tri-colored bumble bee

Help scientists track native pollinators

You can contribute to the Empire State Native Pollinator Survey to help scientists see which native pollinators are common and which may be declining. Native pollinators play an important role in the pollination of flowering plants, including native plants, wildflowers, garden plants and cultivated crops. The survey is targeting native bees, flies, beetles and moths. The Participant Handbook describes different ways you can participate. One of the ways is as a photographer. You don’t need a fancy camera, and you don’t even have…

Seven-sons tree in Western New York

Choosing trees for your landscape

by Connie Oswald Stofko When we think of plants for our landscape, we often forget about trees. With Arbor Day coming up on Friday, April 26, we turn our attention to these huge plants that we sometimes don’t notice. How to choose a tree People need to know what they want out of a tree before they choose a tree for their landscape, said Tom Draves, president of Draves Arboretum, 1821 Sharrick Road, Darien. Draves said some of the things…

image for 2019 Pollinator House competition

Design & build a pollinator house, enter new competition

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Garden Walk Buffalo, the Buffalo Architecture Foundation has partnered with Gardens Buffalo Niagara to launch the 2019 Pollinator House Design-Build Competition. This unique design-build competition encourages participants to submit a functional, contemporary pollinator house. The houses will be displayed during Garden Walk Buffalo and then auctioned off to support the programs of both Gardens Buffalo Niagara and the Buffalo Architecture Foundation. The competition seeks to bring awareness to the wide array of pollinators in Western New…

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…

monarch caterpillar

Help scientists through Caterpillars Count!

Due to climate change, the growing season in Western New York starts earlier than it did in the past. Are caterpillars and birds emerging earlier as well? Caterpillars Count!, a citizen science project, could use your help to find out if plants, insects and birds are all responding to ongoing changes in climate to the same degree. You can participate by counting arthropods such as caterpillars, beetles and spiders through Wild Spirit Education, located at 11511 Bixby Hill Rd., Delevan. You can also count…

maple leaves and seeds

State, counties selling tree & shrub seedlings; schools get free seedlings

You can place an order for tree and shrub seedlings in sales being held now by counties and by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC). In addition, tree seedlings are available to schools for free. New York State DEC The Spring Seedling Sale of the NYS DEC provides more than 40 native tree and shrub species for low prices. They offer various mixed species packets including streamside habitat builders and pollinator-popular flowering species. See details here.  The deadline…

Tips & inspiration for wild winter weather in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko and Stephen Vermette We’ve had some wild weather in the past week: lots of snow, wind, an official blizzard, and dangerously cold wind chills. But yesterday it felt like spring, with strong sun and temperatures around 60. Now some areas have flooding, and more flooding is possible. Tomorrow we might get freezing rain. Later in the week the forecast is for rain, then snow. Find out what you can do in your landscape in these changing conditions, and remember…

butterfly on purple coneflower in West Seneca NY

Native wildflowers, shrubs offered in Reinstein sale; deadline Feb. 15

Friends of Reinstein Woods is holding its annual plant sale, which features wildflowers and shrubs that are native to the Northeast. Orders will be accepted through Friday, Feb. 15. Orders may be placed online or by downloading a mail-in order form. “Planting native plants is one of the most beneficial acts you can do for our environment,” said Terrence Boyle, Friends of Reinstein Woods board president. “Native plants are an excellent choice for gardeners because the beauty of these flowers and shrubs enhance…

wild bergamot from Ken Parker

Gardening trend for 2019 in Western New York: native plants

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Expect to hear more about native plants in 2019. A new group called the Western New York Native Plants Collaborative wants you to use more native plants in your garden, and there are lots of reason why you’ll want to use them. The collaborative is working on an education campaign to get gardeners excited about native plants and to encourage growers and garden centers to offer more native plants. The WNY Native Plants Collaborative includes…

monarch on butterfly weed

Monarchs making a comeback in WNY; see more in the POLLINATOR

by Connie Oswald Stofko The bad news is that the number of monarch butterflies has been decreasing in the past 20 years. Monarchs may be given protection under the Endangered Species Act in 2019. The good news is that the number of monarchs in Western New York appears to be on the upswing. You can find out more in the very first issue of the POLLINATOR, a new publication produced by the Pollinator Conservation Association. To subscribe to the POLLINATOR for free,…