Monet flower arrangement from Mischler's

20 ideas for Mother’s Day in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday, May 10, and you want something that will make your mother smile. Since no two mothers are the same, we’ve come up with a long list of ideas– I counted 20– for things that might please Mom on her special day. There are ideas for traditional gifts, practical gifts,  quirky gifts and things to do together. What do you think makes a great Mother’s Day gift? Please leave a…

CD's to keep deer away in Amherst NY

Use old CD’s to keep deer & rabbits away, plus more tips on garden pests

by Connie Oswald Stofko When it comes to dealing with pests such as deer and rabbits, the bad news is that there is no single technique that works all the time. The good news is that there are lots and lots of things you can try. When I speak to gardening groups, I get a chance to talk with gardeners, and they’re happy to share what works for them. I’m always coming across new ideas on how to deal with pests….

cut dead perennials in spring in Buffalo NY

17 reminders for your early spring garden in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko As I sat outside yesterday in shorts and bare feet, it felt as if summer was here to stay. But that’s how it feels every spring in Western New York, and every year our spring weather takes us on a roller coaster ride. The high was in the 70s yesterday, yet you know we’re still going to get freezing temperatures before summer really arrives. Some years we’ve had flakes of snow flying around in the air in May. I know…

Fascinating green roof project under way in Springville; you can help

by Connie Oswald Stofko The Springville Center for the Arts is seeking volunteers to start seedlings for its green roof project. You’ll get seeds that you are asked to start in containers and nurture until they’re ready to be transplanted onto the green roof. You don’t have to live in Springville to participate. In addition to the seedling program, volunteers are needed for the installation of the green roof on the building that the arts center is rehabilitating at  5 East Main…

Start seeds inside now for cool-weather crops; start seeds for tomatoes in a few weeks in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s finally time for us to start thinking about starting seeds inside! Cool-weather vegetables Let’s keep our fingers crossed that all this snow melts at a nice, steady pace so that our garden beds will be dry enough to for us to plant cool-weather vegetables in April. As the folks from Lockwood’s Greenhouses in Hamburg told us in a previous article, cool-weather vegetables are the crops that can take some cooler weather and light frosts. They…

steps in Whittemore garden in Hamburg NY

A natural slope adds interest to colorful shade garden in Hamburg; garden walks are coming!

by Connie Oswald Stofko A natural slope combined with raised beds add interest to the Hamburg yard of Barb and Dave Whittemore. “There are seven steps to the top deck,” Dave pointed out. “We really have vistas with this. The elevations make a world of difference. That’s one thing I really enjoy.” A screened-in seating area is perched at the top of the garden looking down on the main part of the yard. “You can sit up there and see…

Artichoke-ImperialStar from WAtleeBurpee

Want a plant that is different, pretty and yummy? Try artichokes

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to try something different in your spring garden this year, the folks at Lockwood’s Greenhouses suggest the artichoke. If you like to cook and eat artichokes, you’ll naturally be drawn to this plant, but it’s interesting in several ways to gardeners. First, it gets beautiful gray-green foliage, making it a wonderful accent plant, said Teresa Buchanan, garden center manager. You can enjoy it as a lovely addition to your flower bed. The plant…

Wave petunias from Powarski in West Seneca NY

Lush flower garden grows from cracks in concrete driveway in West Seneca

Some of us have trouble growing flowers in our garden beds, but Jerry Powarski of West Seneca can get them to grow in his concrete driveway! Powarski didn’t plant the flowers; they were “volunteers.” The seeds dropped off from flowers that had been growing the previous year in nearby pots and found their way into the cracks in his driveway. Not only does he allow them to grow in the driveway, he weeds out any competing plants. The really difficult…

Start seeds outside now using milk jug, other containers in ‘winter sowing’

by Connie Oswald Stofko This is actually an update of a tip from David Clark, the nationally known horticulture speaker who teaches at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Winter sowing is great because it gives us gardeners in Western New York something to do when it’s cold and snowy out. You plant hardy seeds in old milk jugs or other containers and set the containers outside now. The seeds will know when they should sprout in the spring….

potted perennials in winter at Mischler's in Williamsville NY

Clever perennial planter from spring still looking good into winter at Mischler’s

We’ve had snow and cold, yet this perennial container that was planted up in the spring is still going strong. Mark Yadon of Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville, designed this creation called “Winter Green.” He planted it up as a demonstration at the Lewiston GardenFest in the third week of June this year. As we told you in September, there are two tricks to this planter. First, Yadon chose perennial plants that keep their color after…