earthworm compared to jumping worm

Update on jumping worms; please send reports

Two recent articles from WNY Gardening Matters give updates on jumping worms, an invasive species that leaches nutrients from soil, making it difficult for most plants to grow. Jumping worms have been found in Western New York. NY iMapInvasives is trying to track where jumping worms are and where they haven’t gotten to yet. Please look in your yard and let NY iMapInvasives know whether or not you see this invasive pest. WNY Gardening Matters The first article says that…

monarch flying off swamp milkweed

Why you should bother with Earth Day in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko The Buffalo River doesn’t start on fire any more. Rarely do you see litter tossed out of car windows. And you have most likely seen a local garden with one or more native plants in it. Those are just three changes that I’ve seen in Western New York since the first Earth Day in 1970. These changes didn’t come quickly. They didn’t happen easily. But they happened. They happened because people cared. And a person did…

purple crocuses in Amherst NY

Gardening tasks for early spring in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko After weeks of snow covering our gardens, we can see plants again here in Western New York! The sun has been shining. At times, the weather’s so warm, you can be outside without a sweater. We can tackle some gardening tasks now that we couldn’t do just a couple of weeks ago. But it’s still early spring and the weather fluctuates. The afternoon warmth can be followed by freezing temperatures at night. A stretch of warm…

cardinal and sparrow in snow in Cheektowaga NY

Help researchers with Great Backyard Bird Count

The 25th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which will be held Friday, Feb. 18 through Monday, Feb. 21, is a way for you to help researchers right from your own backyard. Anyone, from beginning bird watchers to experts, can take part. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at birdcount.org. Each checklist submitted during the Great Backyard Bird…

wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens

Native wintergreen, plus more from WNY Gardening Matters

American wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), a native plant, is an appealing evergreen groundcover, according to this article in the most recent edition of WNY Gardening Matters. Its glossy leaves emit a pleasant teaberry scent when crushed. Its white flowers are tinged with pink in summer and develop attractive red berries. There’s another evergreen groundcover with the common name of wintergreen, but it’s in an entirely different family. Learn more about spotted wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata) in this article, too. Also in this…

illustration of tree with leaves and acorns in background

Order tree & shrub seedlings now through counties & DEC

by Connie Oswald Stofko Sales of tree and shrub seedlings are being held in Western New York. You can order from your county or through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The sales have different ordering deadlines. The organizers suggest you order early to make sure the items you want are still in stock. Some of the sales offer additional items, such as wildflower mixes. Tree seedling sales by county Cattaraugus County Chautauqua County Erie County Genesee…

bee and hose and compost represent sustainable gardening

NEW: ‘Sustainable Gardening’ course starts Saturday at Botanical Gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Sustainable gardening works with nature so you don’t have to do as much work trying to control pests, diseases and soil issues,” said David Clark, CNLP. Clark, a nationally known horticulture educator, will teach the new series of horticulture classes on sustainability. Classes will be taught from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays starting this Saturday, Jan. 22 in the Administration Building at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. These classes are…

Christmas trees made of tomato cages

4 holiday tips for gardeners in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Keep your garden in mind as you celebrate the holidays with these four fun tips. Reuse a tomato cage to make a Christmas decoration. They’re simple to make. You can unwind the decorations and use them again as tomato cages next summer. When wrapping presents, choose materials that can be composted. You’ll be keeping items out of landfills, plus you’ll be creating wonderful compost for your gardens! Use this tip to water your Christmas tree without…

monarch flying off swamp milkweed

Monarchs are in danger; how you can help in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Monarchs should be on the endangered species list, said Jay Burney, executive director of the Pollinator Conservation Association (PCA), based in Western New York. For years there has been a massive decline in monarch butterflies, but last year the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) declined to add the monarch to the endangered species list, Burney said. The FWS said there will be a yearly review and the monarch will stay in the running for…

dew on blades of grass

Reminder: Don’t fertilize lawn until spring

by Connie Oswald Stofko Your lawn is dormant now, so there’s no need to fertilize. And in New York State, you’re not permitted to use any kind of chemical fertilizer on your lawn from Dec. 1 to April 15. By prohibiting fertilizer application in winter, the New York State Nutrient Runoff Law aims to keep these chemicals from running off your lawn and polluting our waterways. Get some tips on green practices for your lawn and garden here from the…