flowering dogwood

Trees with flowers, fruit & nuts offered in state, county sales

Find trees to fit your landscape in the annual seedling sales held by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and by local counties. Each sale has different offerings. In addition to tree seedlings, some counties offer shrubs, wildflower seeds, ferns and supplies for your plants. See details on the DEC sale here. See sales in these counties: Cattaraugus Chautauqua Erie Genesee Niagara Orleans (See page 5 of the newsletter.) Trees with flowers, fruit & nuts Here are…

tomato plants ripening inside in autumn

How to keep growing tomatoes on the vine after frost

by Connie Oswald Stofko There’s nothing like the taste of vine-ripened tomatoes, but frost will stop tomato production cold. There are ways to try to protect your plants from frost, but it can be difficult to accomplish. (See some tips here on how to prevent frost from damaging garden plants. So last year when Judy Clark of Hamburg excitedly told me, “It’s the end of November and I’m still getting fresh tomatoes,” you can bet that I wanted to know…

snowless garden and snowy garden

How to deal with warm-then-cold winter weather

by Connie Oswald Stofko We got snow in November, then it melted. In late December, the weather was surprisingly warm, with air temperatures reaching the high 50s. The grass looked so green! Then the temperatures hit lows in the teens. This past weekend we got socked with snow. One thing you can say for weather in Western New York– it’s not boring. Here are some things you can do to deal with these changes in winter weather. Protect your plants…

dandelions in lawn

Dandelions aren’t all bad, plus more tips from Master Gardeners

You may know that dandelion leaves can be eaten, but there are even more uses for this plant. The milky sap of a variety of dandelion can be used to make rubber, according to an article by Lyn Chimera in the most recent issue of WNY Gardening Matters. WNY Gardening Matters is produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Also in this issue: Learn about an invasive pest called the hemlock wooly adelgid, which can…

sticks in garden to keep rabbits and cats out

Tip to keep rabbits, cats out of your garden this winter

by Connie Oswald Stofko Do rabbits make nests in your garden? Do cats use your garden for a litterbox? Here is one tip to solve both problems. Make the space less appealing by breaking it up with sticks. In addition to sticks from a tree, you can recycle disposable chopsticks, Popsicle sticks, old plant tags and plastic forks and spoons. In my garden I have a metal spoon that was damaged when it fell into the garbage disposal. Don’t go…

sage and parsley in snow by Stofko

4 gardening tasks for early winter

by Connie Oswald Stofko In other years, the middle of November would be a time to think about how to prepare for winter. This year winter has already made its appearance and is taking its sweet time to give us a break. Here are some things you can do now, even if your yard is covered in snow. Harvest herbs Despite the snow, my sage and parsley are still going strong. (The leaves on the sage are a bit limp,…

witch-hazel flowers

Witch-hazel’s fragrant blooms add interest in autumn & winter

If you’re looking for a plant that blooms in your garden now, consider witch-hazel. American witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a native shrub that produces fragrant blooms in late fall and early winter, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The streamer-like flowers are just starting to appear at this time of year, following the annual loss of the shrub’s leaves. The yellow flowers typically last into December. Since witch-hazel is one of the few plants blooming now,…

wrapping paper

Before you buy wrapping paper, consider this: Can you compost it?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Those glossy wrapping papers are so pretty when they’re on a package, but what happens to the gift wrap after the package is opened? You might think that adding wrapping paper to your compost pile is a great way to use up the paper, but think again. Some wrapping paper can actually contaminate your compost with heavy metals– and that could affect your garden, too. Many kinds of gift wrap contain heavy metals such as lead,…

autumn leaves on grass

It’s leaf season! 9 tips for using autumn leaves in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko We enjoyed many weeks of beautiful autumn color in Western New York this year! Now it’s time for the leaves to fall. The bad news is that our recent strong winds brought down branches as well as leaves. I hope you didn’t sustain any damage. The good news is that the fallen leaves give us things to do in our landscapes at this time of year. And those leaves can be used in so many ways!…

Hosta 'Sum of All'

Three tips on overwintering perennials in containers

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s time to think about some simple steps to overwinter your plant. These tips should work with any kind of perennial that is winter hardy; that is, any perennial that would come back in spring if it was planted in a garden bed over the winter. Bonus tip: Before we get into that, let me say that I was impressed by this stunning hosta at the home of Marcia and David Sully in Eden. I’ve written…