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…

hummingbird at Salvia

How to attract hummingbirds to your garden in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Hummingbirds are making their way back to Western New York, said Penny Durnin of North Tonawanda, moderator of the Hummingbird Forum. They’re hungry after their long trip, so now is a good time to hang your hummingbird feeder. You can track their migration on this map by Lanny Chambers at the website. Dots are added as people send in reports that they have spotted ruby-throated hummingbirds. Durnin has very generously shared lots of great information…


Plantasia preview: Plants that look good & taste good, too

by Connie Oswald Stofko We buy plants with our eyes, said Ken Parker, CNLP, native plant expert and consultant. But when we choose plants that are edible as well as beautiful, we make our garden functional. “Plants are not just for aesthetics,” Parker said. And the edible plants that he recommends also attract pollinators, “so it’s win, win, win.” In this article, he shares some recommendations for trees and plants that that not only look attractive in our landscape, they…

butterfly weed

Why you should plant butterfly weed, plus more tips from Master Gardeners

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a butterfly magnet. It’s a native plant and doesn’t get serious diseases. Not only that, deer usually avoid it. The only negative thing about the plant is that it has “weed” in its name, according to an article in this month’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. See that article about butterfly weed here. You can also read about: A disease affecting spinach plants….

asters in Amherst NY garden autumn

Preparing for winter: Tips from Master Gardeners

The October issue of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Erie County Cornell Cooperative Extension, is full of tips on what you should do in your garden now as we prepare for winter. Find out what you can plant now, what you should cut back and what you have to bring inside as well as more tips in the article “This Month in the Garden.” There are two other articles in this edition, too. Find out why…