fence in Orchard Park NY

Make your garden more welcoming with fences

by Connie Oswald Stofko Fences are usually used to keep things in, like pets, or to keep things out, like rabbits and deer. But fences can also make your landscape more welcoming. Here are two examples from the large Orchard Park landscape of Pat Gurney, who I visited last year during Open Gardens. (See her tips on using annuals and perennials here.) The photo at the beginning of this article shows a long fence between a sunny area and a…

pergola in garden in Amherst NY

More from the seven-garden guy in Amherst

by Connie Oswald Stofko You don’t have to know everything about gardening to enjoy a wonderful garden. “If you ask me the name of the plant, I have no idea,” said Jim Bardot, who has seven magnificent gardens in his front yard in Amherst. If you’re a gardener who doesn’t like to keep track of plant names, don’t let that hold you back. Get inspiration from what Bardot has accomplished. See an overview of his front yard here and see…

perennial gardens Buffalo NY

Gardeners ditched the barbecue & created an oasis in Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko When Kevin Lickers bought his West Side home in 2007, the small backyard had absolutely no gardens. “There was nothing here. I’m not kidding you. No flower beds,” he said while gazing at the colorful expanse of perennials that fill the yard now. What the yard did have was a big grill. “It was distracting, Lickers said, “and we don’t barbecue much.” He and his partner Ricardo Arce got rid of the large barbecue (they use…

statues of face, dragon and Chinese warrior in Amherst NY garden

Statues & negative space can add a lot to your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko “I find a statue, then think, ‘What can I plant around it to accent it?’” said Jim Bardot. The statue that was the inspiration for this garden is the Chinese head, situated in the very center. “It sat by itself in the backyard for years,” Bardot said. “I placed it here, I placed it there, then I brought it out front and found other things to go with it.” This Asian garden is one of the…

seven gardens in front yard in Amherst NY

Why hide your gardens? Amherst gardener has seven in front yard

by Connie Oswald Stofko Jim Bardot used to relegate gardening to his backyard until he realized: “I’m the only one who sees it. What’s the fun of that?” Now his gardens—seven of them—are displayed in his large front yard for the world to enjoy. “Why hide it?” said Bardot, who lives on busy French Road in Amherst. “It’s a thrill when somebody stops because they see me out there. One person said, ‘Thank you. For years I’ve been watching it…

seating area with grape vines in Kenmore NY

Broken fence became wall for charming outdoor room

by Connie Oswald Stofko A wooden fence used to separate this backyard from a parking lot. Unfortunately, plows clearing the lot shoved snow against the fence, and the snow won. Matt and Tashia Tribo of Kenmore replaced the collapsed fence with a cinder block wall and coated it with a veneer of stucco. The wall, which is as beautiful as it is functional, is part of a charming outdoor room. The Tribos’ garage and their neighbors’ garage act as the…

center garden in autumn in Pendleton NY

Want a great autumn garden in WNY? Get inspiration here

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can have a lovely garden in all seasons of the year. To find out how it’s done, I visited Tom and Darcie Homme in Pendleton. I showed you their gardens in winter, in spring, in summer and now in autumn. Of course, what you see in these articles are just moments in the life of the gardens. The plants change continuously throughout the seasons. That seemed especially true in this season. In September I posted…

fallen autumn leaves in Amherst NY

Reminder: How to use all those great autumn leaves in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Those autumn leaves are gold for your garden. Here are some of the ways you can use them. Help your lawn When you mow your grass, chop up the leaves as you go. Those bits of chopped leaves are good for your lawn– they return nutrients to the soil. See this short video from Cornell School of Integrated Plant Science. Compost leaves Adding leaves to your compost pile will help your kitchen scraps break down more…

garden on corner lot in Kenmore New York

Corner lot? Small space? Shade? Get ideas from this Ken-Ton gardener

by Connie Oswald Stofko Julie Wood liked the house on a corner lot, but the tiny front and side yards needed some TLC. There was an area that was supposed to be lawn, but grass couldn’t grow. And there were thorny bushes by the sidewalk. “Why put thorny bushes there?” Wood wonders. “So people wouldn’t cut through the grass?” The landscape has changed a lot since she and her husband Jason moved in about 10 years ago. She gave up…

formal gardens in Western New York in summer

See four-season garden in summer in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko You’ve seen it in winter, you’ve seen it in spring and now you get a peek at Tom Homme’s four-season landscape in summer. If you’d like to visit this Pendleton garden in person, you have one more chance this week. This is the last week of Open Gardens for 2021. Open Gardens take place Thursday and Friday. Like any other perennial garden, Homme’s garden changes throughout summer as one plant ends flowering and another comes into…