heirloom squash at Urban Roots in Buffalo NY

Heirloom & specialty squash at Urban Roots: decorative & tasty

by Connie Oswald Stofko Instead of placing a common pumpkin outside as a decoration, you can use an eye-catching heirloom or specialty squash, said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager of Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo. “The bonus with these is that they are beautiful for decorating, and then delicious to eat,” she said. “They come in great shapes and different colors. They’re great on tables.” When she displays hers outside, she leaves them out until after…

giant allium in pot courtesy Mischler's in Williamsville New York

Reminder: Plant tulips, allium & other bulbs now for spring flowers

by Connie Oswald Stofko In spring, people see giant alliums in their neighbors’ gardens, then run into garden centers expecting to buy that plant, said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville. “You can’t buy them in spring,” Yadon said. The same goes for crocuses, hyacinths, daffodils, tulips, fritillaria and other spring bulbs. If you want those flowers in spring, plant the bulbs in autumn. You can plant them now through mid-November, if you can still…

canna lily in Amherst NY

What plants do you overwinter in Western New York?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Canna lilies are tall, impressive plants that I’ve long admired in Western New York gardens. So when I visited the Master Gardener plant sale in Buffalo this spring and saw a whole area with cannas, I toyed with the idea of actually buying one. When a helpful Master Gardener explained the different varieties, I admitted I was hesitant to buy a canna lily because I’m a lazy gardener. I know you have to bring in the…

ripe and unripe cherry tomatoes in Buffalo NY by Stofko

Reminder: you can ripen tomatoes inside

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you’re worried about damage to your tomatoes from late blight, frost or squirrels, pick your tomatoes when they’re green and bring them inside. The flavor and color is similar to that of a tomato ripened in the field, according to Cornell University. See all the details in this previous article. Late blight Late blight, which affects tomatoes and potatoes, hasn’t yet been identified in Western New York yet this year, but it has been seen…

autumn leaves in Letchworth State Park by Stofko

Sept. 22 is first day of autumn; leaves beginning color change in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko The official start of autumn is tomorrow and the Chautauqua-Allegheny region is beginning to show fall color, according the most recent Fall Foliage Report produced by ILoveNY.com. Reports are issued every Wednesday afternoon, so tomorrow’s report may reflect more Western New York areas where the leaves are beginning to change color. The reports signal when leaf color is just beginning to change, at the midpoint, at near peak, at peak and past peak. Caterpillar damage If leaves on your…

plumbago in Williamsville NY

Add color now to your late-season garden in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko “There’s a lot of color here,” said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, as he surveyed the tables full of flowering perennials and annuals at Mischler’s. As you look around your garden in late summer, do you still see exciting color? If not, try these tips. Plant perennials that flower now Go to garden centers such as Mischler’s now and you’ll see many perennials in bloom. Some of these weren’t blooming in late May…

lettuce and kale plants

Reminder: Plant now for fall, winter crops

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can plant a second crop of cool weather vegetables now in Western New York. As the name implies, cool weather vegetables actually like cooler temperatures. Cool weather vegetables include basil, beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, kale, peas, radishes and spinach. Here are some reasons why you should try planting cool weather vegetables now: Plants such as lettuce won’t bolt in the autumn like they do when temperatures get warm in spring. Basil likes warm night temperatures…

red leaf with frost by Stofko

8 gardening tasks you can do in late autumn

by Connie Oswald Stofko Even though we got a taste of winter weather, it’s still autumn in Western New York. And there are still gardening things you can do! Bring in & store tender bulbs How should you care for bulbs of plants such as dahlias and canna lilies? Dig up the bulbs after the first killing frost, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. By now, most, if not all, of Western New York…

autumn leaves and sky in Williamsville NY

Keep track of leaf change in WNY

It’s the first day of autumn and leaves are just beginning to change color in the Ellicottville area, according the most recent Fall Foliage Report produced by ILoveNY.com. Ellicottville is the first place in Western New York to report leaves beginning to change color. Reports are obtained from volunteer field observers and reflect expected color conditions for the coming weekend. Reports are issued every Wednesday afternoon, so tomorrow’s report may reflect more WNY areas where the leaves are changing color….

cutting from a coleus

Take cuttings of annuals now while the plant is in its prime

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to take cuttings of annuals to take inside for the winter, now is is the time to do it. Cuttings need to be taken while the plants are in their prime, not after they start to fade, said Lyn Chimera of Lessons from Nature. The coleus in the photo can be rooted easily placing the cutting in a glass or small vase of water. Tip: Cut off the leaves on the part of…