perennial garden in Lancaster NY

How to start a perennial garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to start a new garden with perennials, you could plop some random plants into the ground and hope for the best. But putting some thought into what you’d like your garden to be will make you happier in the end, said Jen Weber, vice president and manager of Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca. (They are now open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m….

colorful spring garden

How to create a beautiful spring garden in Western New York

_____ by Connie Oswald Stofko “It changes every day,” said Tom Homme of his spring garden in Pendleton. There’s never a lull in the landscape of Tom Homme and his wife Darcie because he has spent the past 11 years working to create gardens that are interesting in all four seasons. We got a peek at what makes his winter garden attractive in this previous article. You will be able to see the Hommes’ garden in person this summer on Open…

red lily leaf beetles and lilies

It’s time to check for red lily leaf beetle in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko by Connie Oswald Stofko Gardeners in Western New York have started to notice the red lily leaf beetle, which can devastate your lilies (true lilies, but not daylilies). I’ve written about red lily leaf beetles before; see details here. Last year we shared a couple home remedies that might keep red lily leaf beetles away. One is diatomaceous earth and the other is a homemade spray. There aren’t any controlled studies that look at how effective…

arabis 'Spring Charm'

Gardens to Go: A flat of perennials that suits your garden’s needs

by Connie Oswald Stofko Want more color throughout the season? Have a problem with deer? What native plants are good for a garden? How can you attract hummingbirds or butterflies? There’s an easy answer to all these conundrums: Gardens to Go. Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville is creating flats of perennials on different themes, such as Constant Color, Western New York Natives, Deer Resistant and Butterflies. Each flat contains 12 different varieties of plants on that theme, for a…

yard covered in lesser celandine

Act now to get rid of lesser celandine

_____ by Connie Oswald Stofko Lesser celandine is an invasive weed that can take over your lawn and gardens. “Whatever you do, don’t ignore it,” said Master Gardener Lyn Chimera. It’s pretty, but… Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna, formerly Ranunculus ficaria) is easy to ignore, Chimera acknowledges. It’s a spring ephemeral and dies back, so it’s easy to forget about it once it disappears–but it will return. And because it’s pretty, many people don’t recognize it as a weed. Chimera was one…

container with perennials

Why you should plant perennials in containers, plus 4 tips

by Connie Oswald Stofko Marie and Jerry Wysocki of Hamburg, who shared their landscape on Open Gardens last year, are planting more and more perennials in containers. One reason is that you can save money, Marie said. The perennials can winter over in the container and bloom again the next year, so you don’t have to buy as many annuals. The container in the photo holds three perennials: a euonymus (not visible), a short salvia and a hosta. There are…

amaryllis flowers

Amaryllis: how to keep it blooming inside every year

by Connie Oswald Stofko Amaryllis seems to be the most popular flower on Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com. Maybe that’s because it has a very large and showy flower– and you can enjoy inside in the winter! Gardeners who received an amaryllis at Christmastime want to know how to keep it blooming year after year. My friend David Clark, international gardening expert, has provided most of the information about amaryllis on my site. Below are links to the articles that you will probably find…

daffodils in garden in spring

Daffodils sprouting in winter: What you should do

by Connie Oswald Stofko I got this question from a reader: I was wondering if there is anything I can do with the daffodil bulbs which are starting to sprout leaves out of the ground because of the mild weather. I am hoping that I don’t lose all of them by the time the cold and snow cover them. Michelle I checked with John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Here’s what he said: “This can…

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…