path through garden in Buffalo NY

Trellises, arbors & pergolas add support & pizzazz to your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Trellises, arbors & pergolas can be practical— they provide support for a plant— but they can do so much more. They can become focal points and gateways, and they can give you something pleasing to look at when the plants they hold have gone dormant. So what is the difference among these three garden structures? A trellis is often a latticework. An arbor creates a tunnel-like passageway or a shady area– another meaning of arbor is…

gardens and Irish flag at front of house in Tonawanda

‘Lazy gardener’ shares tips on how he created Irish pub in backyard

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s an Irish pub. It’s an outdoor living room. And it has gardens. That’s what you encounter when you visit Michael Ryan’s backyard on Englewood Ave., Tonawanda. It’s the party place for his family and friends. Visitors are amazed and assume he must spend lots of time maintaining his landscape, but he insists that he’s a lazy gardener who uses lots of short cuts. “It’s two weeks of work at the beginning of the season, then…

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…

garden retaining wall made of books in Hamburg NY

Creative garden retaining wall is made of books; see other examples of walls

by Connie Oswald Stofko Now is a good time to install hardscapes in your yard—things like paths, trellises and retaining walls for raised beds and slopes. Here’s a creative idea for a retaining wall that I saw at Plantasia in March. It’s made out of old books. While this wall was in place for only a few days and was displayed inside a building where it never got rained on, I think it could work in the real world. The books wouldn’t…

lush gardens and paths in West Seneca NY backyard

West Seneca gardener creates a getaway in her own backyard

by Connie Oswald Stofko “It’s serene,” said Mary Anne Bach as she gazed around her backyard. “I love coming here.” Sometimes if friends ask her if she wants to go out, her real answer is no. She’d rather spend her time off in her garden. You’ll be able to see why she enjoys her landscape so much when you visit the home she shares with her husband Jim at 52 Tim Tam Terrace during the West Seneca Tour of Gardens…

pond and waterfall in Amherst NY

Gardeners take advantage of sloped backyard; see it on Amherst Garden Walk

by Connie Oswald Stofko A natural slope creates a terraced effect in the backyard of Darryl Moden and Chuck Hidy, and they take advantage of it with features including a Medina stone wall and steps leading up to a pergola that serves as a gateway to the top tier. This is one of about 25 properties you can see on the Amherst Garden Walk to be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 12. You can pick up…

stone patio in Buffalo NY

Newcomers to Buffalo like how garden evolves with help from neighbors

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Going into my garden is like going into another world,”  said Lyne Richmond.  “It’s very peaceful. “So much of what’s in my garden is from my neighbors, and that gives it more meaning.” Lyne and her husband Ken live at 81 Larchmont Rd., Buffalo. You can see their garden during the Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk in the University area of Buffalo and Amherst from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 12. Maps will be…

path in backyard near trellis in Parkside area Buffalo NY

Make it look like a garden & not just a collection of plants, plus how to avoid digging new beds

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Before, it just looked like a collection of plants,” said Elaine Clutterbuck of 728 Crescent Ave., Buffalo. “Now it looks like a garden.” What did the trick? Pathways. “I think the pathways are what made the garden,” she said, looking around her attractive backyard. “Before, it didn’t look like it had any unity.” I visited the gardens of Elaine and her husband Don during the Parkside Garden Tour on June 29 and learned so much. You…

terrace made with broken sidewalk in Hamburg NY

Garden walk preview: See how these Hamburg gardeners reuse scrap materials

by Connie Oswald Stofko “We never throw anything out,” said Ken Haberman of 39 West Ave., Hamburg. He and his wife Shirley have found ways to use scrap material in their gardens. When a driveway was put in, the extra topsoil became raised beds at the front of the house. Broken concrete was used to hold the soil in place and create a lovely terraced effect. When a chimney had to be torn down, they used the flues as tall…

Graycliff Landscape

5 tips from Graycliff’s landscape restoration you can use in your own garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Over the years, many changes were made to the landscape at Graycliff Estate, 6472 Old Lake Shore Rd., Derby. The historic landmark was designed by the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright as a summer home for Isabelle R. Martin and her husband, Darwin D. Martin, a wealthy Buffalo businessman. To bring Graycliff back to Wright’s original vision, the landscape has been restored to look as it did when it was completed in 1931. Reine Hauser, executive…