burns on your skin if you touch it. The good news: In many areas of New York State, giant hogweed has been eradicated. The bad news: Western New York has the most giant hogweed in the state. The good news: If giant hogweed is on your property, you can get advice on what you should do. Even better, staff from the Department…

other path at Jen Weber's gardens

Nothing like an outdoor wedding to jumpstart a backyard makeover

by Connie Oswald Stofko Jen and Joe Weber moved their family into their new home three years ago. When they got there, they found that the previous owners had planted bishop’s weed (also called goutweed), a nasty, very aggressive plant that spreads easily and is hard to get rid of. The bishop’s weed is still there, stretching 66 feet along one side of the house. Other projects, such as fixing “the path to nowhere,” haven’t been started yet, either, and…

illustration of logo courtesy Buffalo and ERie County Botanical Gardens

New look at Botanical Gardens, plus more developments to come

by Connie Oswald Stofko Check out the new website for the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. It’s easier to find what you’re looking for—and you may find things you hadn’t even heard about before. For instance, did you know that the Botanical Gardens has a Farm Garden that provides more than 13,000 servings annually of fresh produce to Gerard Place in East Buffalo? (Here’s some recent news about the Farm Garden: It was awarded financial support from the U.S….

Biddle garden at Forman Mansion in Buffalo NY

‘Gather in the Garden’ to celebrate Garden Walk Buffalo’s 30th anniversary

A special event, Gather in the Garden, will mark the 30th anniversary of Garden Walk Buffalo on the summer solstice from 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday, June 20. Guests will gather in the garden designed by Ellen Biddle Shipman, known as the greatest garden designer in America in the first half of the last century, at the Forman Mansion, 77 Oakland Place, Buffalo. (Parking is available along both sides of Oakland Place.) Tickets are $125 per guest. Buy tickets here. For more…

monarch on milkweed

Is a plant from South America better than a cultivar in WNY?

by Connie Oswald Stofko A reader contacted me regarding a previous article on zinnias. The reader wanted native zinnias, and the zinnias described in the article were all cultivars, not native plants. No one around here sells native zinnias because zinnias aren’t native to Western New York. In the United States, zinnias are native only to the Southwest. Their range stretches all the way to South America. My reader replied: “I understand this, but they are at least native to…

trees with white pine needle disease

Look now for tree disease & tree stress

Spring is a good time to check your trees for any signs of stress or disease, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). If you have questions about your trees, email photos and location information to or you may contact the Forest Health Diagnostic Lab at 1-866-640-0652. Tree diseases Oak wilt  Don’t prune oak trees in spring! This is the time when insects that spread the oak wilt fungus are on the move. Because of recent oak…

bonsai from Buffalo Bonsai Society

Learn at Bonsai Show on June 1, 2

Speak with members of the Buffalo Bonsai Society and watch special demonstrations at the annual Bonsai Show 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. Learn about bonsai as the members display bonsai specimens from their personal collections. Watch trimming and shaping demonstrations on live trees throughout the show. Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase sculpted bonsai trees and plants, starter plants…