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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….

ginseng class by Bob Beyfuss

Ginseng expert coming to WNY; get info now on how to grow this native plant

by Connie Oswald Stofko I always associated ginseng with Asia, but there is a variety, Panax quinquefolius, that is native to North America. Ginseng has been– and is still– widely used in herbal remedies. For years, when people wanted ginseng, they could just dig it up in forests. Unfortunately, over-harvesting has led to a decline in the wild population, so there are now regulations regarding wild ginseng. You can’t harvest from New York State land and you can’t harvest on private land without…

late blight on tomatoes

Late blight found in WNY; use fungicide before symptoms appear on tomatoes

by Connie Oswald Stofko Late blight is a devastating disease for tomatoes and potatoes, and the disease was confirmed yesterday in Chautauqua County. It will likely show up in the rest of Western New York soon, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Late blight is able to spread quickly, “especially if we get more rainy days like today,” he said. Late blight probably showed up first in Chautauqua County because the Southern Tier has…

David Clark back for horticulture classes at Botanical Gardens

David Clark, horticulturist and CNLP, will return to teach another series of Horticulture Certificate Programs at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. A dynamic instructor with a wealth of knowledge, he is fast becoming one of the country’s noted garden speakers. His classes are very popular because he conveys subject matter with infectious enthusiasm. These classes are great for beginners who would like to learn more about gardening as well as for experts looking to refine their skills. Clark creates a very lively and…

lavender in Niagara Falls garden

Two tips on growing lavender in Western New York

  by M.L. Wells, Master Gardener Volunteer, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County When I gave visitors a tour of my gardens in July during the From the Earth event held by Allegany County Cornell Cooperative Extension, one visitor was amazed by my flourishing lavender plant. She asked, “Mine always dies, why does yours look so great?” As with most things, knowledge is power! To be a successful gardener you need to understand your plant’s needs, then apply a liberal amount…

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…

'Fireworks' goldenrod

Why you should plant goldenrod, plus more tips from Master Gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not cause hay fever!” said Lyn Chimera, the author of “Goldenrod Gets a Bad Rap,” one of three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County. Although many gardeners think of goldenrod as a weed, it’s one of Chimera’s favorite garden plants.  It’s beautiful in the garden, it’s great as a cut flower and it provides food…

Community ed at NCCC starts Aug. 27; seniors can audit for free!

  Fall classes in the community education program in horticulture will start Aug. 27 at Niagara County Community College, 3111 Saunders Settlement Rd., Sanborn. These community education classes are non-credit, but you can get a certificate of completion if you complete the requirements. It is also possible to get up to seven credits through the NCCC Credit for Prior Learning Process. Seniors age 60 and older can audit the classes for free. You participate fully in the class when you audit; however, there…

Ideal time to plant grass: mid-August to mid-September

  by Connie Oswald Stofko The best time to plant grass is from mid-August to mid-September, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. By the time the seeds sprout, the cooler, wetter autumn weather will be here and you won’t have to water as much. Don’t plant grass seed in late September or in October because the seed will sprout, but then die in cold winter temperatures. If you miss the late summer/early fall window…

mandala by Caroline North

Visit Nature’s Kaleidoscope & get inspired to make your own mandalas

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Mandalas go with gardening,” said artist Caroline North of Collins. “They’re centering and meditative–and that’s what plants do for us.” See her mandalas on display in the Nature’s Kaleidoscope exhibit through Sunday, Aug. 19 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. This event is proudly sponsored by Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com. See a short video of the exhibit here. The exhibit is included with Botanical Gardens admission. Admission is $11 for…

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