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…

patio with walkway from A Growing Business

6 tips for working with landscapers– #1: Get on list quick for spring work

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Don’t wait until April to call a landscaper if you’re hoping to have your landscape done in May,” said said Claire Brown, CNLP, president and designer at A Growing Business, 11554 Wyandale Rd., Springville. That’s her first tip on what a gardener should do when working with a landscaper. The earlier you call, the better. “It would be awesome if people called in fall before the snow gets deep,” Brown said. That way, she explained, the…

patio with a view

Building a path or patio: Is this a project for you?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Last month, we talked about a project most home gardeners can do, building a garden wall, and we discussed the advantages of using natural stone instead of concrete. A reader asked if we would do something about building flat areas. To recap: In the previous article, we talked about building a garden wall that’s 6 to 12 inches high. It’s a little easier using natural stone than concrete because you can skip some of the preparation…

shed flowers vegetable garden in Niagara Falls

Cool ideas from a garden on Niagara Falls garden walk include keyhole garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko “We want people to come back downtown,” said Ruth Cooper of 12th St., Niagara Falls. “It’s safe here.” That was the message of the Black Squirrel Garden Walk, held July 23 as part of Garden Walk of Niagara Falls, USA. (The Black Squirrel Garden Walk is named that for the black squirrels that you can see in Niagara Falls but aren’t common elsewhere in other parts of Western New York.) The event included a garden walk…

gardens around water feature in West Seneca NY

Noisy West Seneca yard becomes private paradise

  by Connie Oswald Stofko You could see– and hear–  the nearby convenience store from the backyard. But not anymore. Bernie Grosser and Jim Jankowski now have a private backyard paradise at their home on Tudor Place in West Seneca. I visited them during the fifth annual West Seneca Tour of Gardens held July 23 and 24. In addition to having a noisy store nearby, another challenge of this yard is that it is situated at the top of a…

building garden wall at Waterman's in Concord NY

Natural stone or concrete for garden wall? Two reasons why stone is easier

by Connie Oswald Stofko Natural stone not only adds charm to your landscape, it can be easier to work with than concrete, said Ethan Waterman, manager of Waterman’s Greenhouse, 12317 Vaughn St. (Route 240), East Concord (Springville). The first reason that it’s easier using natural stone for a garden wall is that a piece of natural stone is smaller and much lighter than a concrete block, he said. You don’t have to be a weight lifter to work with natural…

looking at mint plant in Amherst NY

You can take horticulture classes at discount price at NCCC

You can take college horticulture classes without being a full-time student or earning a degree, and the tuition is less. Niagara County Community College (NCCC) is opening a limited number of seats in horticulture classes through its community education department. “We were constantly getting requests from folks who want to be able to take our classes, but don’t want to earn a degree,” said Carolyn A. Stanko, an NCCC assistant professor who coordinates the college’s horticulture program. She is also a…

grassless front yard

Groundcovers are important in grassless front & backyards

by Connie Oswald Stofko Valerie and Anthony Hotchkiss of 42 15th St., Buffalo, have shared their gardens on Garden Walk Buffalo for eight years, but if you haven’t seen them in awhile, it’s worth going back. The couple got help from a landscaper, and what you see is all new in the last three years. Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest garden walk in the country, took place July 30 and 31. It featured more than 400 gardens. It was the…

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…

garden on steep hill in South Buffalo

Hill becomes focal point in South Buffalo garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko A steep hill that some people might see as an obstacle has become the focal point of Paul Sabato’s backyard. He shared his garden on South Buffalo Alive, a garden walk that took place Sunday, July 17. When he moved in 23 years ago, the staircase to the right was already there, but Sabato put in the rest, including an above-ground swimming pool. The soil was full of rocks. “You put a shovel in the ground…