happy flower, sad flower

Why bad things happen to good plants, & more from Master Gardeners

If your plant dies, it may not be your fault. Learn “Why Bad Things Happen to Good Plants” by Carol Ann Harlos in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters. Your plant could be immune to pathogens in the environment. But what happens when those pathogens change? Read more here. Other articles in this issue are: “Joe Pye Weed Plants Are Not All the Same” by Lyn Chimera “Research Summary: Climate Change is Increasing Impacts from Forest Pests“ WNY Gardening…

red leaf with frost by Stofko

8 gardening tasks you can do in late autumn

by Connie Oswald Stofko Even though we got a taste of winter weather, it’s still autumn in Western New York. And there are still gardening things you can do! Bring in & store tender bulbs How should you care for bulbs of plants such as dahlias and canna lilies? Dig up the bulbs after the first killing frost, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. By now, most, if not all, of Western New York…

baskets on top of hosta plants

Tip to keep voles from damaging hostas

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here is a tip about voles from Kathy Guest Shadrack, board member and communication liaison with the Western New York Hosta Society. She has a problem with voles even though hawks, foxes and coyotes visit her gardens. In order to give her garden a fighting chance, she covers the crowns of her hostas with baskets she got from a dollar store. If the crown is really large, she chooses deer netting instead of a basket. She…

autumn leaves on trees

Quiz time: What do you know about gardening in WNY?

by Connie Oswald Stofko How much do you know about gardening in Western New York? Here’s a fun quiz that will allow you to test your knowledge. Some questions are easy, but one or two might trip you up. You can see the answers below along with a link for more information. 1. What can you do with autumn leaves? A. Put them in your compost B. Spread them around your perennials C. Start a new garden D. All of…

red door in garden

Garden decor of a single color creates cohesive look

by Connie Oswald Stofko Buffalo-style gardens are known for displaying quirky objects as garden art, such as a gumball machine or a giant bird cage. Put an elegant spin on that idea with a monochromatic theme. Choose one color for the decorations in a section of your landscape. Using objects of the same material, such as glass, can also make the space more cohesive. Here are some examples from this summer’s Open Gardens….

gardens and waterfall in Elma

Huge water feature & plenty of perennials highlight Open Garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Everywhere you turn, there’s a great view in the backyard of Jerry and Karen Dwigun in Elma. And Karen Dwigun has lots of tips to help you make the most of your landscape. The Dwiguns shared their landscape during Open Gardens in July. Find the right spot for a perennial Plants that are marked “shade” still need some sun, Dwigun said. If you put a plant in a spot and it’s not doing well, move it….

graphic for drought watch

7 WNY counties now on ‘drought watch;’ what it means to gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko Cattaraugus and Allegany counties were recently added to the list of counties on drought watch, joining these five counties already on the list: Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Orleans and Genesee. Wyoming County still has normal water conditions, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). A “watch” is the first of four levels of state drought advisories: “watch,” “warning,” “emergency” and “disaster.” See a map of current drought conditions here. Understanding drought watch A…

milk jug used to water plant

Clever tip to make sure your plant gets enough water at the roots

by Connie Oswald Stofko We haven’t had much rain lately, so if you have new trees, shrubs or perennials, continue watering them to make sure they have a strong root system before the ground freezes. Sprinkling water on top of the soil every day doesn’t help. The water has to get all the way down to the roots. Here’s an easy way to water deeply. This tip is from Kat in Amherst: To water new or expensive plants I use…

raised garden beds keep out deer

How to have a productive garden when you’ve got deer & kids

by Connie Oswald Stofko When Lindsay and Timothy Dzielski had their garden in the backyard, the deer ate everything. The groundhog and squirrels got a share, too. The garden also competed for space with all of the kids’ toys. So in March, when things suddenly closed down because of the pandemic, they tried something new. They built raised beds in a dead space along their driveway. “This is how you enjoy gardening while you enjoy wildlife,” Timothy said. “People never…