graphic of four leaves in four seasons

Pruning, composting & more in ‘The Optimistic Gardener’

Why should you prune? What do the terms “greens” and “browns” mean for composting? Those are just two of the topics in the newest edition of The Optimistic Gardener, the local horticulture newsletter for Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties. It is produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in those counties. Find the newsletter on the gardening page of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Chautauqua (on the lefthand side) and in Cattaraugus (on the righthand side)….

lamium 'Pink Pewter' courtesy Ball Horticultural Company

Plants for dry shade & more at Mischler’s 69-cent sale; starts April 21

by Connie Oswald Stofko Shady areas can be a challenge for gardeners, and if the shady area is dry, that’s even more difficult. If you have an area like that, try planting lamium. “It’s drought tolerant,” said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses. “It grows in dry shade areas. That’s a hard thing to find.” What’s even better is that you can buy it during the 69-cent Perennial Sale at Mischler’s, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. The…

hyacinths and daffodils in Amherst New York

Tasks you can do in WNY’s warm spring weather

by Connie Oswald Stofko It looks like we will have a week of warm spring weather in Western New York! It’s a great time to get outside and enjoy some gardening tasks. But don’t get ahead of yourself–some tasks should wait a little longer. See what’s happening in your yard See what plants have started to grow. Pick up any trash that blew into your yard. Look for damage from rabbits, deer or moles and voles. Check for winter storm damage. Some things you…

lesser celandine covering lawn in Buffalo New York

Lesser celandine is back: What to do if it’s already out of control

by Connie Oswald Stofko I have been writing about lesser celandine for 11 years, but I realized I hadn’t addressed in detail what to do if your whole yard, or a large section of your yard, is covered with lesser celandine. Here are questions I got from a local gardener: Hi Connie, I bought a new house last spring in the Elmwood Village (area of Buffalo). It’s beautiful but both the front and back yards are total carpets of lesser…

illustration of garlic bulbs by Stofko

Can we plant garlic in April in Western New York?

by Connie Oswald Stofko When should you plant garlic? The usual recommendation is October. (It overwinters and you harvest around July.) But maybe you can plant garlic in April in Western New York–and harvest the same year! I got a comment on this previous article last October from a local gardener. She had planted garlic in April: Last fall I had hand surgery and wasn’t able to get my garlic planted. I did it in spring and had a beautiful…

spring flowers in small pots at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

5 tips from Botanical Gardens’ Spring Flower Show to use in your landscape

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s lovely just to walk around the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens during the Spring Flower Exhibit. The fragrance of hyacinths scents the air. Spring bulbs that won’t flower in our gardens for a few more weeks are already in bloom. And flowers that might bloom at different times in your garden are all blooming at once, creating a garden fantasy. And if you look carefully, there are some things you can try in your…

portable table for gardening in Niagara Falls, NY

Make a handy, portable work surface with tip from Niagara Falls gardener

by Connie Oswald Stofko Do you need a work surface for potting and other gardening tasks? Would it be helpful if you could easily move that table from one area to another? Use this great tip from Rick Martinez of Niagara Falls, NY: “Since my garden is made up of a series of ‘garden rooms,’ I found that a stationary work surface just wasn’t working. An easy solution to my problem consisted of two large plastic garbage bins and a…

pots with flowering plants beside door in Buffalo NY

Look for details on garden walks in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko We can be wowed when we walk into a landscape on garden walks or Open Gardens in Western New York. The overall view is magnificent and there is so much to see. Tip: Take a breath. Then take a step back. Look at the details and think about how you might work those details into your own landscape. The gardens in the backyard of of Kevin Lickers and Ricardo Arce in Buffalo are beautiful, but there is…


Start of a new gardening season: Plant seeds for cool weather vegetables

by Connie Oswald Stofko We still have wintry weather in Western New York, but you can begin sowing seeds now–or soon–for cool weather vegetables. As their name implies, cool weather vegetables can withstand cooler temperatures in the air and soil. That means you can transplant cool weather seedlings outside weeks earlier than you can for tender vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers. In a previous article, Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager of Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo, lays…

pink and blue hydrangeas in Western New York

Shrubs, container gardening & climate to be topics at Master Gardener Ed Day

The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County Master Gardener Program will host its Education Day from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 11 at Classics V Banquet Center, 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd, Amherst. Speakers and topics are: The event includes a hot buffet lunch, beverages and snacks. The day begins with registration from 8:30 – 9 a.m. The first of two morning sessions start at 9 a.m. The full hot buffet lunch will be followed by an afternoon presentation…