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…

garden on Amherst Garden Walk

Phlox and oriental lilies add fragrance, color, height & drama to garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko “My favorite flowers are phlox and oriental lilies because they’re fragrant,” said Ed Dinki, “and I love the color. Asiatic lilies are nice, but they’re not too fragrant.” You can get tips like that and see some amazing gardens when you dare to stray from the clusters of gardens at the center of a garden walk map and take a few minutes to visit some of the outliers. The Amherst Garden Walk, which took place July…

Create an illusion of depth in a narrow yard

by Connie Oswald Stofko In a narrow yard, you can create an illusion of more depth in your gardens. Instead of planting flowers right up against a fence, pull your gardens away from the fence and add shrubs in the back. The darkness at the back of the garden makes the gardens appear deeper. That was a tip from Robert Then of 25 Greenfield St., Buffalo, who shared his gardens during the Parkside Garden Tour on June 26. His yard…

coleus Lord Voldemort in Buffalo

5 tips for making an impact in your landscape without flowers

by Connie Oswald Stofko “You don’t have to have a flower to make an impact,” said Kristin Pochopin, interim director of horticulture at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. You can see that lesson on display at this year’s Celebration of Coleus and Color, which is again sponsored by Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com. The show will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from Saturday, June 18 through Sunday, July 24. This exhibit is included with regular admission to the…

waterfall at Plantasia by A Growing Business

Plantasia updates: people’s choice winner announced, trees planted at the Fairgrounds

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here are some updates from 2016 Plantasia, Western New York’s premier garden and landscape show. It’s organized by PLANT WNY, a not-for-profit corporation of green industry professionals. Mark your calendar for Plantasia 2017: Thursday -Sunday, March 23 – 26 with Preview Night on Wednesday, March 22 at the Fairgrounds Event Center and Artisan Hall in Hamburg. $16,000 backyard makeover The first thing gardeners probably want to know is whether anyone won the $16,000 backyard makeover. Nope, no…

garden courtesy Kerry Ann Mendez

A garden where you can have it all: Find out how at Erie County Master Gardener event

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you do it right, you can have pretty flowers while helping the environment–  and save time and money, too! Kerry Ann Mendez, garden designer, writer, speaker and consultant, will show you how to do that in two talks during the Education Day to be held by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County Master Gardener Program. She shared some of her tips with me in a phone interview. Details on Education Day For the first…

nepeta from Proven Winners

‘Solution gardening’ encompasses several gardening trends

by Connie Oswald Stofko Gardeners aren’t looking for plants, they’re looking for solutions, Dr. Allan Armitage told the audience of professionals and Master Gardeners at PLANT WNY’s Education Day on Feb. 5 in Depew. Armitage, a perennial guru, wrote the books Herbaceous Perennial Plants, Armitage’s Garden Perennials and Armitage’s Native Plants for North American Gardens. He also has a new app for Android and Apple devices called Armitage’s Greatest Perennials & Annuals. The advantages of the app over a book…

side garden on Ken-Ton night

Lighting gives yards ambiance during Night Lights in Ken-Ton

by Connie Oswald Stofko Jim Aichinger and Tim Kuntz’s gardens are lovely during the day. “But when the lights come on, oh, it’s wonderful back here,” said Kuntz. They shared their Cornwall Avenue landscape during the Night Lights portion of the Ken-Ton Garden Tour on Friday and Saturday, July 17 and 18. The daytime portion was held Saturday and Sunday, July 18 and 19. The front as well as the back is lit 365 days a year, Aichinger said, with…