straw flower in Amherst NY

Stretch the season with frost-tolerant annuals

by Connie Oswald Stofko We’ve had a frost, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon flower gardening for the year. You can stretch the season well into November with frost-tolerant annuals. While many people are familiar with mums and pansies, there are many more choices, such as the straw flower, seen here. “Many people have them as annuals during the summertime, but they don’t realize the straw flower is frost tolerant,” said Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s Florist…

look inside bee hive in Buffalo NY

Get a look inside a bee hive in Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to make sure your garden has pollinators, you might want to try beekeeping, as we discussed in a previous post. Today we peek inside to see how a bee hive is constructed.  Building a hive would be a good winter project, or you can purchase a hive. Philip Barr, who presented a workshop on beekeeping for Buffalo ReUse, builds what are called Langstroth hives, seen below right. The hive is named for its…

garlic in Buffalo area

Get ready to plant garlic, and try different varieties

by Connie Oswald Stofko Garlic is a must-have for the kitchen, and it grows well in Western New York. What you might not know is that it comes in an amazing range of flavors, said Tom Szulist. He and his wife Vivianne Singer Szulist own Singer Farm Naturals, which specializes in growing organic gourmet garlic. “Spanish Roja is the king of all garlics,” Szulist said, pointing to some of the garlic he has harvested on the farm in Appleton, which…

waterfall in Youngstown NY

Youngstown garden is influenced by Philippines

by Connie Oswald Stofko “As you can tell, I like the ripple of water,” said Jaime Pabilonia. He and his wife Linda have many water features in the gardens of  “Waterscape,” their Youngstown home. “I was born in a place with a waterfall,” said Jaime , who is originally from the Philippines. When he moved from the Philippines, he chose to settle in Niagara Falls because the falls is one of the natural wonders of the world. Jaime and Linda,…

beekeeping in Buffalo

Get pollinators for your garden by keeping bees

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to make sure there are plenty of honey bees around to pollinate your garden, consider beekeeping. Philip Barr recently presented a workshop on beekeeping for Buffalo ReUse. “I got into beekeeping because I wanted more vegetables,” he said. Bees are important pollinators, but a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder has reduced the number of honey bees. No one knows why this is happening, but Barr thinks traditional beekeeping practices might be overtaxing bees…

glacier winter hardy ivy on display in Buffalo

Take a peek at some of the 400 varieties of ivy on display in Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a peek at some of the approximately 400 varieties of ivy that you can see during the Victorian Week and Ivy Show that is running until this Sunday, Oct. 3 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The show is brought to you in part by the Western New York Ivy Society. The Botanical Gardens houses the largest public ivy collection in…

caryopteris wide angle

Mums are nice, but think outside the box for autumn color in your garden

Adventures in Organic Gardening By Laura Sileo-Lepkyj Mums are everywhere now. Heck, you can even buy them at gas stations. I’ve got fifteen dollars on pump number three, this Slim Jim, and oh, a burgundy cushion mum, please. While I do love mums’ bushy blooms and their pungent smell, I have other plant friends that bring a different look to my garden. Rest assured they require only loving neglect, as I’ve talked about in previous columns. Caryopteris “Sunshine Blue,” seen…

ivy arch in Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens

Beautiful and versatile, ivy gets its own exhibit at Botanical Gardens in Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you think ivy is boring, you don’t know ivy. Consider: Ivy can be grown indoors and outdoors. It can be sculpted into topiaries small enough to fit on a tabletop, or grown into huge swags that drape across an entire room. Ivy is lovely by itself in a pot, but it can also be used in window boxes and flower arrangements. An ivy plant can live 100 years or longer. An adult ivy becomes a…

Brad and Scott from Buffalo ReUse with cold frame

Make a cold frame to extend growing season

by Connie Oswald Stofko A cold frame is a terrific way to extend the gardening season. These can be used like  mini-greenhouses during the autumn in raised beds to keep lettuce or spinach growing, and in the  spring to keep tender tomato seedlings warm. Buffalo ReUse recently held a free workshop on how to build a cold frame. The workshop was led by Brad Kujawski, left, green space coordinator for ReUse, and Scott Kozak, resource educator for ReUse, right. If…

swing set in large Buffalo yard

Surprisingly large backyard is hidden in Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko There’s plenty of room for the Thomson children to play in this huge backyard in the City of Buffalo. From left are Hunter, 11; Mackenzie, 5, and Evelyn, 8. The Thomsons shared their yard during Garden Walk Buffalo on July 24 and 25, and visitors were amazed that such a large expanse was located at 55 Hodge, not far from Children’s Hospital. The L-shaped yard extends approximately 180 feet away from the back deck, then actually…