pussy willow

Advantages of willows that don’t weep, plus more from Master Gardeners

When you think of a willow, you probably think of a weeping willow (Salix babylonica), which originated in China. But if you want butterflies in your garden, you might want to choose native varieties of willow– they support at least 455 species of butterfly larva. Find out more reasons to plant native willows in the article Willows That Don’t Weep by Lynn Chimera. It’s one of the latest articles published in WNY Gardening Matters by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative…

clay in soil

Clay soil: compost is better than sand

by Connie Oswald Stofko When you have clay soil, should you add compost or sand? Compost. “In the long run, by far, the best thing you could possibly add is organic matter,” said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Organic matter can be compost, autumn leaves, peat moss or other plant material. Organic matter is better because you have to add so much sand to loosen the clay, it’s not practical, Farfaglia said. I asked this…

wrapping paper

Before you buy wrapping paper, consider this: Can you compost it?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Those glossy wrapping papers are so pretty when they’re on a package, but what happens to the gift wrap after the package is opened? You might think that adding wrapping paper to your compost pile is a great way to use up the paper, but think again. Some wrapping paper can actually contaminate your compost with heavy metals– and that could affect your garden, too. Many kinds of gift wrap contain heavy metals such as lead,…

Seed-starting tips & more help from Master Gardeners

You started some seeds inside and watched them grow into healthy seedlings. Soon after, they were dead. This sudden death is “damping off,” and it can be prevented. Find out how to avoid damping off in an article by Carol Ann Harlos in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters. It’s produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. In addition to the article on damping off, in this edition of WNY Gardening Matters you will…

Eastern coyote

Coyotes: Another reason to use a covered compost bin

When you started your compost pile, you may have worried about attracting mice and rats. But here’s a new concern: coyotes. Eastern coyotes are well adapted to suburban and even some urban environments. They are becoming a more common sight to gardeners in Western New York, and you don’t want to attract them to your yard. One thing gardeners can do is to enclose compost piles so coyotes can’t get at them. That’s a tip from the New York State…

the Earth Machine Composter for sale in Erie County

Buy compost bins, rain barrels during Erie County sale

You can buy compost bins and rain barrels at wholesale prices during a sale being held by Erie County in partnership with the Western New York Storm water Coalition, the City of Buffalo and the Town of Wheatfield. The deadline to order is Friday, May 3. You will pick up your order at one of two locations: the City of Buffalo Engineering Garage, 1120 Seneca St., Buffalo, or the Town of Wheatfield Town Hall, 2800 Church Rd., North Tonawanda. The…

broom leaves on perennial bed in Western New York

How to mulch ground cover, plus 4 more tips for autumn leaves in WNY

  by Lyn Chimera of Lessons From Nature  Many people dread raking up autumn leaves, but you should look forward to it. Leaves are a free resource for your landscape, a bonus from nature. Don’t throw them away! Here are five tips on using autumn leaves in different parts of your landscape. Leaves on the lawn If there is a light covering of leaves on your lawn, you can mow right over them and leave the chopped-up leaves on the lawn. They…

compost makes garden beds beautiful Hamburg NY

Hidden ‘factory’ is what makes this garden gorgeous

  by Connie Oswald Stofko My photos, taken in harsh afternoon sunlight, don’t do justice to the landscape of Molly and Douglas Mailey, which I saw on the Hamburg Garden Walk in July. Molly has lush and colorful garden beds. Just by looking, you may be able to pick up on some of the techniques she uses to add beauty to her landscape. She has shady areas, and chooses her plants well to fit the lighting conditions. Her garden beds curve and are…

plastic bottle protecting sprout

Tips on deer, composting & more for Western New York

  by Connie Oswald Stofko I am fortunate that so many Western New Yorkers share gardening tips with me. People often share tips with me after I give a talk. Unfortunately, I am so busy scribbling down notes about the tips themselves that I don’t always get the name of the person who shared the tip. My apologies. Today I’ll share a few of the tips I’ve accumulated. If you have a tip that worked for you, you can share…

the Earth Machine Composter for sale in Erie County

Rain barrels, compost bins on sale in Erie County; order by May 25

A sale of rain barrels and compost bins is being held by the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, the City of Buffalo and the Western New York Stormwater Coalition. Prices are 50 percent off retail. The deadline to order is May 25. Quantities are limited. You have to pick up your items on June 7. The pick-up sites are in Buffalo and Tonawanda. See more details here.  This is the third year the organizations have held the sale. Some…