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…

vinca minor in Amherst NY by Stofko

Fungal disease may affect vinca minor, plus more info from Master Gardeners

If you’re noticing dying stems and leaves on your vinca minor (also known as myrtle or periwinkle), it might not be due to the dry weather. It might be a fungal disease. You find out more in the article “Potential Problem with Vinca Minor,” one of the articles in September’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. In This Month in the Garden, you get tips on planting cool-season crops…

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…

bee flying into hosta flower in Amherst NY

Help bees, butterflies & other pollinators

by Connie Oswald Stofko Whether we want to grow food or enjoy beautiful flowers, pollinators are so important to our gardens that an entire week has been dedicated to them. About 75 percent of all flowering plants rely on animal pollinators, according to Pollinator Partnership, which works to protect the health of these animals that are vital to not only our gardens, but to agriculture and our ecosystem. The group initiated Pollinator Week, held this year from June 15-21, out…