species tulip 'Ballerina'

How to plant spring bulbs in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Want to get bulbs to bloom in spring and summer? Here’s your first tip: Plant in autumn. Every spring, people walk into garden centers expecting to buy tulips and other bulbs to plant immediately in their gardens. It’s understandable, said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager at Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo. With most other plants, when you see them flowering outside, that’s the time to plant them. With bulbs, you have to plan…

frost

Dealing with frost in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko The official first day of autumn arrived last Thursday, and immediately, it seemed, Western New York temperatures took a nose dive. An overnight frost advisory was issued last week for Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. This week overnight temperatures may dip into the 30s in many parts of Western New York. That’s significant because frost can occur even if the air temperature is above freezing, according to our previous article. The article also explains why even 36-degree…

squirrel holding tulip bulb copyright Stofko

Protect your flower bulbs from squirrels in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko “I’ve planted bulbs, gone into the house, and the squirrels come back ten minutes later to steal my bulbs,” said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager at Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market. “They’re viscous little things!” Jablonski-Dopkin offers tips for keeping squirrels away from your newly planted bulbs. You still have plenty of time to buy and plant bulbs. In Western New York, plant bulbs in October or November. The soil should be cool, about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. In…

autumn leaves changing color in Amherst NTY

Autumn leaves turning color in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Autumn leaves are beginning to change color across Western New York, according to the most recent Fall Foliage Report produced by ILoveNY.com. We’ve been getting a lot of rain lately, which we need to make up for our dry summer, but it can dim the colors of autumn leaves. For the most spectacular color displays, the best weather conditions are a succession of warm, sunny days, according to “Science of Fall Colors” from the US Forest Service. Cool but…

rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers' in garden in Eden New York

Yes, there are perennials that flower in autumn in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Who doesn’t have Japanese anemones?” Margaret Raupp asked as we toured the flower gardens at her home in Eden. Me. I don’t have Japanese anemones, and I bet many of you don’t have then either. Why? Because we don’t visit gardens when they are blooming. That’s why I asked Raupp, who shares her landscape on Open Gardens, to show me some of the flowers that bloom in September. I visited her about 10 days ago, on…

taking phot of garden with phone

Autumn: Take photos of your perennials, make plant labels

by Connie Oswald Stofko Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know where all your perennials are–now. But what about next spring when all the plants–perennials and weeds alike– are tiny? You can take a guess on what’s in that spot. Or you can invest some time now so that, in spring, you’re not weeding out your beloved flowers. First, take photos of your gardens now while your perennials are still standing. See more here. Second, label your plants. Tip: I have used…

yellow and orange pansies at Mischler's in Williamsville NY

Welcome autumn with seasonal flowers

by Connie Oswald Stofko Freshen up your landscape with autumn annuals. From traditional mums to a newer variety of ornamental peppers, Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses has plants to brighten up your autumn landscape. Let’s start with mums. There are early-season, mid-season and late-season mums. They bloom at different times, depending on the variety. Early-season mums are available now. When I took these photos last week, the flowers were just opening. Some people like to choose a plant whose flowers aren’t…

daffodils in Amherst NY

Why you shouldn’t plant spring bulbs too early in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko “While the big box stores have bulbs available before Labor Day, bulbs should not be planted before the beginning of October,” said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager at Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market. “Our bulb suppliers won’t send them till the end of September. We usually have them in stock by the first week in October.” Autumn is the time to plant bulbs that flower in spring, but planting them too early could damage or even kill them. When…

snow peas in November in Amherst New York

Plant now in WNY: cool weather veggies

by Connie Oswald Stofko There’s a whole group of herbs and vegetables that you can grow now–from seed! These herbs and vegetables may take a month or two–even three months– to reach maturity. By then the weather will be cool, cold or freezing, but these plants like it that way. If you’ve never tried planting a crop of vegetables that you harvest in autumn or winter, try it this year. There are so many cool weather herbs and vegetables to…

harvesting sage in early winter

Don’t desert your garden yet! Tasks for early winter weather in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko I wasn’t sure whether to use “early winter” or “late autumn” in the headline. Technically, winter doesn’t start until Dec. 21. Yet we have already gotten snow and more is in the forecast, so I went with winter. Then again, the snow keeps melting, and many of us still have leaves on the trees. Maybe we should call this season “wintumn.” Whatever you call it, there are still tasks you can do in your garden. If…