emerald ash borer

Emerald ash borer detected here: what you should do

by Connie Oswald Stofko In January, we told you that the emerald ash borer had been detected in regions surrounding the Buffalo area. Now the beetle has been detected in the Olmsted Parks in Buffalo. By the time the beetle has been detected, it has probably been living in the area for three to five years, said Jeremy P. Sayers, board-certified arborist and president of The Tree Doctor. During that time, it has been spreading exponentially and infesting ash trees….

statue with bleeding heart flower in Lancaster NY garden

Statue collection decorates gardens, ponds at home in Lancaster

by Connie Oswald Stofko When Janice Hetrick sees a statue that reminds her of one of her kids, she buys it for her gardens. Janice has six children, but the statues outnumber the kids 36 to 1. Her collection includes more than 220 statues, which are displayed in a number of gardens and around a couple ponds at her home on Schwartz Rd. in a rural part of Lancaster. She and her husband, Jeff, have just finished putting the ornaments…

composting with worms in Buffalo Ny

Turn garbage into compost for your garden with red wriggler worms

by Connie Oswald Stofko I saw some amazingly beautiful compost a couple weeks ago in an Earth Day demonstration at Buffalo ReUse. The compost was dark brown and crumbly and pure, with almost no soil mixed in. The secret to this compost is red wriggler worms. They eat garbage and turn it into compost. “They eat their weight in garbage every day,” explained Kevin Hayes, executive director at Buffalo ReUse. “They’re voracious.” The earth worms that you find in your…

Queen Anne's Lace in Buffalo NY

Native plant or invasive species in the Buffalo area?

by Connie Oswald Stofko I was going to plant Queen Anne’s lace in my garden.  I used to love picking these pretty wildflowers in the fields when I was growing up in Cheektowaga.  And hey, planting native species is good for the environment, right? One problem: Queen Anne’s lace grows wild, but it’s not a native species. “We’re at the point where the most common stuff is non-native,” said Paul Fuhrmann of Ecology & Environment and the New York State…

sparrows in juniper in Buffalo-Niagara area

Keep Earth Day in mind as you set your gardening goals

by Mike Van Der Puy On the border of my lot stands a mature evergreen bush that holds little aesthetic appeal for me. At six feet high and about eight feet in diameter, it does function to some degree as a windbreak. Its primary function, however, is serving as the equivalent of Starbucks to many sparrows. They come here for daily chitchat, protection from the weather and protection from that hawk watching from the nearby maple. The sparrows have not…

Spicy scented sweet peas are the flower for April

by Ruth Syron The sweet pea is a charming cool weather flower that is the April birth flower. It has a wonderful spicy, sweet scent that is delicate, yet substantial enough not to be missed. The sweet pea symbolizes “thank you for a lovely time.”  I think this meaning fits the scent of the sweet pea because experiencing the aroma is a fleeting pleasure, hard to describe, but you feel thankful that you have enjoyed it.  The sweet pea also…

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…

tall grass in median garden in Buffalo NY

Medians get makeover on Minnesota Ave. in Buffalo’s University Heights

The median gardens that were started 10 years ago on Minnesota Ave. in Buffalo had begun to fade. Residents who had been active in maintaining the gardens “moved, passed away or got tied up with their busy lives,” said Yvonne Brown, a member of the Minnesota Avenue Block Club. The median gardens got new life this year with funding from a City of Buffalo Livable Communities Block Grant, private donations and donations from the residents themselves. “Now we’re working on…

water feature in Tonawanda NY

Water features highlight garden on Ken-Ton Garden Tour

A waterfall, pond and giant water wheel beguiled visitors to the backyard of John and Joanne Perrello at 2674 Colvin Blvd., Town of Tonawanda, during the Ken-Ton Garden Tour on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 7 and 8. While they grew vegetables for about 30 years, the Perrellos started the water features just three years ago, beginning with the waterfall, which you can see in the background of the first photo. They put in the pond, which you can see in…

Carlos and Susan Gartin of Buffalo

Gracious patio garden graces once-abandoned lot in Buffalo

What was once an abandoned lot is now a lovely backyard patio for Susan and Carlos Gartin. They shared their creation during the Black Rock and Riverside Tour of Gardens on Saturday, Aug. 7. The lot is on East St., just behind their home at 169 Dearborn St.  It had been a dumping ground for asphalt, concrete and bricks, and the weeds grew seven feet high, Carlos said. The Gartins bought it in August 2009. Now flower beds are tucked…