monarch on butterfly weed

Monarchs making a comeback in WNY; see more in the POLLINATOR

by Connie Oswald Stofko The bad news is that the number of monarch butterflies has been decreasing in the past 20 years. Monarchs may be given protection under the Endangered Species Act in 2019. The good news is that the number of monarchs in Western New York appears to be on the upswing. You can find out more in the very first issue of the POLLINATOR, a new publication produced by the Pollinator Conservation Association. To subscribe to the POLLINATOR for free,…

flowers on sunchoke in Amherst NY 2013

Plant sunchokes in pots; now is time to plant

by Connie Oswald Stofko I’ve been growing sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes) for several years now. These cool plants can grow 10 feet tall in one season. They get small yellow flowers. Not only that, you can eat the root! See more here. They’re very easy to grow– perhaps too easy. They spread a lot. Even if you try to harvest all of the tubers, it’s easy to miss a piece. The next year, you find you have sunchokes growing…

toad lily in Amherst NY

Create a beautiful autumn garden; see how Amherst gardener does it

  by Connie Oswald Stofko The many trees and shrubs in Connie Krueger’s backyard filtered the blazing afternoon sun. It was relaxing to be sheltered from the heat while being able to enjoy the colorful plants in both sunny and shady areas. And guess what? It was already after Labor Day! While your garden might peak in July, you can still enjoy your garden in autumn. Krueger shared her landscape during Open Gardens this summer, and her yard is still lovely…

New England asters

Why you should use native asters, plus more Master Gardener tips

Native asters are easy to grow, they bloom in autumn and they help butterflies. Read more about why you should use native asters in your garden in this article in September’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. Scroll down farther in that article to read about the weed orchid or Epipactus helleborine, an invasive plant that can pop up in your garden. It has even been known to push up through…

seeds

Free seed library starting in Amherst for organic veggies, herbs, flowers

by Connie Oswald Stofko Brenda Snyder was looking for a seed bank–a place where seeds are collected and shared–but she couldn’t find one in Western New York. “There were no seed banks I could even drive to,” Snyder said. “I thought, ‘How is that even possible?’ I decided somebody just needed to take the bull by the horns and get it rolling.” Working with other volunteers, she is setting up the WNY Seed Library, a free seed library for anyone who wants…

ginseng class by Bob Beyfuss

Ginseng expert coming to WNY; get info now on how to grow this native plant

by Connie Oswald Stofko I always associated ginseng with Asia, but there is a variety, Panax quinquefolius, that is native to North America. Ginseng has been– and is still– widely used in herbal remedies. For years, when people wanted ginseng, they could just dig it up in forests. Unfortunately, over-harvesting has led to a decline in the wild population, so there are now regulations regarding wild ginseng. You can’t harvest from New York State land and you can’t harvest on private land without…

'Fireworks' goldenrod

Why you should plant goldenrod, plus more tips from Master Gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod does not cause hay fever!” said Lyn Chimera, the author of “Goldenrod Gets a Bad Rap,” one of three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County. Although many gardeners think of goldenrod as a weed, it’s one of Chimera’s favorite garden plants.  It’s beautiful in the garden, it’s great as a cut flower and it provides food…

Deer eating your garden? See 20 plants deer hate

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you get discouraged when deer chomp away at your garden, know that growers and garden centers have the same problems. “Deer are a battle for us,” said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. In back of Mischler’s, there are fields filled with deer, eyeing the tasty plants set outside for sale. “I swear by the repellents,” Yadon said. “If I didn’t have repellents, we wouldn’t be in business.”…

monarch on milkweed

Butterfly gardens need more than nectar

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to attract adult butterflies to your garden, you can choose plants that provide nectar. But if you really want to help butterflies, provide plants that they need in other parts of their life cycle, too. That’s the suggestion of Douglas W. Tallamy, famed author of Bringing Nature Home, who spoke in Western New York in March. Butterflies don’t lay their eggs on any old plant, Tallamy said in Bringing Nature Home. They lay their eggs…

orange butterfly plant and anise hyssop

What to plant for monarchs; learn more at GROW Jamestown Garden Fair

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you’re over 40, you probably remember seeing lots of monarch butterflies when you were a kid. Maybe you even saw the caterpillar form its amazing chrysalis, then emerge as a butterfly. But if you’re younger, you may not have had that experience, said Betsy Burgeson, supervisor of Gardens and Landscapes at the Chautauqua Institution. The number of monarchs has been declining for years, but Burgeson will tell you how you can help increase their numbers by hand-raising monarchs….