steps in Whittemore garden in Hamburg NY

A natural slope adds interest to colorful shade garden in Hamburg; garden walks are coming!

by Connie Oswald Stofko A natural slope combined with raised beds add interest to the Hamburg yard of Barb and Dave Whittemore. “There are seven steps to the top deck,” Dave pointed out. “We really have vistas with this. The elevations make a world of difference. That’s one thing I really enjoy.” A screened-in seating area is perched at the top of the garden looking down on the main part of the yard. “You can sit up there and see…

red windows and trellis at DiMino in Lockport

I want that: How to apply what you see on garden walks to your own yard

by Connie Oswald Stofko What is this garden showing me? That’s what gardening expert Sally Cunningham will help you learn in one of four talks she will present during the WNY Home & Garden Expo at the Fairgrounds, 5820 South Park Ave., Hamburg. The expo will be held 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb 19; noon to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22. I’ll…

Database helps you find trees, shrubs that work for your garden in WNY

  by Connie Oswald Stofko When we’re planning our gardens, so many of us forget about what should make up the backbone of our gardens: trees and shrubs. Trees and shrubs are larger than most other plants in your garden, so you want to plan around them. Once you plant them, they should stay put–It’s harder to relocate a tree placed in the wrong spot than it is to move a 12-inch flower. Trees can be expensive, too, so you…

Got clay? Don’t want to dig? Want a new bed over lawn? Try lasagna gardening in autumn

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s autumn, and here’s an outside project you can do today: create a lasagna garden. Lasagna gardening is a method where you apply material to your garden bed in layers, like in a lasagna. Lasagna gardening has several advantages: You don’t have to till or dig your garden bed. The technique works with clay or other poor soil. You can create a new bed over lawn. It’s not labor intensive. It’s organic. You don’t have to…

Foundation planting in Illinois 1925 from Laura Burchfield

Early 20th century innovations include lawns, foundation plantings; learn more at talk

by Connie Oswald Stofko We don’t live the way people did at the turn of the last century, and that’s reflected in our landscapes, said Laura L. S. Burchfield, co-author of American Home Landscapes: A Design Guide to Creating Period Garden Styles. Back then, people had outhouses. They needed a space for livestock. An area called the drying yard was set aside for hanging laundry. By the 1920s and ’30s, there were garages for cars, large lawns and even stone…

herb garden at Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village

Get tips from history to deal with a combination of dry and wet conditions in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko A combination of gardening problems faces Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, the 35-acre historical interpretive center in Amherst that showcases 19th century buildings set up like a village. Much of the landscape is boggy, so gardens can be wet early in the season. In addition, there’s no irrigation system, and hoses can’t reach all the gardens, so there’s no easy way to water plants during the dry summer months. To deal with these conditions, Buffalo Niagara Heritage…

A lot of garden is packed into small Buffalo yard– ponds, falls, hot tub & many plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko The description of this yard on the Garden Walk Buffalo map summed it up perfectly: A lot of garden crammed into a tiny space. Bruce and Renée Adams of 533 Auburn, Buffalo, have a backyard that is about 36 feet wide but only 20 feet deep, yet they manage to squeeze in two ponds, a stream, a patio table and chairs, a hot tub and lots and lots of plants. I visited their home during the…

Slow-growing shrubs create low-maintenance garden; backyard is full of perennials

by Connie Oswald Stofko Barb Ciesla and her husband Henry had a front yard with a line of yew bushes straight across the front. She wanted something more interesting and decided to redo the entire front. “I’m 60 years old and I don’t want to do it all again,” Ciesla said. “I don’t want to have to redo it in five years because things got too big. I wanted things that grow very slowly.” She spent the entire winter researching…

Lighting adds ambiance to Moroccan-themed garden in Tonawanda

by Connie Oswald Stofko Great lighting set the mood for a Moroccan-themed garden during the nighttime garden walk of the Ken-Ton Garden Tour held this past weekend. The event also included a daytime garden walk. Richard Levy of 122 Pickford Ave., Tonawanda, chose a Morrocan theme because his father’s family is from that part of the world. His grandparents were born in Istanbul. At left, a gazebo was draped with rich-looking colorful fabrics. He looked at 100 or 200 photos…

Clay, tree roots & shade: Get tips in this video

by Connie Oswald Stofko I love Western New York gardeners. I tried waiting out the rain Sunday, but it just kept getting worse, so around 1 p.m. I made my way out to the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View, a garden walk that covers parts of Amherst and Cheektowaga. I stopped at the home of Terrie and Jerry Newman at 194 Lamarck Dr. The description on the map said they had struggled with clay soil, something that a lot of Western New…