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…

tea house in Lancaster NY

Feel transported across the world in backyard tea garden in Lancaster

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Everyone comes to see the back,” said Rich Groblewski as he gave me a tour last week of his landscape at 14 Lombardy St., Lancaster. It seems like a nice suburban yard with a new arbor (the old one was crushed under seven feet of snow in the Snowvember storm), a fire pit, small pond and flowering plants. But walk a little farther back and you’ll see a path lined with bright red railings. Follow the…

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…

hellstrip with flowers in Buffalo NY view from sidewalk

Tips for planting an unused space: the ‘hellstrip’ between street & sidewalk

by Connie Oswald Stofko People call it the “hellstrip.” It’s that section between the sidewalk and street where people generally grow nothing but grass. It’s where the plows deposit the heavy, salty snow from the street. Garbage cans get tossed there. Dogs do their business there. What in the world could you grow there? Flowers and herbs. That’s what Elaine Clutterbuck of Buffalo grows in the three-season garden she has established in her hellstrip. This past summer her garden was…

Fascinating green roof project under way in Springville; you can help

by Connie Oswald Stofko The Springville Center for the Arts is seeking volunteers to start seedlings for its green roof project. You’ll get seeds that you are asked to start in containers and nurture until they’re ready to be transplanted onto the green roof. You don’t have to live in Springville to participate. In addition to the seedling program, volunteers are needed for the installation of the green roof on the building that the arts center is rehabilitating at  5 East Main…