Four tips to keep deer from eating your plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko We can never get enough tips on ways to keep deer from damaging plants. Some of these ideas may work for you and some may not. And even if the technique you’re using does work, it may stop working after a while, so you have to try something new. Here are four new tips on dealing with deer in your garden. Recipe for deer deterrent Michael Sheehan of the Western New York Hosta Society says this…

lawn in yard using permaculture

This Grand Island landscape is suburban in front, natural in back

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s like visiting a home out in the country–depending on what side of the house you’re on. In front, the home of Denise and Don Freedman has a typical suburban landscape. In back, it’s more natural, with fruit trees, a rain garden and trees that were there when they bought the land. They’ve been using permaculture techniques before they ever heard that word. What does permaculture mean to them? “It’s using your land to your advantage,”…

deer eating in winter

My new talk ‘Oh, Deer!’ helps you protect your plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko One of the things that gets gardeners in Western New York riled up is deer. These hungry critters can wreak havoc in a garden. There’s no magic solution to keep deer from eating your plants, but there are things you can do that might help. Unfortunately, even if you find something to keep the deer away for awhile, the deer might get used to that deterrent. Then you have to try something else. The good news…

garden beds in center of yard

Prepare for Open Gardens & get tips from Hidden Gardens of Eden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Open Gardens will be held on Thursdays and Fridays starting next week, so get your booklet now. The booklet lists the locations of the gardens as well as the times and dates that each garden is open. The organizers even included suggested routes to help you see all the gardens. The booklet is available for a $10 donation at many local garden centers– see the list here.  The Open Gardens are like garden walks, but they take…

horse in Western New York

Can horse manure keep deer away from your garden?

by Connie Oswald Stofko I don’t get deer in my yard, so I haven’t tested whether horse manure might keep deer away. But I know how desperate Western New York gardeners get when it comes to deer, so I figured I should pass along any tip that might help. I got this information from a blog post by Joyce Tomanek on Mother Earth News that was published in 1999. Tomanek lives in the Southeast, which may (or may not) make a difference….

Miscanthus 'Scout' waving in a breeze

Noninvasive varieties of maiden grass available now

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you like the looks of maiden grass, but were put off because it is labeled invasive, there is good news. Noninvasive varieties of Miscanthus sinensis or maiden grass are now available, said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. And if you’ve never heard of maiden grass, check these new varieties out. They look good now with attractive foliage, but they’re even better in autumn when they get spectacular, fluffy flowers….

Deer eating your garden? See 20 plants deer hate

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you get discouraged when deer chomp away at your garden, know that growers and garden centers have the same problems. “Deer are a battle for us,” said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. In back of Mischler’s, there are fields filled with deer, eyeing the tasty plants set outside for sale. “I swear by the repellents,” Yadon said. “If I didn’t have repellents, we wouldn’t be in business.”…

path to lovely vegetable garden in Lancaster

Gorgeous vegetable garden is focus of Lancaster landscape

  by Connie Oswald Stofko In the past, people would hide their vegetable gardens in a back corner of the yard. That’s changing, and more and more people boldly display their veggies in garden beds among their ornamental plants. One problem is that vegetables often need even more protection from critters than ornamental plants do. Jane Bednarczyk protects her vegetable plants, and she does it in a way that’s not only attractive, it’s a focal point of the yard. Bednarczyk…

blood twig dogwood Midnight Fire

Look for ‘two-fers’ for your garden; hear more at PLANT WNY event

by Connie Oswald Stofko Home gardeners aren’t planting acres and acres of gardens anymore, so we have to get more out of the few plants we choose to include in our landscapes, Kerry Ann Mendez told me in a phone interview. The award-winning garden designer, author and lecturer noted that the two largest age groups in our country now are millennials and baby boomers, and both groups are choosing smaller spaces. Millennials are gravitating toward urban settings rather than sprawling suburbs, and…

allium in pot and near bench

Now is the time to plant bulbs for spring flowers

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Alliums are flowers that people see in the spring, and they come in expecting to buy them,” said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville. “It’s showy and they think, ‘I’ve got to have that.’” Although these great flowers appear in spring, you have to plant them in fall. “Right now is the time to plant them,” Yadon said. You can plant them through mid-November, if you can still work the soil…