brown marmorated stink bug in Western New York

Did you experience invasion of brown marmorated stinkbugs?

  by Connie Oswald Stofko When the weather was hot last week, you might have been one of the many Western New York gardeners who experienced what seemed to be an invasion of brown marmorated stink bugs. The bugs hung outside on window screens, trying to get into the house. And when they did get into the house, they crawled up walls and curtains, looking for a place to settle down for the winter. My husband and I killed two…

compost makes garden beds beautiful Hamburg NY

Hidden ‘factory’ is what makes this garden gorgeous

  by Connie Oswald Stofko My photos, taken in harsh afternoon sunlight, don’t do justice to the landscape of Molly and Douglas Mailey, which I saw on the Hamburg Garden Walk in July. Molly has lush and colorful garden beds. Just by looking, you may be able to pick up on some of the techniques she uses to add beauty to her landscape. She has shady areas, and chooses her plants well to fit the lighting conditions. Her garden beds curve and are…

pumpkin turning orange in Amherst NY

History & uses of pumpkin, plus more gardening tips

Pumpkins have become part of our autumn decorations, but don’t forget that you can use them as food, too. In this month’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Erie County Cornell Cooperative Extension, the article “Let’s Celebrate Pumpkins” gives you ideas on how to use pumpkins. It also shares a history of pumpkins. In the article “This Month in the Garden,” get great suggestions and reminders for October gardening tasks. In “Fall Webworm,” find out about this…

lush gardens and paths in West Seneca NY backyard

Paths can make your garden more beautiful & easier to use

by Connie Oswald Stofko When we think about our gardens, we usually think about plants, plants and more plants. But if you want a beautiful garden, think about paths. Garden paths can get you from one spot in your yard to another without getting muddy feet, but they can do so much more. In a large yard, paths can divide the wide-open spaces into smaller, welcoming areas. In any garden, paths can define your landscape and add focal points. They…

composting poster 2018

Compost poster contest seeks entries by Nov. 5; prize is $500

The International Compost Awareness Week Committee is offering a prize of $500 to the winner of the poster contest promoting International Compost Awareness Week, which will be held May 5 -11, 2019. The theme for the poster will be “Cool the Climate – Compost!” The contest is open to anyone from ten years old to adult. There are three contest divisions: grades 3-7, grades 8-12, and college – adult. The best from each division will be entered into the final contest. The…

sunchokes in Western New York

Septembers are getting warmer in most of WNY; what gardeners can do

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you were still running your air conditioner on Friday, you won’t be surprised to hear that so far September was 6 degrees warmer than normal in Buffalo. That information comes from Dan Kelly, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo. While that data goes from Sept. 1 to the end of yesterday (Sept. 24), we are now in for a cooling period with more normal temperatures, he said. But we should probably expect this…

toad lily in Amherst NY

Create a beautiful autumn garden; see how Amherst gardener does it

  by Connie Oswald Stofko The many trees and shrubs in Connie Krueger’s backyard filtered the blazing afternoon sun. It was relaxing to be sheltered from the heat while being able to enjoy the colorful plants in both sunny and shady areas. And guess what? It was already after Labor Day! While your garden might peak in July, you can still enjoy your garden in autumn. Krueger shared her landscape during Open Gardens this summer, and her yard is still lovely…

New England asters

Why you should use native asters, plus more Master Gardener tips

Native asters are easy to grow, they bloom in autumn and they help butterflies. Read more about why you should use native asters in your garden in this article in September’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Scroll down farther in that article to read about the weed orchid or Epipactus helleborine, an invasive plant that can pop up in your garden. It has even been known to push up through…

houseplants in Amherst NY

Get rid of bugs before you bring plants indoors for winter

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a question I got from a reader: Hi Connie, I was wondering if you had any suggestions about debugging houseplants that were outside for the summer, before bringing them back inside the house. I have a few plants to bring indoors and noticed little red spiders crawling around. I’m reluctant to have them back in my house. So, are there any “natural” sprays?  Should I just “ditch” them?  Any suggestions would be appreciated. Btw,…

large fungus in lawn in Amherst

Why are there mushrooms in my lawn & what should I do about them?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s an email I got recently from a reader: Hi Connie, Would you be so kind as to post this question for me?  I thought we were lacking rain so why do I have these HUGE mushrooms growing in my front lawn that gets lots of sun?   This is only my 2nd summer in WNY and I am confused!   Thanks a bunch o’ coreopsis, Pam Anderson Lewiston Sometimes I ask readers to share tips…