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…

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…