Why hide your gardens? Amherst gardener has seven in front yard

by Connie Oswald Stofko Jim Bardot used to relegate gardening to his backyard until he realized: “I’m the only one who sees it. What’s the fun of that?” Now his gardens—seven of them—are displayed in his large front yard for the world to enjoy. “Why hide it?” said Bardot, who lives on busy French Road in Amherst. “It’s a thrill when somebody stops because they see me out there. One person said, ‘Thank you. For years I’ve been watching it…

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…

waterfall view from island planting

A look back at the year in gardening in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s time for me to take a short break over the holidays. Since this is the last edition of Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com for 2021, let’s take a look back at the year in gardening. The pandemic was in the background of everything we did this year. At the beginning of the year, some events were canceled, such as garden club meetings and Plantasia, the premier garden show in Western New York. (We are optimistically looking forward to Plantasia…

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…

seating area with grape vines in Kenmore NY

Broken fence became wall for charming outdoor room

by Connie Oswald Stofko A wooden fence used to separate this backyard from a parking lot. Unfortunately, plows clearing the lot shoved snow against the fence, and the snow won. Matt and Tashia Tribo of Kenmore replaced the collapsed fence with a cinder block wall and coated it with a veneer of stucco. The wall, which is as beautiful as it is functional, is part of a charming outdoor room. The Tribos’ garage and their neighbors’ garage act as the…

harvesting sage in early winter

Don’t desert your garden yet! Tasks for early winter weather in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko I wasn’t sure whether to use “early winter” or “late autumn” in the headline. Technically, winter doesn’t start until Dec. 21. Yet we have already gotten snow and more is in the forecast, so I went with winter. Then again, the snow keeps melting, and many of us still have leaves on the trees. Maybe we should call this season “wintumn.” Whatever you call it, there are still tasks you can do in your garden. Harvest…

center garden in autumn in Pendleton NY

Want a great autumn garden in WNY? Get inspiration here

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can have a lovely garden in all seasons of the year. To find out how it’s done, I visited Tom and Darcie Homme in Pendleton. I showed you their gardens in winter, in spring, in summer and now in autumn. Of course, what you see in these articles are just moments in the life of the gardens. The plants change continuously throughout the seasons. That seemed especially true in this season. In September I posted…

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…