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….

purple gladiolus in Buffalo NY area

Blooming in Buffalo area gardens now, gladiolus is flower for August

The gladiolus, which is blooming in many Buffalo-area gardens now,  is the birthday flower for August. I’m told you’re supposed to plant gladiolus bulbs in spring. That explains why they didn’t come up the first time I planted them– I planted them in the fall. After that fiasco, I again planted gladioluses (the plural is gladioluses, gladioli  or sometimes gladiolas). The only reason I tried them again was because I got bulbs as a gift.  (Technically, gladioluses have corms, not…

Heimiller Greenhouses celebrates 30th anniversary

Not your grandma’s garden plants: Trend is toward new varieties

Gardeners in the Buffalo and Western New York area have  more plants to choose from than they did just a decade or two ago. The plants are genetically better, too. This is one of the big trends Ron Heimiller has seen in his career as president and head grower at  Heimiller Greenhouses in Newfane. The business is celebrating its 30 anniversary. Breeders searched the world for plants that might do well in the United States and bred them for color,…

front yard in Niagara Falls NY 2011

Niagara Falls gardener shares tips on starting tomatoes from seed

First you notice the color, then you notice the fragrance when you visit the gardens surrounding the home of Barbara and Howard Sperry on Ashland Ave. in Niagara Falls. Sometimes Barbara likes to shake the lavender and other plants to better enjoy the aroma. The Sperrys shared their garden, along with many gardening tips, during the Historic Niagara Falls Garden Walk on Saturday, July 16. The event was presented by the Main Street Business and Professionals Association. Arts in the…

painted lawn in Lancaster NY

Painted lawn is eye-catching on Lancaster Garden Walk

The flowers in the garden beds are beautiful, but it’s the flowers painted on the lawn that get noticed first at the home of Karen and Bernie Farrell of 78 Brunswick, Lancaster. The flowers were painted by Karen, who has started her own business called Lawntastic, where she does custom painting on lawns. Their front yard was on display during the eighth annual Lancaster Garden Walk on Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17. Karen got the idea for her…