tea house in Lancaster NY

Feel transported across the world in backyard tea garden in Lancaster

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Everyone comes to see the back,” said Rich Groblewski as he gave me a tour last week of his landscape at 14 Lombardy St., Lancaster. It seems like a nice suburban yard with a new arbor (the old one was crushed under seven feet of snow in the Snowvember storm), a fire pit, small pond and flowering plants. But walk a little farther back and you’ll see a path lined with bright red railings. Follow the…

Schoellkopf Park fountain courtesy Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center

Grand name reflects high goals for garden walk in Niagara Falls

by Connie Oswald Stofko “I hope this is the beginning of something to bring the city back to life,” said Pete Ames, co-chair of the Grand Gardens of the Niagara Portage. The event is a garden walk with a twist. Public gardens rather than private gardens will be the focus. You can take a trolley from site to site while listening to a guide discuss the history of the architecture you see along the way, and speakers will give presentations…

evening sun on gauzy tent in backyard in Buffalo

Create an elegant landscape on a budget with tips from Buffalo gardener

by Connie Oswald Stofko Pat Bobo has an elegant landscape filled with flowers, shrubs, fruits and vegetables, but she doesn’t spend a lot of money on plants. One example is the lush grape vine she picked up for a dollar. When she bought the plant, it was on its last legs, she said, but now it’s thriving. “I don’t like paying over $4 or $5 for a plant,” Bobo said. “I pride myself on getting things for a dollar or…

window box in Snyder NY

Gardener has more than 300 varieties of plants in small Snyder yard

by Connie Oswald Stofko Dick Herr has a way with plants. He had a yucca plant in his garden, but dug it out 35 years ago. Last year– surprise!– it came back. Now it’s taller than ever and was in full bloom when I visited last week. You can see his gardens at 180 Hamilton Dr., Snyder, during the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 12. Maps can be picked up at Trillium’s Courtyard Florist,…

Jennifer Matyjasik on patio Williamsville

New owner tries to preserve history of the home’s landscape in Williamsville

by Connie Oswald Stofko Rather than just rip out the overgrown jungle that she found in her yard when she moved into her home six years ago, Jennifer Matyjasik is trying to preserve the history of the 1930s house and honor the avid gardener who once lived there. Her neighbors told her that the woman who had owned the house, along with her sister, were great gardeners. Matyjasik is trying to honor that as she fashions her new landscape. As…

overview-Leising-yard-in-Amherst-NY

Sunny field has evolved to shady haven in Amherst

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Gardens are never done,” said Gary Leising of 2695 Sweet Home Road, Amherst. “You always come up with new ideas. There are always things you want to do and things you want to change.” When Leising and his wife Linda moved into their newly built home in 1984, the landscape was just a field. That mostly sunny landscape has turned into a mostly shady landscape with two dozen trees, established garden beds and a large koi…

overall view of Bonnie Brooks' yard in Buffalo NY

Native plants and large greenhouse are attractions in this Parkside garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko The yard of Carrie Brooks, 773 Crescent Ave., Buffalo, is filled with plants, and many of them have a story. The forsythia came from a bouquet her daughter gave her. The branches stayed in the vase of water too long and rooted, so she planted them. After the bush has finished flowering, she allows a sweet pea vine to climb up and cover it with its own flowers. Japanese lanterns were used as the table decorations…

waterfall in Hamburg NY garden

Despite Snowvember storm, garden is ready for Buzz Around Hamburg

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can see a huge decorative ruler topped with a snowflake, which, in the winter, marks how much snow is on the ground in the backyard of Linda Washut and Kathleen Kelkenberg, 175 Highland Ave., Hamburg. It measures all the way up to four feet. “We got it at a garage sale,” Washut said. “We thought it was hilarious.” But during the Snowvember Storm of 2014 the ruler was buried. “We got seven feet of snow,”…

aviary and street clock in garden in Amherst NY

Help this reader: How should she prepare her garden for her first garden walk?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a question I received from a reader: Hi Connie, thanks for your newsletter, it’s always so informative! I have entered the Amherst Garden Walk this year. As a part-time transplant Buffalonian, I am unsure of what will be blooming on July 11, the day of the walk. I like a good challenge, however I’m thinking I bit off too much? Are there tips, a web site to guide, anything to assist the process of  coaxing…

Jerry Powarski in his garden in West Seneca

Get tips on going big from this West Seneca garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Go big. That’s the lesson I took away from the gardens of Jerry Powarski of George Dr., West Seneca. Powarski gave me a sneak peek last week as a preview of the West Seneca Tour of Gardens, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 18 and 19. The garden walk season kicks off this weekend with the 10th annual Lewiston GardenFest, which will be held 10 a.m. to 5…