Superbells Cherry Star Basket at Lockwood's in Hamburg NY

3 great annuals for constant blooms in your Buffalo-area garden

My garden is built around perennials, and I would recommend that strategy to anyone. But this year I vow to use more annuals. Yes, perennials are great because they stay in your garden year after year–you don’t have to spend money buying them every year. Plus, they tend to spread. You can start with a small garden and expand it from year to year. The problem with perennials is that while the plants are there all year, the blossoms come…

mini-greenhouse made from recycled plastic milk jug in Buffalo NY

Milk jug allows you to sow seeds outside in Buffalo area– now!

by Connie Oswald Stofko At a recent workshop at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, David Clark shared this ingenious way to plant hardy annual seeds right now in the Buffalo area– outside! I love this idea because I always get itchy to do some gardening at this time of year, but there’s generally not a lot to do outside. I’ve tried to start seeds inside at this time of year, but it doesn’t work. It’s simply too soon…

Jerusalem artichole or sunchoke flowers in Amherst NY

The coolest plant ever: Jerusalem artichoke (also known as sunchoke)

I don’t know why everyone doesn’t grow the Jerusalem artichoke, also known as sunchoke. This plant starts out from nothing and grows a dramatic ten feet tall in one season. It flowers in September, adding autumn interest to your garden. You can plant it in fall, so it gives you a chance to putter in your garden now. If that weren’t enough, it’s a food plant. The roots are delicious! I hadn’t heard of this marvelous plant until I got…

Purple Light chrysanthemum in Buffalo NY

Chrysanthemum enjoys a long tradition in Buffalo

The chrysanthemum has been enjoyed for thousands of years. It was cultivated as a flowering herb in China as far back as the 15th Century B.C., according to the National Chrysanthemum Society. The City of Buffalo is a mere upstart compared to ancient China, but we have enjoyed chrysantheums throughout our history, too. For more than 100 years, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens has held its annual Chrysanthemum Show, which is the longest running tradition at the Botanical…

two boys in Hamburg NY school garden

Take a lesson from this elementary school garden in Hamburg

“All of this is to teach our children where food comes from,” said Tricia Miller, volunteer coordinator for the Giving Garden at Union-Pleasant Elementary School in Hamburg. “If children grow it and taste it, their willingness to eat it and try more things grows.” The garden at Union-Pleasant Elementary School started three years ago because parents were concerned about food in the schools, Miller said. They decided a garden would be a good way to educate children about healthy food…

sunflower in Amherst NY

An autumn tip for your sunflowers in Buffalo, and two tips for spring

The sunflower is wonderful in so many ways. If you’re not growing them now, there are many reasons why you should consider growing sunflowers next year. They have beautiful flowers. Sunflowers grow rapidly and reach a magnificent height. They offer food for people and wildlife. They blossom from summer to fall. You start sunflowers from seed, so they’re cheap. They’re  easy to grow. Here’s one tip that you can use now, and two more tips for growing sunflowers next year….

garden mum Symphony

Steps to help your garden mums get through winter in Buffalo area

Garden mums aren’t annuals, but they’re not exactly perennials, either. They will come back next year– if you take the proper steps and are lucky. “They’re called garden mums (rather than perennial or hardy mums) because sometimes they don’t winter over,” explained Ron Heimiller, president and head grower at  Heimiller Greenhouses in Newfane. Whether garden mums will survive the winter depends on a number of factors, including your soil conditions and how harsh the winter is, Heimiller said. But there…

winter pansies from Mischlers

Winter pansies add color to gardens in Buffalo area through fall

Yes, Labor Day is over, but there are still new flowers to plant! If you forgot to water this summer and your flowers are fried, or if you just need a spot of color here or there for fall, look for winter pansies. Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Amherst, has them in a four-packs, 6 1/2-inch pots and combined containers. The winter pansies, grown right at Mischler’s, are frost tolerant. They’re  capable of withstanding our unpredictable fall weather….

Herb Tools from Mischler's in Amherst NY

Herb gadgets make it easier for you to preserve your crop

The right tool for the job can make your work easier. If you grow herbs, check out the fun selection of herb tools available at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd. (between Main St. and Wehrle Dr.), Williamsville. Cut your sprigs into strips or mince away with a multiblade scissor. Use the rocking blade and concave cutting board to work on larger batches of herbs. Mash up and serve a refreshing mojito (a minty cocktail) with a traditional tall…

house on nighttime garden walk in Buffalo NY

Black Rock and Riverside shine during nighttime garden walk

“I love the lights,” said Rosie Dubravac of 74 Simon St., Buffalo. That’s why she opened her yards for the Starry Night Garden Tour, the evening portion of the Black Rock & Riverside Tour of Gardens on Saturday, Aug. 6. It was the last garden walk of the season in Western New York. Dubravac welcomed many visitors, who enjoyed the well-lit front and back yards. The tall lighted ornament you see in the front yard above left  is a sunflower….