oak leaf on pine needles

Take steps now to have great soil next year

by Connie Oswald Stofko A couple of simple tests can tell you what steps you have to take to improve your soil– or let you know that you are already on the right track. There are three kinds of tests you might do, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. The first is a pH test to find out how acidic or alkaline your soil is. Farfaglia recommends that every gardener do this test at…

fall mums budding and in flower

Our hot September weather means mum season is just starting

by Connie Oswald Stofko Last week the calendar said it was autumn, but it still felt like summer. Mums thought it was still summer, too, and they were late in blooming this year, said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. Usually Labor Day is the beginning of the mum season, but the mums weren’t flowering yet due to what is called heat delay, he said. Because of the hot weather, mums are 10…

dichondra in window box in Amherst NY

Now is time to get annuals– along with advice you didn’t even know you needed!

by Connie Oswald Stofko It was well into June when I finally turned my attention to the window boxes on my front porch, which is the main point of interest in my plain front yard. It seemed like every other gardener in Western New York had their pots of annuals out already, and I felt like I was running behind. But what I learned was that waiting until June to go to your local garden center can work to your…

coleus Lord Voldemort in Buffalo

5 tips for making an impact in your landscape without flowers

by Connie Oswald Stofko “You don’t have to have a flower to make an impact,” said Kristin Pochopin, interim director of horticulture at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. You can see that lesson on display at this year’s Celebration of Coleus and Color, which is again sponsored by Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com. The show will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from Saturday, June 18 through Sunday, July 24. This exhibit is included with regular admission to the…

vegetables herbs and flowers in pot in West Seneca

Why you should plant veggies in containers, plus a shocking tip on caring for veggies!

by Connie Oswald Stofko First of all, there is still time to plant vegetables. The best time to plant vegetables is the first week in June until about June 10, said Jen Weber, retail manager at Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca. The ground is warm, the nights are warm and the danger of frost has passed. So yes, you still have time to plant vegetables, but do it soon–The Fourth of July is too late, she said….

agastache Acapulco salmon and pink

Four great annuals that you might not know about

by Connie Oswald Stofko Whether you’re tired of using the same annuals every year or you’re new to gardening and don’t know where you start, here are some interesting suggestions for annuals from Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg. These plants all like sun. Varieties of cuphea “It’s a nice, reliable, good overall plant,” said Jill Kisker, grower at Lockwood’s, referring to different varieties of cuphea. It’s also known as cigar plant for the shape of its flowers. “The hummingbirds…

how to deadhead hanging basket by shaking

Here’s an easy way to deadhead annuals in hanging baskets

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s an easy way to deadhead some annuals in hanging baskets. I got this great tip from Kristin Pochopin, interim director of horticulture at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens during the recent Great Plant Sale. Instead of picking off the dead flowers one by one, hold the basket by the hook, as she is doing in the photo. Hold it close to the ground and shake the basket. The dead flowers will fall off…

healthy impatiens in Lancaster NYJune 2013 closeup

You can plant impatiens in your shady garden if you want to play the odds

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to plant impatiens this year, you can take steps to decrease your chances of having your flowers killed by the blight called downy mildew, said Margery Daughtrey, senior extension associate with the Section of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology at Cornell University. One thing you can do is to plant your impatiens in hanging baskets where they might be more sheltered from the disease. You can also plant them among other plants so…

pansies at Mischler's in Williamsville NY

It’s time for pansies! Yes, you can plant them outside now

by Connie Oswald Stofko Pansies in blues, purples, yellows and oranges are displayed on long tables outside Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. The exciting word in that sentence is “outside.” “When we put them out (on display), we’re confident that they’re ready to be out, and to stay out,” said Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s. “We usually put them out the first week of April, but this year we’re doing them a little earlier.” The…

Waterman's Greenhouse in Springville NY

Enjoy a short drive to the country to get specialty services at Waterman’s Greenhouse

by Connie Oswald Stofko Sometimes when you’re shopping for hanging baskets or other containers of annuals, you wish you could swap out the plant combinations. The basket in front of you would be your favorite, if only it had that pretty grass that’s in the basket across the way. And this other basket is nice, but the flowers are orange and you really had your heart set on pink. At Waterman’s Greenhouse, you can get exactly what you want. Place…