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 Hummingbirds.net 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…

chokeberry

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…

bee and milkweed flower in Buffalo

No, there’s no labeling on use of neonicotinoids in plants or seeds

by Connie Oswald Stofko I got this question from a reader: Hi Connie, How can we be sure that we aren’t buying plants that have been treated with neonics, or grown from seeds containing neonics? Is there a standard label to look for? Or certain brands that don’t deal in them? Thanks. Kristen Buffalo Since I’m not a gardening expert, I contacted someone who knows more about  neonicotinoids, which are used in pest control. I talked to John Farfaglia, the…

gull flying with reflection on water

Four fun bird-related activities that will enhance your gardening experience

by Alex Clark The only thing that can make a garden more lively than the bright, exuberant colors of flowers, is the subtle, yet amusing presence of birds. Here are are four things you can do to learn more about birds and enjoy them in your garden. The Great Backyard Bird Count Help out your community by participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count. This was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display…

boy holding a Rhode Island Red hen

You can raise chickens in your backyard; find out more in two classes

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Chickens are easy to take care of, they don’t cost a lot and they can be good pets, said Amanda Henning, Agriculture and Food Systems Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County. But before you run out and get a bunch of fuzzy chicks, find out what is really involved in raising chickens. Henning, who raises chickens herself, will teach two classes on “Backyard Chickens” in the small meeting room of the 4-H Training Center of…

monarch from Jamestown Audubon

Learn to raise monarch caterpillars in July 16 workshop in Jamestown

Learn how to raise monarch caterpillars to help increase their numbers in a workshop from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, July 16 at the Audubon Nature Center, 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, NY, and Warren, PA. Mostly an indoor program, it will include a short walk outside to see the milkweed patch, the only food of monarch caterpillars. Depending on the local monarch butterfly population and the success of Audubon’s breeding program, you may be able…