blue spruce on Summer Street in Buffalo NY

Lush Buffalo garden with full-grown trees was planted on top of asphalt

A 20-foot blue spruce, along with a birch, crab apple, dogwood and Japanese maple, are part of what is essentially a giant container garden built on top of a narrow asphalt driveway in Buffalo. Ellie Dorritie of 415 Summer St. shared her gardens during Garden Walk Buffalo on July 30 and 31. More than 350 gardens were on display during the event, which is the largest garden tour in the nation. Dorritie’s back garden includes brick pathways, which you can…

path on Orleans County garden tour

Grand garden can be seen July 9 on Orleans County tour

by Connie Oswald Stofko “We thought it was a small garden,” said Jeannette Riley of the grounds of the home she shares with her mother, Alma Riley in Albion. Their property is probably five times as large as a typical suburban yard, though it’s small compared to nearby farms. The Rileys have developed the gardens in stages, and it hasn’t grown too big for them to maintain. But the main reason the garden doesn’t seem massive to Jeannette is because…

Container plantings add to charm of Lewiston garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Right now there’s not a lot of color with the perennials,” said Marlene Craft. She remedies that situation by making great use of clever container plantings. “I can move things around and get color where I need it,” she explained. Above, the large watering can is filled with licorice (light green) and coleus (red). The yellow plant in the small can is creeping jenny or goldilocks.  Marlene also uses bird cages, carpenters’ tool boxes and other…

completed container garden using Hollywood pop and drop technique

Container gardens: ‘Hollywood pop & drop’ and 3 more tips

by Connie Oswald Stofko Container gardens are great for decks, porches, patios, or anywhere that you need a touch of color. Mark Van Buren, owner of  Zehr’s on the Lake. offers four tips for keeping your containers looking beautiful all season long. Tip #1: The “Hollywood pop and drop” For quick color, try the technique Van Buren calls the “Hollywood pop and drop.” Buy a large hanging basket and a large container. Instead of filling the container with soil, just…

miniature butterfly bush in Burt NY

New small shrubs are great for tight spaces– even containers!

by Connie Oswald Stofko A new trend in gardening is the development  of small bushes that fit nicely into tight spaces– some are even suitable for containers! These new varieties preserve the characteristics we enjoyed in the larger versions. One example of a smaller bush is ‘Bloomerang,’ a very fragrant reblooming lilac introduced two years ago that grows only  four or five feet tall. That’s not like your grandmother’s lilac, which might have gotten 10 feet tall, said Mark Van…

Inticancha White Pink Blush frost tolerant annual

Plant annuals in Buffalo in April! New series available

by Connie Oswald Stofko A new frost-tolerant annual called Inticancha will be available at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville. “You can put it out in mid-April in containers or even in ground beds,” said Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses. “It’s nice to get that kind of color a month ahead of time. “It’s nice to extend the gardening season, too. Here in Buffalo, that’s kind of important.” The Inticancha series is a dwarf alstromeria that…

H. Blue Mouse Ears sports in bowl by Mike Shadrack

Intrigued by ‘little’ hostas? Here are tips on caring for them

  by Connie Oswald Stofko “This is the ideal climate for hostas,” said Mike Shadrack. “They like a harsh winter. You can’t grow them in Florida or Texas.” Mike and his wife, Kathy Guest Shadrack, have written The Book of Little Hostas: 200 Small, Very Small, and Mini Varieties. Last week, they introduced us to this plant that enjoys a cult following, and in this article they share some tips on caring for little hostas. (By the way, the proper…

straw flower in Amherst NY

Stretch the season with frost-tolerant annuals

by Connie Oswald Stofko We’ve had a frost, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon flower gardening for the year. You can stretch the season well into November with frost-tolerant annuals. While many people are familiar with mums and pansies, there are many more choices, such as the straw flower, seen here. “Many people have them as annuals during the summertime, but they don’t realize the straw flower is frost tolerant,” said Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s Florist…

plum tomatoes in Kenmore Mercy roof garden

Hospital food gets zest with herb garden on roof of Kenmore Mercy

by Connie Oswald Stofko Unused space on a roof has been turned into an herb garden at Kenmore Mercy Hospital in Kenmore, and it is adding fresh taste to meals there. “We’re trying to change institutional food,” said Kathy Kubiak-McAlpine, food service manager at Kenmore Mercy Hospital. “We want people to view it in a new light.” “It’s not the same old hospital food,” said Vinny Richter, chef at the hospital, pictured above. Kubiak-McAlpine got the idea for the garden…

sculpture garden Elmwood Ave. Buffalo

Buffalo sculptor shares tips on cheap gardening

Gardening doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby. “I didn’t spend one cent on this garden,” said Dave Derner, who created a backyard retreat at 1088 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, where he lives above Half & Half Trading Co. He got plants that nurseries or co-ops were going to throw out. Friends gave him plants as well. Many of the plants flourished. “I just put things in and let them grow,” Derner said. “It’s amazing how things just want to grow.”…