holly raguza, Bugwood.org

Spotted lanternflies found in NYS; look for egg masses

by Connie Oswald Stofko Back in May, we told you about the spotted lanternfly (SLF), a new invasive insect that can damage many plants and can secrete so much messy “honeydew” that people can’t go outside without getting honeydew on their hair and clothes. In September and October, both dead and live SLF have been found in New York State. Autumn is the time that the SLF lays eggs, so look for egg masses as well as adults. Updates on SLF found…

toad lily in Amherst NY

Create a beautiful autumn garden; see how Amherst gardener does it

  by Connie Oswald Stofko The many trees and shrubs in Connie Krueger’s backyard filtered the blazing afternoon sun. It was relaxing to be sheltered from the heat while being able to enjoy the colorful plants in both sunny and shady areas. And guess what? It was already after Labor Day! While your garden might peak in July, you can still enjoy your garden in autumn. Krueger shared her landscape during Open Gardens this summer, and her yard is still lovely…

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….

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…

orange butterfly plant and anise hyssop

What to plant for monarchs; learn more at GROW Jamestown Garden Fair

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you’re over 40, you probably remember seeing lots of monarch butterflies when you were a kid. Maybe you even saw the caterpillar form its amazing chrysalis, then emerge as a butterfly. But if you’re younger, you may not have had that experience, said Betsy Burgeson, supervisor of Gardens and Landscapes at the Chautauqua Institution. The number of monarchs has been declining for years, but Burgeson will tell you how you can help increase their numbers by hand-raising monarchs….

eastern mole

Moles and voles creating holes: What to do

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Over the years, I have heard gardeners complain about moles and voles, so when I saw a mole in my garden a couple weeks ago, I freaked out. After talking to John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, I’m much more relaxed. Now I have a plan. And my plan is to do nothing. (I’ve already started. It doesn’t get easier than this.) First, let’s sort out the difference between moles…

Cassia didmobotrya flower

Plant that smells like buttered popcorn offered at Great Plant Sale

by Connie Oswald Stofko “I’m pretty excited about this plant,” said Kristin Pochopin, director of Horticulture at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. She was referring to an annual called Cassia didmobotrya, whose unique feature is that when you rub the leaves, it smells like buttered popcorn. The scent is most noticeable in late summer and early fall. Popochin was familiar with this plant when she worked for a wholesale grower in Pennsylvania, but hasn’t seen it much in our area. It’s…

path to lovely vegetable garden in Lancaster

Gorgeous vegetable garden is focus of Lancaster landscape

  by Connie Oswald Stofko In the past, people would hide their vegetable gardens in a back corner of the yard. That’s changing, and more and more people boldly display their veggies in garden beds among their ornamental plants. One problem is that vegetables often need even more protection from critters than ornamental plants do. Jane Bednarczyk protects her vegetable plants, and she does it in a way that’s not only attractive, it’s a focal point of the yard. Bednarczyk…

blood twig dogwood Midnight Fire

Look for ‘two-fers’ for your garden; hear more at PLANT WNY event

by Connie Oswald Stofko Home gardeners aren’t planting acres and acres of gardens anymore, so we have to get more out of the few plants we choose to include in our landscapes, Kerry Ann Mendez told me in a phone interview. The award-winning garden designer, author and lecturer noted that the two largest age groups in our country now are millennials and baby boomers, and both groups are choosing smaller spaces. Millennials are gravitating toward urban settings rather than sprawling suburbs, and…

allium in pot and near bench

Now is the time to plant bulbs for spring flowers

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Alliums are flowers that people see in the spring, and they come in expecting to buy them,” said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville. “It’s showy and they think, ‘I’ve got to have that.’” Although these great flowers appear in spring, you have to plant them in fall. “Right now is the time to plant them,” Yadon said. You can plant them through mid-November, if you can still work the soil…