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…

Gardeners take advantage of sloped backyard; see it on Amherst Garden Walk

by Connie Oswald Stofko A natural slope creates a terraced effect in the backyard of Darryl Moden and Chuck Hidy, and they take advantage of it with features including a Medina stone wall and steps leading up to a pergola that serves as a gateway to the top tier. This is one of about 25 properties you can see on the Amherst Garden Walk to be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 12. You can pick up…

path in backyard near trellis in Parkside area Buffalo NY

Make it look like a garden & not just a collection of plants, plus how to avoid digging new beds

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Before, it just looked like a collection of plants,” said Elaine Clutterbuck of 728 Crescent Ave., Buffalo. “Now it looks like a garden.” What did the trick? Pathways. “I think the pathways are what made the garden,” she said, looking around her attractive backyard. “Before, it didn’t look like it had any unity.” I visited the gardens of Elaine and her husband Don during the Parkside Garden Tour on June 29 and learned so much. You…

gate looking into garden and house in Buffalo NY

Reach new heights with inspiration from this Buffalo yard on Open Gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko The most interesting thing about the landscape of Gordon Ballard and Brian Olinski– and trust me, there are many interesting things packed into this space– is that you can’t see straight through from the front to the back. When you step inside the gate, you follow a path lined with tall plants. There are are bushes, tall perennials and ornamental grasses; vining plants climbing up trellis and arbors, and flowers of all kinds displayed in large…

Get spectacular spring color without sacrificing summer splendor

by Connie Oswald Stofko So many of us are looking forward to the start of the 2014 gardening season, but Claudia Kolbe-Hawthorne of the Cleve-Hill section of Cheektowaga is already enjoying the third wave of color in her flower beds. First there were the hyacinths, which were followed by daffodils. When I visited her last week, there were masses of colorful tulips. But even after the tulips are gone, there won’t be a lack of color. The perennials, such as…

Shakespeare garden planned for Karpeles Manuscript Library on Porter; fundraiser set

“At Christmas I no more desire a rose than wish snow in May’s new-fangled mirth.” Love’s Labour’s Lost by William Shakespeare   by Connie Oswald Stofko Flowers, herbs and trees mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare will be featured in a new Buffalo Shakespeare Garden that is planned for the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, 453 Porter Avenue, Buffalo. The grand opening is planned for spring 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. A fundraiser for the project…

Got clay or rocks in your soil? Use pallets to create a raised bed– It’s simple!

by Connie Oswald Stofko You may be reluctant to start a new garden bed if you have a site that’s less than ideal. Maybe it’s full of stones that you would have to sift out or pick out by hand. Or maybe the soil is compacted or riddled with clay, so you face the prospect of having to work in lots and lots of compost to break it up. An easier solution is to create raised beds using pallets. This idea…