deer eating in winter

My new talk ‘Oh, Deer!’ helps you protect your plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko One of the things that gets gardeners in Western New York riled up is deer. These hungry critters can wreak havoc in a garden. There’s no magic solution to keep deer from eating your plants, but there are things you can do that might help. Unfortunately, even if you find something to keep the deer away for awhile, the deer might get used to that deterrent. Then you have to try something else. The good news…

green tomatoes

How to ripen green tomatoes before frost or late blight damages them

by Connie Oswald Stofko I received this question from a reader, and it’s probably something that will help other gardeners, too. My tomatoes have just started to ripen. If I pick them totally green, before they get late blight, will they ripen in a bushel basket? Paula You can pick green tomatoes and get them to ripen with flavor and color similar to what you would have gotten if they were ripened in the field, according to this article from…

anemone September Charm In Amherst NY

Tips for creating a great autumn garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko As we move into autumn, how is your garden doing? Is it still interesting? If not, take steps now to have a better autumn garden next year. Get inspiration from some past articles: 4 big tips for creating a garden with year-round interest Create a beautiful autumn garden; see how Amherst gardener does it Look for ‘two-fers’ for your garden It’s autumn, and this Amherst garden is still blooming!…

mulch volcano around tree

Danger: mulch volcanoes kill trees!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Even if you’ve never heard of mulch volcanoes, you’ve seen them. They’re those neat, cone-shaped piles of mulch at the base of trees. They’re kind of pretty. But like a real volcano, a mulch volcano is dangerous — it can slowly kill your tree. Nobody seems to know how this trend started. The trend continues, I guess, because people copy their neighbors. And then the mulch volcanoes seem to be everywhere. If everybody is doing it,…

monarch on flower of butterfly bush

There is still time to plant perennials, & they are on sale!

by Connie Oswald Stofko No, it’s not too late to plant perennials! In general, you should plant perennials by the middle of September, said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses. You want to give the plant enough time to establish roots before the ground freezes. Depending on the winter, you might be able to plant later, but you should be safe if you get your perennials in by the middle of September. Now is a good time…

garden trellis from old swing frame

Old swing frame is repurposed as a trellis for cucumbers

by Connie Oswald Stofko Phyllis Lobbins, a Master Gardener from Cheektowaga, had a swing frame that might have gone out to trash, but she came up with a great use for it: She made it into a trellis for her cucumbers and squash. “I used regular garden twine because that was all I had on hand at the time,” Lobbins said, “but I would prefer using nylon string, or something that would not break down as quickly as twine. “I…

urn with plants at Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House

Bring the outdoors in: ideas from Wright’s Martin House

by Connie Oswald Stofko Bringing nature indoors was an aim of Frank Lloyd Wright, the famed architect who designed the Darwin Martin House in Buffalo. Wright wanted the Martin family to be able to enjoy nature even when they were inside. Rather than being an afterthought, the landscape was an integral part of the architectural design. That landscape, designed more than 100 years ago, has now been brought back to life. “We tried to re-create what had been here by…

lily pads protect fish in pond from heron

Protect fish in ponds from heron, plus final 2019 garden walk

by Connie Oswald Stofko The pond in the photo the may look overgrown, but all that foliage serves a purpose: It stops herons from eating fish in the pond. In this article, you can also find details on the last garden walk for 2019: the Black Squirrel Home and Garden Walk in Niagara Falls. Stop herons from eating your fish Marcia Panzarella shared her Camden Ave. landscape last week during the Northwest Buffalo Tour of Gardens. She has a pond,…

chives in flower in Amherst NY

Which herbs bolt, which herbs flower and why it makes a difference

by Connie Oswald Stofko What is bolting versus flowering? In both cases, the plant produces a flower. Flowering occurs as a natural part of the plant’s life and generally doesn’t affect the taste of leaves. Bolting occurs when a plant is stressed, often because the temperatures got too warm for that plant’s liking. The plant wants to reproduce before it dies, so it sends up a flower that will go to seed. Bolting diverts resources away from the leaves, which…

large vegetable garden on East Side of Buffalo

Tip on watering, plus this weekend’s garden walk

I got this great tip when I visited a garden on the East Side Garden Walk on July 20. Garden walk season isn’t over yet. There’s the Northwest Buffalo Tour of Gardens this weekend and the Black Squirrel Home and Garden Walk coming up on Aug. 10. Make sure you water the roots The vegetable garden at 261 Maple St. is huge and it takes two days to water, said David Lewis. Lewis maintains the garden for his relative, Cecil…