Arbor Day poster by student in Grand Island

Arbor Day tree tips, tours & a local poster winner

Trees are so important to our environment that they have their own day– Arbor Day, which falls on this Friday, April 27. How to choose, plant and care for a tree Consider planting a tree on your own property. Do it now; the best time to plant a tree is late winter or early spring before the buds open, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). If you can’t work that quickly, consider waiting until autumn. Trees…

healthy seedling and seedling with damping off

Do your seedlings droop & die? How to prevent damping off

  by Steven Jakobi, Master Gardener Volunteer, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County After a winter of planning, preparation and expense, few things are more disappointing for the gardener than the failure of seeds to send shoots up from the soil, or watching seedlings emerge, but then suddenly wilt and die. Unfortunately, these situations are fairly common in the field or in the greenhouse under certain conditions. The death of young plants is caused by a group of soil-borne fungi,…

Call 811 to dig safely; enter to win bench/tree combo

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Before you dig up an area for a new garden or plant a tree or dig holes for a fence, you should call 811 or use the online Single Address Ticket. When you make your request, your local utilities come out– for free– and flag where their lines are so you don’t accidentally hit them with your shovel or rototiller. You’d be pretty embarrassed if the whole neighborhood lost its cable because you cut the line. And if…

delphinium Magic Fountain Mix

‘Perennial’ doesn’t mean ‘live forever’; expect to replant some perennials

  by Connie Oswald Stofko “‘Perennial’ doesn’t mean ‘live forever,’ said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses. “Granted, they may come back, but some perennials are short lived and might not last more than three or four years.” It’s best to plant those varieties every two or three years to make sure they don’t die out completely. (All you people who tell me you can’t garden because you don’t have a green thumb: If a perennial died, it…

tree still has leaves in spring

Will tree that didn’t drop its leaves in winter survive?

by Connie Oswald Stofko I was chatting with one of my subscribers at Plantasia and she mentioned that she has seen trees– Japanese maples as well as other trees– that didn’t lose their leaves over the winter. The leaves are brown, but still attached. “I’m scared because the trees don’t have buds yet,” she said. I noticed the same thing in my neighborhood, so I talked to John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Don’t worry,…

plant sprout in spring by Stofko in Amherst

Early bird may get only muddy boots– don’t rush your garden

With all this cold, snowy weather, it seems like spring will never get here. Don’t worry; milder temperatures are on their way. But don’t rush into your garden at the first whiff of warm weather. “Be patient, take your time, and take time for your garden to get ready for you,” said Peggy Koppmann in “This Month in the Garden,” one of the three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters. “Remember, the early bird may get nothing more than…

plastic bottle protecting sprout

Tips on deer, composting & more for Western New York

  by Connie Oswald Stofko I am fortunate that so many Western New Yorkers share gardening tips with me. People often share tips with me after I give a talk. Unfortunately, I am so busy scribbling down notes about the tips themselves that I don’t always get the name of the person who shared the tip. My apologies. Today I’ll share a few of the tips I’ve accumulated. If you have a tip that worked for you, you can share…

large garden around tree in Grand Island NY

After years of adding gardens, couple finds it’s OK to cut back

  by Connie Oswald Stofko After about 20 years of adding trees and garden beds to their Grand Island landscape, Pat and Gary Scott are slowing down and even reducing the size of some beds. “We have to tone it down a little because it’s a lot of work,” Pat said. “If the gardens get too big, it’s overwhelming.” I visited the Scotts on last year’s Grand Island Garden Walk. This year the Grand Island Garden Walk will be held from 10…

orchid dyed blue

Don’t be misled by gardening myths; learn more at Plantasia

by Connie Oswald Stofko “I finally got fed up with the baloney I saw on the Internet,” said Carolyn Stanko, associate professor of horticulture and biology at Niagara County Community College and a senior CNLP. She’d see posts of bogus gardening information, but other readers would think it was true and share it. “I finally had to stand up and preach the truth!” she said. She will help you separate gardening fact from fiction when she presents “Garden Myth Busting –…

orange butterfly plant and anise hyssop

What to plant for monarchs; learn more at GROW Jamestown Garden Fair

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you’re over 40, you probably remember seeing lots of monarch butterflies when you were a kid. Maybe you even saw the caterpillar form its amazing chrysalis, then emerge as a butterfly. But if you’re younger, you may not have had that experience, said Betsy Burgeson, supervisor of Gardens and Landscapes at the Chautauqua Institution. The number of monarchs has been declining for years, but Burgeson will tell you how you can help increase their numbers by hand-raising monarchs….