bee and hose and compost represent sustainable gardening

NEW: ‘Sustainable Gardening’ course starts Saturday at Botanical Gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Sustainable gardening works with nature so you don’t have to do as much work trying to control pests, diseases and soil issues,” said David Clark, CNLP. Clark, a nationally known horticulture educator, will teach the new series of horticulture classes on sustainability. Classes will be taught from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays starting this Saturday, Jan. 22 in the Administration Building at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. These classes are…

monarch flying off swamp milkweed

Monarchs are in danger; how you can help in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Monarchs should be on the endangered species list, said Jay Burney, executive director of the Pollinator Conservation Association (PCA), based in Western New York. For years there has been a massive decline in monarch butterflies, but last year the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) declined to add the monarch to the endangered species list, Burney said. The FWS said there will be a yearly review and the monarch will stay in the running for…

Canadian anemone

Periwinkle is invasive; see 5 better alternatives for Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko I have enjoyed periwinkle in my garden, but it’s time to consider some alternatives. Periwinkle or Vinca minor is used as an ornamental groundcover. The leaves are glossy and the purple flowers are a delight. Here’s the problem: This invasive plant can easily spread outside of our gardens. It invades natural spaces, gets established and pushes out the native plants. It offers nothing to insects, birds and other animals. When it comes to control, periwinkle or…

dunes with native grass on Lake Ontario courtesy Roy Widrig

Use native plants along shores of Lakes Erie & Ontario– see new guide

Private property owners as well as municipalities can use a new guide to select plants to revitalize the shorelines of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Working With Nature: A Guide to Native Plants for New York’s Great Lakes Shorelines was recently released by New York Sea Grant, part of a nationwide network of 34 university-based programs working with coastal communities through the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The guide offers nature-based alternatives to traditional “gray” or hard structures such as rock rip-rap (rocky material placed along…

New England asters

Asters, slimey goo & more in WNY Gardening Matters

Check out the articles in the latest edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. “The Beauty of Fall Asters: Native asters come in blues, purples, rose, pinks and white. Besides being beautiful, they are a very important late-season food source for pollinators, butterflies and insects. Ambush Bugs and Assassin Bugs: These two bugs got their names because of the way they kill their prey. Nostoc: What’s slimey, disgusting and gooey?…

flower on common milkweed in Amherst NY

For butterflies & fragrance, choose common milkweed!

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you like butterflies, you probably have a kind of milkweed called butterfly flower (Asclepias tuberosa). You may even have swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). Consider adding common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) to that mix. Not only is it a plant that monarchs love, it gets a pretty flower– and it’s fragrant! Dan Murak pointed out the fragrance this summer when I visited his landscape, which was shared on the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View. Another thing I like about common milkweed is that…

Seed Share at Hamburg Library

Get free seeds at downtown library, Hamburg branch

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can get free seeds at libraries in Erie County: Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, and the Hamburg Public Library, 102 Buffalo St., Hamburg. These are in addition to the WNY Seed Library at the Audubon Branch Library, which we talked about previously. The organizers at all these seed libraries hope that after you have borrowed seeds, you will save some seeds from the plants you grew and take them back to the seed library…

native perennial hibiscus

Showy flowers & more: Four native plants that look great in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Native plants are not only good for beneficial insects, they can be just what you need to make your garden look great. Here are four native plants being offered by Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo. These plants are true natives, not hybrids or cultivars, said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager. All four plants like sun. See a list of Urban Roots’ native plants here. They offer about 100 different native plants throughout…

bee covered in pollen on swamp milkweed

Support fireflies, plus 4 more reasons to get rid of some of your lawn

by Connie Oswald Stofko Attract fireflies, support pollinators, save yourself some work and have cleaner air. Those are some of the benefits you can reap when you get rid of some of your lawn. Support pollinators Pollinators include butterflies, insects, birds and other animals. To support them, turn a section of your lawn into a garden and include native plants. Native plants are better than non-natives in providing what native pollinators need: nectar, pollen and seeds, according to the New…

happy flower, sad flower

Why bad things happen to good plants, & more from Master Gardeners

If your plant dies, it may not be your fault. Learn “Why Bad Things Happen to Good Plants” by Carol Ann Harlos in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters. Your plant could be immune to pathogens in the environment. But what happens when those pathogens change? Read more here. Other articles in this issue are: “Joe Pye Weed Plants Are Not All the Same” by Lyn Chimera “Research Summary: Climate Change is Increasing Impacts from Forest Pests“ WNY Gardening…