lilacs in Amherst NY

Don’t wait to prune early-blooming shrubs

The time to prune shrubs that bloom before the middle of June is right after they flower, according to an article in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. If you wait too long and prune them after they have set next year’s buds, you will lose the flower production next year. Early-blooming shrubs that you shouldn’t wait to prune include lilac, deutzia, kerria, Philadelphus, forsythia, viburnum, St. John’s…

hose slowly watering plant

Rainfall has been below normal in WNY, so keep watering

  by Connie Oswald Stofko In the past few weeks, I’ve seen clouds, heard thunder and even felt a few drops of rain in my Amherst garden. (I think I counted a total of 13 drops.) It’s not unusual to have a dry spell like this, but you need to remember to keep watering your garden. At the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga, they measured just .11 inch of rain since May 23, said meteorologist David Thomas. (I didn’t…

video showing water features in Tonawanda

Waterfalls & Butterflies: video of a garden on Ken-Ton Garden Tour

by Connie Oswald Stofko Today you can see a short video that gives you a glimpse of the beautiful pond and gardens of Ron and Sandy Baty. If you are inspired by what you see and want to install a pond in your yard, Ron suggests joining the Niagara Frontier Koi and Pond Club. The members are happy to share their knowledge. The Batys shared their landscape on both the daytime and nighttime portions of the Ken-Ton Garden Tour last year….

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…

maple seeds on tree with few leaves

Are you getting a bumper crop of maple seeds?

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Maple trees in my neighborhood are heavy with seeds, and some trees have few leaves. “These things happen in cycles,” said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. No one knows why it happens; it may follow a period of stress for the tree, he said. But since no one knows what conditions produce a bumper crop of seeds, there’s no way to predict when it will happen. What gardeners may…

rows of plants for sale

Weather looks warm enough for planting; get 4 spring planting tips

by Connie Oswald Stofko After a cold April, it finally feels like spring, and conditions look good for planting in Western New York. While frost can’t be ruled out completely, the chance of frost is “very, very small,” said Jim Mitchell, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo. Even the deeper valleys in Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties should be fine because the rivers keep them warm at night. But besides frost, gardeners also have to be concerned about…

Tomato CherokeePurple courtesy Burpee Home Gardens

What tomatoes taste the best?

  by Connie Oswald Stofko When I asked Jen Weber, retail manager at Mike Weber Greenhouses, for recommendations on the best-tasting tomatoes, I expected her to deliberate for awhile. I was surprised when she answered immediately. “Oh, that’s easy,” Weber said. “‘Cherokee Purple’, and for a red tomato, ‘Glamour’.” Those are both heirloom tomatoes. When I asked her for the best-tasting hybrid tomato, that question proved more difficult. “I don’t have a preference,” she said. “To me, they all taste the…

ginkgo 'Snow Cloud'

Botanical Gardens to hold Great Plant Sale; buy ginkgo trees

Ginkgo trees will be one of the new items to be offered at the Great Plant Sale to be held Thursday through Saturday, May 17-19 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. Ginkgos are hardy plants that are used as street trees, said Kristin Pochopin, director of horticulture. Some people may be wary of ginkgo trees because the fruit is stinky and messy, but these trees are at low risk for fruiting. “These are low…

pest and weeds in spring

6 pests & weeds to watch out for during spring in WNY

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Now is the time that certain troublesome insects and weeds can show up in your garden, and now is the time to take action. Today we’ll talk about six insects and weeds to watch out for in spring: red lily leaf beetle, ticks, mosquitoes, lesser celandine, creeping Charlie and crabgrass. Red lily leaf beetle Calls have started coming in from gardeners who have spotted the red lily leaf beetle, so it’s time to look closely…

trailing African violet 'Cirelda'

International African violet convention to be held in Buffalo; you can attend

by Connie Oswald Stofko People from across the United States, Canada and the world will come to Buffalo this month for the annual convention of the African Violet Society of America (AVSA), a a joint effort with the African Violet Society of Canada (AVSC). “I’ve even had people from Ukraine and Armenia contact me about how to get visas to come here,” said Judy Niemira, local co-chair for the convention and current president of the African Violet and Gesneriad Society of Western New…