red rose in early winter garden in Western New York

Five tips for your early winter garden in Western New York

  by Connie Oswald Stofko According to the calendar, we still have another month until the official start of winter, but I think gardeners will agree that winter has arrived in Western New York. Here are five tips for your early winter garden. Go outside and walk around in your garden While your garden probably doesn’t look as spectacular as is it did in July, you might find some lovely surprises, like the the red rose above that I spotted…

flower on Joe-Pye weed

Botany lesson & more in this month’s WNY Gardening Matters

  Get a quick botany lesson in this month’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Here are a few things you will learn in the article about the Asteraceae family: The plants in the Asteraceae family usually have composite flowers, anything from a few flowers to thousands of flowers grouped together to form a single flower head. The flower head (inflorescence) has a starlike form. That’s how the Asteraceae family got its…

container gardening on wheelchair ramp

You can do container gardening anywhere– even on a wheelchair ramp!

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Don’t have a big yard? You can do container gardening anywhere–even on a wheelchair ramp! Growing flowers or vegetables in pots is called container gardening. Container gardening counts as real gardening! I’ve seen it done in small spaces on balconies, decks and porches. I saw a clever example of container gardening done on a wheelchair ramp at the home of Dorothy Gambino during the Samuel Capen Garden Walk in July. Gambino chose the vegetables she wanted– tomatoes…

flowers on sunchoke in Amherst NY 2013

Plant sunchokes in pots; now is time to plant

by Connie Oswald Stofko I’ve been growing sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes) for several years now. These cool plants can grow 10 feet tall in one season. They get small yellow flowers. Not only that, you can eat the root! See more here. They’re very easy to grow– perhaps too easy. They spread a lot. Even if you try to harvest all of the tubers, it’s easy to miss a piece. The next year, you find you have sunchokes growing…

broom leaves on perennial bed in Western New York

How to mulch ground cover, plus 4 more tips for autumn leaves in WNY

  by Lyn Chimera of Lessons From Nature  Many people dread raking up autumn leaves, but you should look forward to it. Leaves are a free resource for your landscape, a bonus from nature. Don’t throw them away! Here are five tips on using autumn leaves in different parts of your landscape. Leaves on the lawn If there is a light covering of leaves on your lawn, you can mow right over them and leave the chopped-up leaves on the lawn. They…

bulbs of garlic in Buffalo

Six reasons why you should plant garlic– & you can do it now!

  by Connie Oswald Stofko I grow garlic– lots of it. And I recommend that you try growing garlic, too. Here are six reasons why you should grow garlic: Garlic is so easy to grow! You plant it, then you sit around for several months, then you harvest it. I haven’t been able to grow zucchini, but I can grow garlic. You have a wide window for planting. You can plant anywhere from August through November– even into December if…

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…