mint tea in cup with sprig of mint copyright Connie Oswald Stofko

Make herbal tea from a variety of plants in Western New York

by Lyn Chimera, owner of Lessons from Nature After a busy day, sitting down with a good cup of herbal tea from the garden is one of the joys of my life. I started growing a few mints and was hooked on the amazing taste of fresh mint tea. The freshness makes a huge difference. Every year my first cup of fresh tea is a cause for celebration. Technically, herbal teas are not teas. Tea comes from the tea plant…

Banana plants add height & drama; now on sale at Mischler’s

by Connie Oswald Stofko A tall plant with huge leaves can become the focal point in your yard, and banana plants fit that bill. You can find them now –and on sale–at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. They include: They come in 6.5-inch pots. They were $19.99 each and are now on sale for $9.99. In addition, any plant in a 6.5-inch pot is now on sale at Mischler’s for $9.99. The sale continues while supplies…

illustration representing virus

New virus is striking tomatoes & peppers; see more

A virus new to the United States is striking tomatoes and peppers, according to this article by Beth Mattimore in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) is spread by tomato seeds. There are no current treatments or sprays that will cure infected plants. Tomato production worldwide is threatened. The virus has been seen in other parts of the world since 2015….

Japanese beetles on damaged leaf

Japanese beetles in WNY: what to do

by Connie Oswald Stofko I got this message from a reader: Is there an invasion of Japanese beetles? They are cleaning out all the leaves of my grapes and are now into the veggie garden, mainly on the climbing beans. Is this a bad year or am I one of the lucky ones? The beetle trap bag is pretty full. Thanks…Larry Larry, thanks for bringing up this topic. I guess you’re one of the “lucky” gardeners to have Japanese beetles…

hellstrip with blooming native plants by Ellen Moomaw in East Aurora NY

More garden walks this weekend–three have night events!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Western New York again has a bushel of garden walks on the weekend, plus Open Gardens on Thursday and Friday. Three of the garden walks–Lockport, City of Tonawanda and Capen– have nighttime walks. One of the walks you can see this weekend is the East Aurora Garden Walk. At the home of Ellen Moomaw, you’ll be greeted with a lush garden in the hellstrip (the area between the sidewalk and the road). Many of the plants…

Asian longhorned beetle in pool

Asian longhorned beetle: Not in WNY yet, or is it?

As far as we know, the Asian longhorned beetle has been found only in the New York City area, but never in Western New York. Still, we want to keep a lookout for this invasive insect that attacks and kills maples, birches, willows, and other hardwood trees. The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) is active now through Labor Day, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Pool owners are asked to regularly check their pool filters and report…

bee on swamp milkweed flower

News from Master Gardeners: soil blocks, swamp milkweed & more

Check out these two publications from Master Gardeners in Western New York–they’re full of great information. Learn about soil blocks in the newest edition of The Optimistic Gardener, produced by the Master Gardeners in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. You don’t need containers for seedlings when you have soil blocks, according to Mark Messinger, Master Gardener apprentice. “You can see the roots fill out the blockscompletely, and instead of swirling around and tangling themselves, each root just stopswhen it hits the…

flowers on easel during Snyder-CleveHill Garden Walk in Amherst and Cheektowaga NY

Bumper crop of garden walks in WNY this weekend; Open Gardens start, too

by Connie Oswald Stofko Open Gardens start this Thursday and Friday, and six garden walks will be held this weekend. Tip: When you visit these gardens, take note of things that interest you, such as the flowers flowing out of the picture frame in the photo here. See it in the garden of Courtney Gorman, who will share her landscape on the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View. “One of my best friends, Sandy Hoffman, made this easel for me out of scrap…

nymph of spotted lanternfly on person's fingernail

Spotted lanternfly in WNY: what you need to know

by Connie Oswald Stofko I saw a post on social media today from a gardener at the West Seneca-South Buffalo border who said she saw two adult spotted lanternflies. However, at this time of year, Western New York probably has nymphs, an earlier stage of the spotted lanterfly, rather than adults, said Brian Eshenaur, Senior Extension Associate with Cornell University and the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program. We probably won’t see adults in Western New York until early August….

bee on ironweed flower

Help the pollinators so they can help your plants in Western New York

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County’s Master Gardener Program is celebrating National Pollinator month by sharing information and resources to help create a garden for your favorite pollinators. by Shannon Rinow, Master Gardener Coordinator, Chautauqua County Butterflies and honeybees may come to mind when you think of pollinators, but pollinators also include wild native bees (there are 450 native species of bees in New York State), beetles, moths, bats, wasps, birds, specialized flies and other beneficial insects. They all play an important…