monarch on butterfly weed

Monarchs making a comeback in WNY; see more in the POLLINATOR

by Connie Oswald Stofko The bad news is that the number of monarch butterflies has been decreasing in the past 20 years. Monarchs may be given protection under the Endangered Species Act in 2019. The good news is that the number of monarchs in Western New York appears to be on the upswing. You can find out more in the very first issue of the POLLINATOR, a new publication produced by the Pollinator Conservation Association. To subscribe to the POLLINATOR for free,…

'Fireworks' goldenrod

Why you should plant goldenrod, plus more tips from Master Gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not cause hay fever!” said Lyn Chimera, the author of “Goldenrod Gets a Bad Rap,” one of three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County. Although many gardeners think of goldenrod as a weed, it’s one of Chimera’s favorite garden plants.  It’s beautiful in the garden, it’s great as a cut flower and it provides food…

video showing water features in Tonawanda

Waterfalls & Butterflies: video of a garden on Ken-Ton Garden Tour

by Connie Oswald Stofko Today you can see a short video that gives you a glimpse of the beautiful pond and gardens of Ron and Sandy Baty. If you are inspired by what you see and want to install a pond in your yard, Ron suggests joining the Niagara Frontier Koi and Pond Club. The members are happy to share their knowledge. The Batys shared their landscape on both the daytime and nighttime portions of the Ken-Ton Garden Tour last year….

monarch on milkweed

Butterfly gardens need more than nectar

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to attract adult butterflies to your garden, you can choose plants that provide nectar. But if you really want to help butterflies, provide plants that they need in other parts of their life cycle, too. That’s the suggestion of Douglas W. Tallamy, famed author of Bringing Nature Home, who spoke in Western New York in March. Butterflies don’t lay their eggs on any old plant, Tallamy said in Bringing Nature Home. They lay their eggs…

orange butterfly plant and anise hyssop

What to plant for monarchs; learn more at GROW Jamestown Garden Fair

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you’re over 40, you probably remember seeing lots of monarch butterflies when you were a kid. Maybe you even saw the caterpillar form its amazing chrysalis, then emerge as a butterfly. But if you’re younger, you may not have had that experience, said Betsy Burgeson, supervisor of Gardens and Landscapes at the Chautauqua Institution. The number of monarchs has been declining for years, but Burgeson will tell you how you can help increase their numbers by hand-raising monarchs….

cardinal in snow

Count birds at your feeder during winter to help scientists

You can help scientists through Project FeederWatch by counting the birds you see at your backyard feeder from November through early April. FeederWatchers periodically count the birds they see at their feeders and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. FeederWatch data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance. You can count birds as often as every week, or as infrequently as you like. The schedule is completely flexible. All you need…

girl looking at butterfly eggs

Get up close to monarchs during festival at Audubon Nature Center

Walk around an indoor garden filled with free-flying monarch butterflies during the Monarch Butterfly Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26 at Audubon Community Nature Center, 1600 Riverside Rd., one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York, and Warren, Pennsylvania. You can hand-feed the butterflies or wander over to see how citizen scientists tag them to track their migration to Mexico. Observe their life cycle as you examine monarch eggs and hold caterpillars. Festival admission is…

six-pack of deer-resistant perennials

Pick up– or send– a six-pack of can’t-miss perennials

by Connie Oswald Stofko Some gardeners know exactly what plant they want and can ask for it by its Latin name. Then there are others, like me, who just have a vague idea of the plant they want. Something that deer don’t like, or something that hummingbirds or butterflies do like. Or maybe native plants because they’re usually easy to maintain. If you’re not sure where to go from there, Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses can help. “We take the complexity…

bird in hanging basket

What can you do to prevent birds from nesting in hanging baskets?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a question from a reader: Have you heard of any way to deter pesky little birds from nesting in my hanging planters? Carol Thibault of Elma We love birds visiting our gardens, but I can see where it would be a nuisance if birds nest in hanging baskets. When you try to water your plants, you disturb the birds, and if you don’t water, your plants will die. Plus, the nest may mess up the…

two bees facing each other on flower by Stofko

Join the challenge to attract pollinators– bee one in a million!

by Connie Oswald Stofko No matter what size garden you have– even if it’s only a few containers on your balcony– we invite you to join the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. One of the significant threats to the health of pollinators is the scarcity and degradation of plants that they use for forage. The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge wants to increase the number of landscapes of every size– including pots on a balcony– that have plants that provide the nectar…