container garden in front yard

Not sure where to create garden bed? Try it out with containers

by Connie Oswald Stofko Our front lawn is big and open, so it used to be the place to play catch or soccer. Now that the kids are grown, I thought I’d use some of that space for growing plants other than grass. Since the front yard is a bit sunnier than the back, I especially wanted to try vegetables, which need some sun. The problem was that I wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted the new garden to be….

path to lovely vegetable garden in Lancaster

Gorgeous vegetable garden is focus of Lancaster landscape

  by Connie Oswald Stofko In the past, people would hide their vegetable gardens in a back corner of the yard. That’s changing, and more and more people boldly display their veggies in garden beds among their ornamental plants. One problem is that vegetables often need even more protection from critters than ornamental plants do. Jane Bednarczyk protects her vegetable plants, and she does it in a way that’s not only attractive, it’s a focal point of the yard. Bednarczyk…

rabbit in garden

More tips on managing deer, rabbits & other pests

by Connie Oswald Stofko We have already accumulated so many tips on keeping gardens safe from rabbits, deer and other pests that it surprises me to find that gardeners have found even more clever ways to deal with critters. Here are more tips that local gardeners have shared with me. Deer and rabbits Previously, we told you that placing dryer sheets in your garden could keep deer and rabbits away, but when the smell goes out of the dryer sheets,…

aphids on oxeye daisy

Winter bugs: how they get on indoor plants & what to do about it

by Steven Jakobi, Allegany County Master Gardener volunteer   One of the hardest things for me when the weather turns cold is to let go of my annuals. I mean, these are my babies. I started them from seed early in the spring, nurtured them throughout the summer, saw them flower and fruit and then, with the first hard frost, I have to see them perish. To prevent their demise, I bring as many of them as I can into the…

oak leaf with wilt

Now through February is time to prune oaks to protect against disease

Pruning oak trees now through the end of February can help protect the oaks from becoming infected with oak wilt, a fungal disease that can be deadly for oaks, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The disease is caused by the oak wilt fungus. One way oak wilt spreads is by the fungal spores hitching rides on insects. Sap beetles, one of the main culprits, are extremely attracted to fresh tree wounds. If you prune when the insects…

blood twig dogwood Midnight Fire

Look for ‘two-fers’ for your garden; hear more at PLANT WNY event

by Connie Oswald Stofko Home gardeners aren’t planting acres and acres of gardens anymore, so we have to get more out of the few plants we choose to include in our landscapes, Kerry Ann Mendez told me in a phone interview. The award-winning garden designer, author and lecturer noted that the two largest age groups in our country now are millennials and baby boomers, and both groups are choosing smaller spaces. Millennials are gravitating toward urban settings rather than sprawling suburbs, and…

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…

wrapping paper to compost

What wrapping paper can you compost and which will contaminate your soil?

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s so exciting to see beautifully wrapped gifts, but what happens to all of that wrapping paper once the gifts are opened? Can your compost it? You can compost some kinds of wrapping paper, but many kinds contain heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic that will contaminate your compost, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. “Those heavy metals don’t break down and could end up in your vegetable garden,”…

milkweed seeds

Weather garden: focus on wind, rain

by Stephen Vermette, Department of Geography & Planning, SUNY Buffalo State In a previous issue, I introduced you to a weather garden, which vividly demonstrates how sunlight, temperature, wind and rain affect plants in different ways. It does this through the choice of plants, as well as through fun and useful ornaments such as thermometers, wind vanes and rain gauges. That first article focused on sunlight. In the second article, I focused on temperature. Today we will look at the…

Indian pipe Monotropa Uniflora

Amazing plant has no chlorophyll; get more news from Master Gardeners

In this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, find out about a wild plant that grows without using photosynthesis. The Indian pipe Monotropa Uniflora is totally white because it lacks chlorophyll. It grows in dense, deeply shaded, wet and humus-rich forests. See the article to find out how it gets its nutrients. This issue also has tips on what gardeners can do this month, plus an introduction to kokedama, a type of bonsai grown in a ball of soil. WNY Gardening Matters…