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…

earthworm compared to jumping worm

You might have jumping worms; they act differently in autumn

One of the identifying characteristics of the invasive Asian jumping worm is that it jumps around– but not in autumn. These worms get sluggish in autumn, so if you come across worms that don’t thrash around, don’t assume they’re earth worms, says Lyn Chimera in this article in the latest edition of WNY Gardening Matters. It’s important to be able to identify these worms because they can damage your gardens. If their eggs are in your soil and you share…

Canadian anemone

Periwinkle is invasive; see 5 better alternatives for Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko I have enjoyed periwinkle in my garden, but it’s time to consider some alternatives. Periwinkle or Vinca minor is used as an ornamental groundcover. The leaves are glossy and the purple flowers are a delight. Here’s the problem: This invasive plant can easily spread outside of our gardens. It invades natural spaces, gets established and pushes out the native plants. It offers nothing to insects, birds and other animals. When it comes to control, periwinkle or…

poster for video Uninvited: The Spread of Invasives Species

Dogs, drones & more: Video on dealing with invasive species in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Yes, invasives species are causing problems for us in our everyday lives. And more invasive species will probably arrive in Western New York. But there are things we can do. That’s the upbeat message of the video Uninvited: The Spread of Invasive Species, produced by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation with West Field Production Co. Invasive species we have been dealing with in Western New York, such as the emerald ash borer that…

bat illustration

Bat update: hopeful news for one species, work continues

by Connie Oswald Stofko Bat populations have suffered devasting declines for more than a decade, with a disease called white-nose syndrome playing a role. There still isn’t a treatment for bats suffering from white-nose syndrome, though a collaborative effort is working on it. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Department of Health are partnering with researchers from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, and experts at universities across the country….

photos representing clean water, healthful environment and clean air

Gardeners: Vote for your right to clean water, clean air, healthful environment

by Connie Oswald Stofko In our upcoming election, you can vote on whether you want to add this simple sentence to the New York State Bill of Rights: “Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.” If Proposal #2 is passed in our upcoming election, it would put these rights in front of every decision the government makes, according to Vote YES for Clean Air and Water. Decision-makers would be obligated to minimize pollution and environmental…

dunes with native grass on Lake Ontario courtesy Roy Widrig

Use native plants along shores of Lakes Erie & Ontario– see new guide

Private property owners as well as municipalities can use a new guide to select plants to revitalize the shorelines of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Working With Nature: A Guide to Native Plants for New York’s Great Lakes Shorelines was recently released by New York Sea Grant, part of a nationwide network of 34 university-based programs working with coastal communities through the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The guide offers nature-based alternatives to traditional “gray” or hard structures such as rock rip-rap (rocky material placed along…