bumble bee on Joe Pye weed in Amherst New York

Some native pollinators could become extinct in NYS; you can help

by Connie Oswald Stofko More than one-third of native pollinators in a recent survey are at risk of becoming extinct in New York State. “It is a sobering finding,” said Erin White, zoologist and project coordinator with New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP). The recently released Empire State Native Pollinator Survey 2017-2021 confirms concerns about the health of some pollinator populations in New York State, but there are things we gardeners can do to turn things around. Some findings about…

daffodils in Amherst NY

Why you shouldn’t plant spring bulbs too early in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko “While the big box stores have bulbs available before Labor Day, bulbs should not be planted before the beginning of October,” said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager at Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market. “Our bulb suppliers won’t send them till the end of September. We usually have them in stock by the first week in October.” Autumn is the time to plant bulbs that flower in spring, but planting them too early could damage or even kill them. When…

arbor with kiwi tree in East Buffalo NY

See quirky, innovative farms on Urban Farm Day

by Connie Oswald Stofko Cheryl Harris of Buffalo was surprised when she was asked to share her large backyard on Urban Farm Day. She doesn’t view it as a farm, even though it’s a large space that grows plants in the city. But what else describes an urban farm in Western New York? Like our gardening, our urban farms are innovative, unusual and quirky. One lets you pick your own worms. Another grows microgreens inside. Still another supplies a pay-as-you-can…

box tree moth

Update on box tree moth & more from WNY Gardening Matters

The box tree moth (BTM) was discovered in traps in Niagara County in July 2021, so everyone in Western New York has to be on the look out, said Lyn Chimera in the article Box Tree Moth: A New Invasive to Watch For. That article is part of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. The BTM damages boxwood as well as euonymus and holly (Ilex species). The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)…

pruning hemp closeup courtesy NCCC

Cannabis for WNY gardeners: increasing interest, college courses available

by Connie Oswald Stofko Perhaps as soon as January, patients with a medical card can legally grow cannabis at home in Western New York, and in about two years, home gardeners will also be able to legally grow cannabis. “There’s increasing interest in growing cannabis at home,” said Carolyn Stanko, professor and co-coordinator in the Horticulture Program and coordinator in Biology at Niagara County Community College (NCCC). NCCC is the lead institution for a $1 million grant from New York…

colorful perennials at Mischler's Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville

Reminder: Still time to plant perennials, some in bloom now!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Gardening season in Western New York is longer than many people think–it doesn’t start and end on Memorial Day weekend. There’s still time to plant perennials, including ones that are blooming now. And you can freshen up your garden with summer annuals as well as autumn annuals. And some of these plants may be on sale! Planting perennials in late summer You can safely plant perennials now through mid-September, said Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s Florist…

daisy fleabane in Amherst NY backyard

Weed or volunteer in your WNY garden: daisy fleabane

by Connie Oswald Stofko Sometimes we get plants that just show up in our gardens. If we want to keep those plants, we call them volunteers. If we don’t want those plants in our garden, they’re weeds. An interesting plant arrived in one of my garden beds this spring. I didn’t know what it was and wasn’t sure whether it was going to be a volunteer or a weed. It grew about five feet tall and got pretty little daisy-like…

leaves with beech leaf disease

Beech leaf disease found in all of Western New York; report affected trees

Beech leaf disease (BLD), which affects all species of beech trees, has been identified in in all eight counties of Western New York. DEC is asking the public to submit reports through NYimapInvasives if they encounter a beech tree showing signs of BLD. The main symptom to look for on beech foliage is darkened striping between the veins, which is best seen when looking up through the canopy. Leaves with severe symptoms can be heavily banded and crinkled, with a thickened leathery…

greenhouse whiteflies on leaf

Whiteflies in your WNY garden? Don’t worry

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a message I got from a reader: Hi Connie, Would you consider adding the tiny whitefly infestation and organic solutions to rid garden of them in your next newsletter? In the garden, they are everywhere, likely thirsty! Wishing for rain tonight! Thank you, Brigitte Wagner-Ott, Eggertsville I didn’t even know what whiteflies were, and since Wagner-Ott lives down the street from me, I figured I should find out more. She saw something online, but wanted information…

amaryllis blooming inside in Amherst NY

Reminder for WNY: Bring amaryllis inside soon so it blooms at Christmas

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to force your amaryllis to bloom inside around Christmas, bring it inside around the middle of August. That’s the advice from David Clark, CNLP, who teaches the horticulture classes at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. See our previous article here to find out about the timing for amaryllis. Find out more about growing amaryllis here….