water feature in garden in Hamburg NY

Four landscape design ideas that you may have never seen before

by Connie Oswald Stofko When you go on garden walks or visit Open Gardens, it’s nice to just gaze at the beautiful landscapes. It’s also helpful to get new, practical ideas you can use in your own yard. We’ll do both in this article, looking at views from the landscape of Sue and Russell Rich in Hamburg. When they moved in 25 years ago, there was almost nothing in the yard, but now they are surrounded by beautiful garden beds….

Symphoricarpos 'Proud Berry'

Order now for Great Plant Sale so you don’t miss out; deadline is April 10

by Connie Oswald Stofko Now is the time to place your pre-order for the Great Plant Sale at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. The deadline to order is Friday, April 10, but don’t wait–some plants sell out early. You can order online. You’ll pick up your pre-ordered plants at the Great Plant Sale at the Botanical Gardens from May 14-16. There will be other plants for sale then, too, that you don’t have to pre-order. But if you…

amaryllis Star of Holland

Amaryllis with no leaves: can it come back next year?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a question from a reader: Hi,I bought an amaryllis in a home hardware store. Bulb and container. It is blooming beautiful right now in January. It’s named “Holland Star.’ I have two stalks, lots of blooms but no leaves??? What does that mean? Hope you can give me some advice. So glad I found this site. I have bought these for my mother many years ago. I did not know they would keep from year…

snowless garden and snowy garden

How to deal with warm-then-cold winter weather

by Connie Oswald Stofko We got snow in November, then it melted. In late December, the weather was surprisingly warm, with air temperatures reaching the high 50s. The grass looked so green! Then the temperatures hit lows in the teens. This past weekend we got socked with snow. One thing you can say for weather in Western New York– it’s not boring. Here are some things you can do to deal with these changes in winter weather. Protect your plants…

spiderwort in Buffalo NY

Don’t let names fool you: You may want ‘weeds’ & ‘worts’ in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko A weed is any plant you don’t want in your garden. So who would want a plant with “weed” already in its name? And “wort” sounds like “wart,” those unappealing skin blemishes. Yuck! “Wort” is often coupled with the name of some body part —such as in “lungwort.” Double yuck! Don’t be turned off by those names. “Weed” comes from an Old English word for herb. The archaic meaning of “wort”, which has lingered in some…

witch-hazel flowers

Witch-hazel’s fragrant blooms add interest in autumn & winter

If you’re looking for a plant that blooms in your garden now, consider witch-hazel. American witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a native shrub that produces fragrant blooms in late fall and early winter, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The streamer-like flowers are just starting to appear at this time of year, following the annual loss of the shrub’s leaves. The yellow flowers typically last into December. Since witch-hazel is one of the few plants blooming now,…

autumn leaves on grass

It’s leaf season! 9 tips for using autumn leaves in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko We enjoyed many weeks of beautiful autumn color in Western New York this year! Now it’s time for the leaves to fall. The bad news is that our recent strong winds brought down branches as well as leaves. I hope you didn’t sustain any damage. The good news is that the fallen leaves give us things to do in our landscapes at this time of year. And those leaves can be used in so many ways!…

Hosta 'Sum of All'

Three tips on overwintering perennials in containers

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s time to think about some simple steps to overwinter your plant. These tips should work with any kind of perennial that is winter hardy; that is, any perennial that would come back in spring if it was planted in a garden bed over the winter. Bonus tip: Before we get into that, let me say that I was impressed by this stunning hosta at the home of Marcia and David Sully in Eden. I’ve written…

rose hip with flowers in background

How to start roses from seed using rose hips in autumn

by David Clark, CNLP If you want to try to start roses from seed, autumn is the time to do it. However, because of cross-pollination, there is no guarantee that the plant you get from those seeds will flower true; that is, those seeds may not produce the same kind of flower that your original plant produced. On the other hand, you may find a new and exciting variety! What are rose hips? The rose hip is the fruit of…

yellow dahlia flower by Stofko

Dahlias: How to dig & store them for winter

Dahlias are beautiful flowers that you can enjoy year after year, but the tubers don’t fare well if you leave them in the garden over the winter. You should dig your dahlia tubers up before there’s a hard frost, according to information on dahlias from the National Garden Bureau, a non-profit organization for the gardening industry. A hard frost occurs when temperatures drop below 28. A good indication of when to dig your tubers up is when the plant starts…