Tomatoes & daffodils: when you can’t wait for spring

by Connie Oswald Stofko It seemed like we had winter and summer at the same time last week. There was plenty of snow at our house to make a snowman, and my husband participated while wearing shorts! In spite of that, it’s not spring yet– not even on the calendar! But here are a couple of topics for this time of the year when we can’t wait for spring. A trick to plant (some) seeds outside now Last week we…

seed packets from Botanical Interests

Start seeds now (or soon) for cool weather veggies in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can get a head start on gardening in Western New York by sowing seeds for cool weather vegetables such as onions, endive and cabbage. In this article, Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager of Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo, lays out the details on starting cool weather vegetables from seed. Some cool weather vegetables can be started inside now–or soon–depending on the last frost date in your area. Other seeds are sown directly…

container with perennials

Why you should plant perennials in containers, plus 4 tips

by Connie Oswald Stofko Marie and Jerry Wysocki of Hamburg, who shared their landscape on Open Gardens last year, are planting more and more perennials in containers. One reason is that you can save money, Marie said. The perennials can winter over in the container and bloom again the next year, so you don’t have to buy as many annuals. The container in the photo holds three perennials: a euonymus (not visible), a short salvia and a hosta. There are…

native groundnut

Guide from DEC offers ideas for plants for your water feature

Whether you already have a backyard pond or are just now starting to think about building a water garden, check out the Guide to Water Gardening in New York State from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. This guide includes visuals of some amazing recommended species and tips on avoiding harmful aquatic species. Here are some tips: Place your garden upland and away from waterbodies to prevent storms or flooding from washing away any plants or animals. Before planting,…

amaryllis flowers

Amaryllis: how to keep it blooming inside every year

by Connie Oswald Stofko Amaryllis seems to be the most popular flower on Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com. Maybe that’s because it has a very large and showy flower– and you can enjoy inside in the winter! Gardeners who received an amaryllis at Christmastime want to know how to keep it blooming year after year. My friend David Clark, international gardening expert, has provided most of the information about amaryllis on my site. Below are links to the articles that you will probably find…

planting around bird bath

Make your landscape more interesting with 360-degree views

  by Connie Oswald Stofko One of the things I noticed in the North Tonawanda yard of Nancy and Charles Bachman was that at every turn, the view was different. It was difficult to take just a single photo of an area because there were so many interesting angles. I visited the Bachmans’ yard on the North Tonawanda Garden Walk in 2020. The Bachmans have a large yard, but you can use ideas from their landscape even if your yard…

Start planning your spring garden now

by Connie Oswald Stofko What’s the next best thing to working in your garden? Planning for next year’s garden! Here are some suggestions on how to make your garden even better than it was this year. What didn’t work? Think about things that went wrong in your garden this past year. For example, maybe your plants limped along because they didn’t have enough water during our hot, dry summer. Make a plan to address it next year. Here are some…

daffodils in garden in spring

Daffodils sprouting in winter: What you should do

by Connie Oswald Stofko I got this question from a reader: I was wondering if there is anything I can do with the daffodil bulbs which are starting to sprout leaves out of the ground because of the mild weather. I am hoping that I don’t lose all of them by the time the cold and snow cover them. Michelle I checked with John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Here’s what he said: “This can…

bee covered in pollen on swamp milkweed

Support fireflies, plus 4 more reasons to get rid of some of your lawn

by Connie Oswald Stofko Attract fireflies, support pollinators, save yourself some work and have cleaner air. Those are some of the benefits you can reap when you get rid of some of your lawn. Support pollinators Pollinators include butterflies, insects, birds and other animals. To support them, turn a section of your lawn into a garden and include native plants. Native plants are better than non-natives in providing what native pollinators need: nectar, pollen and seeds, according to the New…