Hidden ‘factory’ is what makes this garden gorgeous

  by Connie Oswald Stofko My photos, taken in harsh afternoon sunlight, don’t do justice to the landscape of Molly and Douglas Mailey, which I saw on the Hamburg Garden Walk in July. Molly has lush and colorful garden beds. Just by looking, you may be able to pick up on some of the techniques she uses to add beauty to her landscape. She has shady areas, and chooses her plants well to fit the lighting conditions. Her garden beds curve and are…

sunchokes in Western New York

Septembers are getting warmer in most of WNY; what gardeners can do

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you were still running your air conditioner on Friday, you won’t be surprised to hear that so far September was 6 degrees warmer than normal in Buffalo. That information comes from Dan Kelly, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo. While that data goes from Sept. 1 to the end of yesterday (Sept. 24), we are now in for a cooling period with more normal temperatures, he said. But we should probably expect this…

Mile-a-minute vine

Look out for mile-a-minute vine, called ‘kudzu of the north’

by Connie Oswald invStofko People are calling mile-a-minute vine “the kudzu of the north.” That’s scary because kudzu is known as “the vine that ate the south.” Mile-a-minute vine (Persicaria perfoliata) can grow as much as six inches per day and more than 20 feet per year. It has small, recurved barbs along its stem that allow it to grow over vegetation such as tree seedlings and smother them. It can have a negative effect on tree farms, forestry operations and the reforestation of natural areas. Mile-a-minute…

Asian Longhorned Beetle

Your help can protect our trees against Asian longhorned beetle

Now is the time of year to look for the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), an invasive beetle that could cause serious damage to New York State’s street trees and forests. Most infestations of forest pests are found by members of the public, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), so your help can make a difference. Good news: The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) has succeeded in eradicating the invasive beetle from Staten Island, Manhattan, Islip…

jumping worm Amynthas

New threat: jumping worms. Are they already in WNY?

  by Connie Oswald Stofko There’s a new threat to Western New York gardens: jumping worms. They’re bad for your garden, and they can really screw up the ecosystem of forests. Jumping worms (so named because they jump and thrash when handled) can change the consistency of soil, making it granular and grainy, like coffee grounds. That hinders the germination of plants, said  Andrea Locke, coordinator for Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) in Western New York. They can deplete the soil of…

monarch on milkweed

Butterfly gardens need more than nectar

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to attract adult butterflies to your garden, you can choose plants that provide nectar. But if you really want to help butterflies, provide plants that they need in other parts of their life cycle, too. That’s the suggestion of Douglas W. Tallamy, famed author of Bringing Nature Home, who spoke in Western New York in March. Butterflies don’t lay their eggs on any old plant, Tallamy said in Bringing Nature Home. They lay their eggs…

the Earth Machine Composter for sale in Erie County

Rain barrels, compost bins on sale in Erie County; order by May 25

A sale of rain barrels and compost bins is being held by the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, the City of Buffalo and the Western New York Stormwater Coalition. Prices are 50 percent off retail. The deadline to order is May 25. Quantities are limited. You have to pick up your items on June 7. The pick-up sites are in Buffalo and Tonawanda. See more details here.  This is the third year the organizations have held the sale. Some…

soil in garden

Why pH uses that weird scale & other great info from WNY Gardening Matters

Why is pH expressed with numbers on such a weird scale? Carol Ann Harlos, Master Gardener, answers that question and offers more useful information about pH in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Erie County Cornell Cooperative Extension.  The way we measure acidity has to do with the taste of beer, Harlos explains in her article. A slight change in acidity can result in a big change in the taste of beer, so…

canopy of trees

Place orders now for tree, shrub seedlings

You can place an order for tree and shrub seedlings in sales taking place 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. When you think of pollinators, you might think of planting flowers, but trees and shrubs are important, too, according to the NYS DEC. Trees and shrubs provide important food sources for bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects, which have declined over recent years….

shrubs in snow

Winter is a good time to assess your yard

There may not be much growing in your garden right now, but that’s why it’s a good time to take a look at your landscape. Now is when you can see the skeleton of your landscape, said Peggy Koppmann, Master Gardener, in the latest issue of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County. In the article “This Month in the Garden,” Koppmann suggests thinking about where you might put new shrubs. Winter…