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….

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…