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lush gardens and paths in West Seneca NY backyard

Paths can make your garden more beautiful & easier to use

by Connie Oswald Stofko When we think about our gardens, we usually think about plants, plants and more plants. But if you want a beautiful garden, think about paths. Garden paths can get you from one spot in your yard to another without getting muddy feet, but they can do so much more. In a large yard, paths can divide the wide-open spaces into smaller, welcoming areas. In any garden, paths can define your landscape and add focal points. They…

composting poster 2018

Compost poster contest seeks entries by Nov. 5; prize is $500

The International Compost Awareness Week Committee is offering a prize of $500 to the winner of the poster contest promoting International Compost Awareness Week, which will be held May 5 -11, 2019. The theme for the poster will be “Cool the Climate – Compost!” The contest is open to anyone from ten years old to adult. There are three contest divisions: grades 3-7, grades 8-12, and college – adult. The best from each division will be entered into the final contest. The…

sunchokes in Western New York

Septembers are getting warmer in most of WNY; what gardeners can do

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you were still running your air conditioner on Friday, you won’t be surprised to hear that so far September was 6 degrees warmer than normal in Buffalo. That information comes from Dan Kelly, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo. While that data goes from Sept. 1 to the end of yesterday (Sept. 24), we are now in for a cooling period with more normal temperatures, he said. But we should probably expect this…

making Thanksgiving arrangement at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

Make-it, Take-it Workshops to start in October

You can register now for the popular Make-it, Take-it Workshops at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. The workshops are: Tropical Glass Terrarium Workshop, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11. Participants will each build a terrarium from tropical cuttings from the Botanical Gardens’ collection. You should take gloves and a box for transporting your creation. The cost for this workshop is $20 for the general public and $15 for…

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…

New England asters

Why you should use native asters, plus more Master Gardener tips

Native asters are easy to grow, they bloom in autumn and they help butterflies. Read more about why you should use native asters in your garden in this article in September’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Scroll down farther in that article to read about the weed orchid or Epipactus helleborine, an invasive plant that can pop up in your garden. It has even been known to push up through…

houseplants in Amherst NY

Get rid of bugs before you bring plants indoors for winter

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a question I got from a reader: Hi Connie, I was wondering if you had any suggestions about debugging houseplants that were outside for the summer, before bringing them back inside the house. I have a few plants to bring indoors and noticed little red spiders crawling around. I’m reluctant to have them back in my house. So, are there any “natural” sprays?  Should I just “ditch” them?  Any suggestions would be appreciated. Btw,…


Free seed library starting in Amherst for organic veggies, herbs, flowers

by Connie Oswald Stofko Brenda Snyder was looking for a seed bank–a place where seeds are collected and shared–but she couldn’t find one in Western New York. “There were no seed banks I could even drive to,” Snyder said. “I thought, ‘How is that even possible?’ I decided somebody just needed to take the bull by the horns and get it rolling.” Working with other volunteers, she is setting up the WNY Seed Library, a free seed library for anyone who wants…

large fungus in lawn in Amherst

Why are there mushrooms in my lawn & what should I do about them?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s an email I got recently from a reader: Hi Connie, Would you be so kind as to post this question for me?  I thought we were lacking rain so why do I have these HUGE mushrooms growing in my front lawn that gets lots of sun?   This is only my 2nd summer in WNY and I am confused!   Thanks a bunch o’ coreopsis, Pam Anderson Lewiston Sometimes I ask readers to share tips…

oak leaf with wilt

Got dead oaks? Could be oak wilt; please report it

Oak wilt, a serious disease that affects oak trees, has been detected for a second time in Ontario County, southeast of Rochester, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). If you know of an oak tree that died over a short period of time, especially if it occurred between July and August, please report it to the Forest Health Information Line toll-free at 1-866-640-0652. Symptoms of oak wilt infection are often very noticeable in red oak…

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