Miscanthus 'Scout' waving in a breeze

Noninvasive varieties of maiden grass available now

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you like the looks of maiden grass, but were put off because it is labeled invasive, there is good news. Noninvasive varieties of Miscanthus sinensis or maiden grass are now available, said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. And if you’ve never heard of maiden grass, check these new varieties out. They look good now with attractive foliage, but they’re even better in autumn when they get spectacular, fluffy flowers….

ginseng class by Bob Beyfuss

Ginseng expert coming to WNY; get info now on how to grow this native plant

by Connie Oswald Stofko I always associated ginseng with Asia, but there is a variety, Panax quinquefolius, that is native to North America. Ginseng has been– and is still– widely used in herbal remedies. For years, when people wanted ginseng, they could just dig it up in forests. Unfortunately, over-harvesting has led to a decline in the wild population, so there are now regulations regarding wild ginseng. You can’t harvest from New York State land and you can’t harvest on private land without…

late blight on tomatoes

Late blight found in WNY; use fungicide before symptoms appear on tomatoes

by Connie Oswald Stofko Late blight is a devastating disease for tomatoes and potatoes, and the disease was confirmed yesterday in Chautauqua County. It will likely show up in the rest of Western New York soon, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Late blight is able to spread quickly, “especially if we get more rainy days like today,” he said. Late blight probably showed up first in Chautauqua County because the Southern Tier has…

lavender in Niagara Falls garden

Two tips on growing lavender in Western New York

  by M.L. Wells, Master Gardener Volunteer, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County When I gave visitors a tour of my gardens in July during the From the Earth event held by Allegany County Cornell Cooperative Extension, one visitor was amazed by my flourishing lavender plant. She asked, “Mine always dies, why does yours look so great?” As with most things, knowledge is power! To be a successful gardener you need to understand your plant’s needs, then apply a liberal amount…

'Fireworks' goldenrod

Why you should plant goldenrod, plus more tips from Master Gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not cause hay fever!” said Lyn Chimera, the author of “Goldenrod Gets a Bad Rap,” one of three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County. Although many gardeners think of goldenrod as a weed, it’s one of Chimera’s favorite garden plants.  It’s beautiful in the garden, it’s great as a cut flower and it provides food…

Ideal time to plant grass: mid-August to mid-September

  by Connie Oswald Stofko The best time to plant grass is from mid-August to mid-September, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. By the time the seeds sprout, the cooler, wetter autumn weather will be here and you won’t have to water as much. Don’t plant grass seed in late September or in October because the seed will sprout, but then die in cold winter temperatures. If you miss the late summer/early fall window…

mandala by Caroline North

Visit Nature’s Kaleidoscope & get inspired to make your own mandalas

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Mandalas go with gardening,” said artist Caroline North of Collins. “They’re centering and meditative–and that’s what plants do for us.” See her mandalas on display in the Nature’s Kaleidoscope exhibit through Sunday, Aug. 19 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. This event is proudly sponsored by Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com. See a short video of the exhibit here. The exhibit is included with Botanical Gardens admission. Admission is $11 for…

heirloom lettuce in Amherst NY

It’s time to plant your second vegetable garden of the year

by M.L. Wells, Master Gardener Volunteer of Allegany County Here it is, the early part of August. You’ve already planted your Garden 101; now it’s time to plant Garden 102. By now, the peas, lettuce, spinach, carrots, early green beans, broccoli and early potatoes are done in the garden. Don’t let the empty space go to waste, or worse yet, go to seed. Any vegetable that matures in 60-75 days will do well in late summer. The hardy ones will grow…

Deer eating your garden? See 20 plants deer hate

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you get discouraged when deer chomp away at your garden, know that growers and garden centers have the same problems. “Deer are a battle for us,” said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. In back of Mischler’s, there are fields filled with deer, eyeing the tasty plants set outside for sale. “I swear by the repellents,” Yadon said. “If I didn’t have repellents, we wouldn’t be in business.”…

flat spot and hole in petunia

Don’t create flat spots when you water containers

  by Connie Oswald Stofko When you have a mixed container of annuals that includes flowers such as petunias, the plants are supposed to be in a tall, rounded mound with no flat spots. If yours don’t look like that, you’re probably watering wrong, said Jen Weber, vice president and manager of Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca. To water prevent holes and flat spots, use a watering can and water slowly. If you have a spikey flower in the center…