purple crocuses in Amherst NY

Gardening tasks for early spring in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko After weeks of snow covering our gardens, we can see plants again here in Western New York! The sun has been shining. At times, the weather’s so warm, you can be outside without a sweater. We can tackle some gardening tasks now that we couldn’t do just a couple of weeks ago. But it’s still early spring and the weather fluctuates. The afternoon warmth can be followed by freezing temperatures at night. A stretch of warm…

Canadian anemone

Periwinkle is invasive; see 5 better alternatives for Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko I have enjoyed periwinkle in my garden, but it’s time to consider some alternatives. Periwinkle or Vinca minor is used as an ornamental groundcover. The leaves are glossy and the purple flowers are a delight. Here’s the problem: This invasive plant can easily spread outside of our gardens. It invades natural spaces, gets established and pushes out the native plants. It offers nothing to insects, birds and other animals. When it comes to control, periwinkle or…

sunflower in Amherst NY

New benefit for Super Readers at the Sunflower Level from Mischler’s

by Connie Oswald Stofko I love all of my Super Readers, and this year I have a new benefit for readers at the Sunflower Level: a $10 gift certificate from Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville! That’s in addition to the other benefits at the $50 Sunflower Level: An ebook filled with tips on how to keep deer from bothering your garden. An ebook with a sampling of quirky, fun and helpful gardening tips. A digital photo that you can…

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…

flower on common milkweed in Amherst NY

For butterflies & fragrance, choose common milkweed!

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you like butterflies, you probably have a kind of milkweed called butterfly flower (Asclepias tuberosa). You may even have swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). Consider adding common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) to that mix. Not only is it a plant that monarchs love, it gets a pretty flower– and it’s fragrant! Dan Murak pointed out the fragrance this summer when I visited his landscape, which was shared on the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View. Another thing I like about common milkweed is that…

egg mass on boxwood leaf

Bad news for boxwood: box tree moth has arrived in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko An invasive moth that damages and can kill boxwoods has arrived in Western New York. The box tree moth has been identified in Niagara County, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. My sister in Cheektowaga has noticed damage to boxwoods in her area. That was probably caused by the box tree moth, too, Farfaglia said. This invasive pest “is expected to spread,” he said. If you haven’t seen it in…

Spigelia marilandica or Indian pink

A cool perennial & more from WNY Gardening Matters

Master Gardener Lyn Chimera introduces us to a perennial with a pretty red and yellow flower called Spigelia marilandica or Indian pink in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters. While not native to Western New York, Indian pink is native to the southern United States. “This is a wonderful, unusual and pest-free plant,” Chimera wrote. “Hummingbirds love it, deer don‘t and it’s beautiful too!” It also attracts hummingbirds. “What’s not to like?” she wrote. See the whole article here….

tomato on vine

15 tips for vegetable gardens in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just beginning to grow vegetables, you’ll find great tips here from Jen Weber, vice president and manager of Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca.  She covers the basics– vegetables need sun– to more random tricks– always plant very hot peppers in containers. Browse through these tips to see how you can improve your vegetable garden this year. Find a sunny space Most vegetables need six straight hours of sun….

native perennial hibiscus

Showy flowers & more: Four native plants that look great in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Native plants are not only good for beneficial insects, they can be just what you need to make your garden look great. Here are four native plants being offered by Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo. These plants are true natives, not hybrids or cultivars, said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager. All four plants like sun. See a list of Urban Roots’ native plants here. They offer about 100 different native plants throughout…

perennial garden in Lancaster NY

How to start a perennial garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to start a new garden with perennials, you could plop some random plants into the ground and hope for the best. But putting some thought into what you’d like your garden to be will make you happier in the end, said Jen Weber, vice president and manager of Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca. (They are now open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m….