flowers on sunchoke in Amherst NY 2013

Get free sunchokes & plant them now; tell us how they grew for you

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s the time of year to harvest sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, and for me to share them with local gardeners. I’ll give you some for free, but there’s one catch. You have to pick them up or get someone you know to pick them up. I don’t want to have to mail them. I’m in the Eggertsville area of Amherst. If you don’t get out this way, you probably have a neighbor or cousin…

osteopermum by Stofko

What you can do in your early autumn garden in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko That muggy weather we’ve had this past week made it feel more like July than September. But Labor Day is over and kids are headed back to school. That makes many people think the gardening season is over. No it’s not! Here are a few reminders of things you can do in the garden now and for the next few weeks. Start a new garden Many people think spring is the perfect time to start a…

aster yellows on coneflower

Disease called aster yellows is affecting coneflowers in WNY; get rid of diseased plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko Margaret Raupp, coordinator of Open Gardens, brought to my attention a couple plant problems  that she noticed around Western New York this summer. Last week we talked about the lily leaf beetle, which is damaging lilies. This week we’ll discuss aster yellows disease, which affects coneflowers and causes the blossom to be deformed. “I saw it everywhere and most gardeners were not aware of it,” Raupp said. Bizarre green tufts growing out of the flower are…

begonia Whopper at Mischler's in Williamsville

You can still plant perennials & annuals– and there are sales!

by Connie Oswald Stofko A lot of gardeners seem to view Memorial Day weekend as a deadline. They think that all of their planting has to be done by then. Not true! “There is still lots of time to enjoy flowers,” said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. This is a great time to buy annuals for several reasons, Yadon said. The plants that you buy now are larger than the plants…

Jerry Powarski in his garden in West Seneca

Get tips on going big from this West Seneca garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Go big. That’s the lesson I took away from the gardens of Jerry Powarski of George Dr., West Seneca. Powarski gave me a sneak peek last week as a preview of the West Seneca Tour of Gardens, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 18 and 19. The garden walk season kicks off this weekend with the 10th annual Lewiston GardenFest, which will be held 10 a.m. to 5…

coleus Kingswood Torch at Buffalo Botanical Gardens

8 reasons why the Botanical Gardens uses coleus– & why you should, too

by Connie Oswald Stofko Coleus doesn’t get showy flowers, yet it’s the featured plant in the Celebration of Coleus and Color show that starts Saturday, June 13 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. Even without an emphasis on flowers, this exhibit is a favorite among some visitors to the Botanical Gardens, said Jeff Thompson, director of horticulture. What’s the attraction of coleus? Today we’ll give you eight reasons why the Botanical Gardens showcases…

rue at Mike Weber Greenhouses in West Seneca NY

7 unusual uses for easy-to-grow herbs; you can plant them all summer

by Connie Oswald Stofko Everybody knows you can use herbs to season your food, but there are many other uses for these wonderful plants, said Jen Weber, retail manager at Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca. Today we’ll talk about just a few of the 90 varieties of herbs grown by Mike Weber Greenhouses. What I like most about herbs is that they’re easy to grow. “They just don’t want to be overwatered,” Weber said. As I’ve said…

hanging baskets at Lockwoods in Hamburg by Stofko

Invest in plant tags, plus three more tips for shopping & planting

by Connie Oswald Stofko Spring is so unpredictable in Western New York. In early May, we had temperatures in the 80s, and it was tempting to get our tender annuals and vegetables in our garden beds. But last week we had frost warnings. That’s why it’s a good idea to follow the rule of thumb and wait until Memorial Day to plant anything that might be damaged by frost. Some people are even more conservative and wait until the end…

Impatiens Bounce courtesy Ball Horticultural

Shade gardeners: new ‘Bounce’ may be good alternative to impatiens

by Connie Oswald Stofko Gardeners who are looking for colorful flowers for the shade have a promising alternative to impatiens called ‘Bounce’. A few years ago, downy mildew began killing impatiens walleriana, the regular old impatiens that shade gardeners depended on for decades. Ever since then, gardeners have been looking for alternatives. See some alternatives to impatiens here. I know it’s confusing, but one of those alternatives that we’ll be talking about has a similar-sounding name, New Guinea impatiens. ‘Bounce’…

false eranthemum from Buffalo Erie County Botanical Gardens

Get unusual plants from collection at Botanical Gardens; sale opens Saturday to public

by Connie Oswald Stofko Some unusual plants from the collection of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens will be included in the Great Plant Sale, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17 in the Administration Building, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. Admission is free. The quantity of each variety is limited. A plant that you really want may sell out, so aim to get there early for the best…