two bees on a flower

Good news for bees, plus more from Master Gardeners

Due to the much publicized and well researched problems caused by neonicotinoids, the Environmental Protection Agency has banned 12 pesticides because of the harmful effect neonicotinoids have on bees, according to “Good News for Bees and the Environment” by Lyn Chimera. Unlike traditional pesticides, “neonics” are systemic, meaning that when taken up by the root system, the entire plant becomes toxic to insects. That article is one of the three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by…

giant hogweed from NYS DEC

What to do if you spot giant hogweed in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko A reader from Eden contacted me last week because he had spotted giant hogweed and wanted to know how to report it. I’m so glad he remembered seeing information about giant hogweed previously on this site. This is a seriously dangerous plant. It can cause severe skin and eye irritation, including painful burns and permanent scarring. Getting even a tiny amount of the sap in your eyes can cause temporary or permanent blindness. See more here….

fly on daisy

Tips on gardening for pollinators

When we think of pollinators, we usually think of bees. But any animal that carries pollen from one plant to another as they collect nectar is a pollinator. This includes hummingbirds, bats, beetles and even flies. More than 75 percent of all flowering plants are pollinated by animals. Since this is National Pollinator Week, we’re sharing some gardening tips on how you can help pollinators. This information comes from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the…

reuse plastic container to protect garden plants

Can’t recycle those items anymore? Use them in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Now that we can’t recycle as many kinds of items as we did before, can we find ways to reuse them in our gardens? We already use lots of odds and ends in our gardens, but today let’s reach a little higher. Let’s look specifically at items that you can’t recycle anymore — items that get thrown in the trash and end up in a landfill. And let’s look at things that you were throwing into…

monarch caterpillar

If you want butterflies, garden for caterpillars

If you want butterflies to stick around your garden longer, it’s not enough to think about gardening for butterflies. You need to think about gardening for caterpillars, too, said David O’Donnell of Eastern Monarch Butterfly Farm. You can find his article and more in the Spring 2019 edition of the Pollinator magazine. It is published by the Pollinator Conservation Association, which is based in Western New York. Butterflies have a mission, O’Donnell explained. In addition to keeping themselves nourished by…

lone star tick

Watch out for scary new tick, plus update on lily beetle

Two invasive insects — one that can make you sick and another that damages your lilies— are discussed in this month’s WNY Gardening Matters. The publication is produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Lone star tick The lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) is a scary tick that is now in New York State, according to Lyn Chimera in this article. The bite of the lone star tick can trigger a very dangerous syndrome called…

North Tonawanda Botanical Garden shares tips on standing water & more

by Connie Oswald Stofko How can you deal with standing water in your yard? What can you plant to attract birds and butterflies? The North Tonawanda Botanical Garden Organization wants to share what they know about these topics and more. “Our ultimate focus is community education,” said Laura Pecoraro, secretary. The group, which became a nonprofit in July 2018, is in its fourth year of rehabilitating a long-neglected park. It’s located at 1825 Sweeney St., North Tonawanda, along the Tonawanda…

How to dispose of invasive or dangerous plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko In response to a previous article on lesser celandine, an invasive plant that can take over your yard, a reader left a comment with this question: What to do with the dug ups??? Same problem I have when removing poison ivy. Where can you put it that it doesn’t cause more problems? The best way to dispose of invasive plants or dangerous plants is to carefully place them in a plastic bag and set the bag…

lesser celandine in Amherst NY

Lesser celandine: Take steps now to get rid of it!

by Connie Oswald Stofko We have talked about lesser celandine for several years, yet I see more and more of it in my neighborhood. If you see this pretty little plant in your yard, get rid of it! And tell your neighbors to get rid of it, too. If you don’t get rid of when you have just a few plants, it can take over your yard. Plus, it can get into wild areas and create havoc there. Lesser celandine…

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…