mealybug courtesy Bugwood

What to do about mealy bugs on houseplants, plus more tips

Mealybugs can be a problem for your houseplants during winter. Find out what to do about this pest in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Mealybugs are tiny, but they’re a problem because they suck fluid from plant, weakening the plant and making the plant susceptible to diseases. A second article in WNY Gardening Matters is an update on oak wilt, a disease affecting oak trees. We…

halloween-miniature garden in cauldron

Make a spooky miniature garden at Mischler’s

Add a new dimension to your Halloween decorating with a spooky miniature garden during a workshop at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. The same workshop will be held at 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8. Choose from a variety of succulent plants along with bits of nature to create a unique centerpiece for your holiday celebration. Take your child or grandchild, friend or neighbor to share in this unique gardening experience of…

'Star of Holland' amaryllis at Buffalo Botanical Gardens by Stofko

What you probably don’t know about potting an amaryllis, but wish you did

by Connie Oswald Stofko I have a bunch of amaryllis bulbs in two large pots, and I would like to separate them and move some into another pot. I asked David Clark, nationally and internationally known gardening educator, for some tips. His first suggestion: Don’t do it. “Amaryllis likes to be root-bound,” Clark said. He told me that if I separate the bulbs, they may not flower this year. While I hear his warning, those bulbs have been crammed into…

mini Christmas gardens

When you need a little gift, the mini-mini succulent garden is just right

When you’re looking for a little something for someone on your Christmas list, check out the mini-mini succulent gardens at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. You can give these adorable dish gardens as a token of appreciation for your child’s teacher or for the neighbor who shovels your sidewalk. Because they’re small, they can easily fit on the window sill of someone in a nursing home. And succulents are super easy to care for, so even…

Christmas trees suspended from ceiling Goodman's Niagara Falls

How to keep your Christmas tree fresh until February

by Connie Oswald Stofko Ray Crawley and his family usually take their Christmas tree down around Jan. 1, but last year the tree was looking so good, they left it up until almost February. “I guess it’s like a flower arrangement,” Crawley said. Since it stayed fresh, they decided to enjoy it a little longer. Crawley is store manager at the family-owned Goodman’s Farm Market, 2227 Cayuga Drive Extension, Niagara Falls. Here’s how he kept his Christmas tree fresh so…

baa baa black sheep miniature garden at Mischler's Williamsville

Storybook theme at Plantasia appeals to kids, adults; see fairy gardens, kids’ activities

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Every Garden Tells a Story” is the theme of Plantasia 2015, and you’ll see some creative interpretations in miniature gardens from Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses. Plantasia kicks off with a Preview Night from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 18. Tickets for Preview Night are $15 and can be purchased online or at the door. It will include  food tastings from local restaurants and a cash bar. Plantasia continues from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday…

'Star of Holland' amaryllis at Buffalo Botanical Gardens by Stofko

Amaryllis reminder: Don’t cut off the leaves

by Connie Oswald Stofko Many of you may have received an amaryllis bulb or plant over the holidays, and you’d like to get it to rebloom indoors next year. It’s not hard to do. However, I’ve heard from a couple people that they were told to cut back the plant after it has finished blooming. Don’t do that! You need to keep the leaves on the plant. Through photosynthesis, the leaves will work to recharge the bulb. The plant needs…

various orchids at Botanical Gardens

Orchid Show expanded at Botanical Gardens; get your orchid repotted

by Connie Oswald Stofko We’ve told you before that, although they look delicate, orchids are actually easy to grow. There is one tricky part, though: potting. “The hardest part is to get people to understand that you’re not putting them in dirt,” said Joseph A. DiDomenico Jr., president of the Niagara Frontier Orchid Society. You can learn more about how to pot orchids–  and even have members of the orchid society repot your orchid plant!–  during a new, expanded Orchid…

Gaultheria procumbens wintergreen at Lockwood's in Hamburg NY

Lockwood’s last-minute gift ideas for a gardening friend– or yourself!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here are some great last-minute gift ideas for gardeners from Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg. They’re all plants that gardeners can enjoy in the house now for their flowers or berries, then plant outside in the spring and enjoy as perennials for years to come. Of course, you can buy them for yourself, too. The first choice is a wintergreen called Gaultheria procumbens. As she showed it to me, Teresa Buchanan, garden center manager, crushed…

daffodil at Buffalo Botanical Gardens by Connie Oswald Stofko

Do you need to refrigerate daffodil, tulip bulbs before forcing them indoors?

I got this question from reader Trudy Stern: “I have a daffodil question: Should I keep them in the deep freeze for awhile before I force them indoors in January or February? Tulips? Any special tips? I am looking forward to having some bulb beauty in my house throughout the winter.” I thought this was a question many readers might be interested in, so I contacted Jeff Thompson, director of horticulture at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Each…