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….

Indian pipe Monotropa Uniflora

Amazing plant has no chlorophyll; get more news from Master Gardeners

In this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, find out about a wild plant that grows without using photosynthesis. The Indian pipe Monotropa Uniflora is totally white because it lacks chlorophyll. It grows in dense, deeply shaded, wet and humus-rich forests. See the article to find out how it gets its nutrients. This issue also has tips on what gardeners can do this month, plus an introduction to kokedama, a type of bonsai grown in a ball of soil. WNY Gardening Matters…

flowers on sunchoke in Amherst NY 2013

It’s time to plant sunchokes; email me if you want some

by Connie Oswald Stofko I have sunchokes that I will share for free, but there’s one catch. You have to pick them up or get someone you know to pick them up. I just don’t want to have to mail them. I’m in the Eggertsville area of Amherst. If you don’t get out this way, you probably have a neighbor or cousin or coworker who does. If you’d like some sunchokes, email me at connie@buffaloniagaragardening.com so we can arrange for…

heuchera in Amherst

What perennials should you cut back in autumn & which add winter interest?

There are still lots of things you can do in the garden now. The Master Gardeners of Erie County have posted new articles in WNY Gardening Matters, including one on what to do in the garden in October. One of the tasks addressed was cutting back perennials. For winter interest, many gardeners like to leave rudbeckia, butterfly weed, mums, heuchera and grasses standing, said author Peggy Koppmann. But there are some perennials that just get ugly after frost and are…

six-pack of deer-resistant perennials

Pick up– or send– a six-pack of can’t-miss perennials

by Connie Oswald Stofko Some gardeners know exactly what plant they want and can ask for it by its Latin name. Then there are others, like me, who just have a vague idea of the plant they want. Something that deer don’t like, or something that hummingbirds or butterflies do like. Or maybe native plants because they’re usually easy to maintain. If you’re not sure where to go from there, Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses can help. “We take the complexity…

rose and buds in Amherst NY

Tips from Master Gardeners for June, plus wet weather tips

by Connie Oswald Stofko To prevent and treat diseases in roses, now is the time for weekly spraying, according to June’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. The tips on rose care are in the article on what to do in the garden in June. That article also tells you what you spray, including organic suggestions. The other articles in this month’s issue include one on the beautiful and…

stinging nettle

Stinging nettle: weed or crop?

by Paul Hetzler, Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County If you have a nettle patch, put away the weed killer and consider yourself lucky to have this tasty plant. Many gardeners don’t like stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) because they are painful to touch. The plants sprout little hypodermic needles on their stems, leaves and even flowers. These glass-like silica-based needles, called trichomes, inject a mixture of irritating chemicals upon contact. So why would you risk putting it in your…

perennials in pot and beds

Mischler’s 49-cent perennial sale starts Friday; use perennials in containers & more tips

by Connie Oswald Stofko Mischler’s 49-cent perennial sale starts this week, and today we’re going to talk about using perennials in containers. We’ll also show you a couple of easy-to-maintain flowers that attract pollinators for your garden beds. The sale will be held from Friday, April 28 to Saturday, May 6 at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m….

chokeberry

Plantasia preview: Plants that look good & taste good, too

by Connie Oswald Stofko We buy plants with our eyes, said Ken Parker, CNLP, native plant expert and consultant. But when we choose plants that are edible as well as beautiful, we make our garden functional. “Plants are not just for aesthetics,” Parker said. And the edible plants that he recommends also attract pollinators, “so it’s win, win, win.” In this article, he shares some recommendations for trees and plants that that not only look attractive in our landscape, they…