lilacs in Amherst NY

Don’t wait to prune early-blooming shrubs

The time to prune shrubs that bloom before the middle of June is right after they flower, according to an article in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. If you wait too long and prune them after they have set next year’s buds, you will lose the flower production next year. Early-blooming shrubs that you shouldn’t wait to prune include lilac, deutzia, kerria, Philadelphus, forsythia, viburnum, St. John’s…

hose slowly watering plant

Rainfall has been below normal in WNY, so keep watering

  by Connie Oswald Stofko In the past few weeks, I’ve seen clouds, heard thunder and even felt a few drops of rain in my Amherst garden. (I think I counted a total of 13 drops.) It’s not unusual to have a dry spell like this, but you need to remember to keep watering your garden. At the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga, they measured just .11 inch of rain since May 23, said meteorologist David Thomas. (I didn’t…

Hosta Liberty

You might turn into a hosta fan at Hosta Experience

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you’re not familiar with hostas, you may wonder why this plant has an entire plant society devoted to it. You may just become a fan after attending the Hosta Experience to be held by the Western New York Hosta Society from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 10 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. You’ll see it listed as the Hosta Show, which is was it was…

lilacs in Amherst NY

Lilac tips and more from Master Gardeners

Lilacs, a staple of spring in Western New York, don’t like wet feet, according to an article in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. They will do best on hillsides or on level ground with good drainage. The article “This Month in the Garden” suggests giving lilacs a top dressing of compost worked into the soil to help retain water. Fertilize with a high-phosphorus formula in early spring; too…

delphinium Magic Fountain Mix

‘Perennial’ doesn’t mean ‘live forever’; expect to replant some perennials

  by Connie Oswald Stofko “‘Perennial’ doesn’t mean ‘live forever,’ said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses. “Granted, they may come back, but some perennials are short lived and might not last more than three or four years.” It’s best to plant those varieties every two or three years to make sure they don’t die out completely. (All you people who tell me you can’t garden because you don’t have a green thumb: If a perennial died, it…

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….

Cassia didmobotrya flower

Plant that smells like buttered popcorn offered at Great Plant Sale

by Connie Oswald Stofko “I’m pretty excited about this plant,” said Kristin Pochopin, director of Horticulture at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. She was referring to an annual called Cassia didmobotrya, whose unique feature is that when you rub the leaves, it smells like buttered popcorn. The scent is most noticeable in late summer and early fall. Popochin was familiar with this plant when she worked for a wholesale grower in Pennsylvania, but hasn’t seen it much in our area. It’s…

blood twig dogwood Midnight Fire

Look for ‘two-fers’ for your garden; hear more at PLANT WNY event

by Connie Oswald Stofko Home gardeners aren’t planting acres and acres of gardens anymore, so we have to get more out of the few plants we choose to include in our landscapes, Kerry Ann Mendez told me in a phone interview. The award-winning garden designer, author and lecturer noted that the two largest age groups in our country now are millennials and baby boomers, and both groups are choosing smaller spaces. Millennials are gravitating toward urban settings rather than sprawling suburbs, and…

milkweed seeds

Weather garden: focus on wind, rain

by Stephen Vermette, Department of Geography & Planning, SUNY Buffalo State In a previous issue, I introduced you to a weather garden, which vividly demonstrates how sunlight, temperature, wind and rain affect plants in different ways. It does this through the choice of plants, as well as through fun and useful ornaments such as thermometers, wind vanes and rain gauges. That first article focused on sunlight. In the second article, I focused on temperature. Today we will look at the…

four o'clock flowers

Explore temperature in a ‘weather garden’

by Stephen Vermette, Department of Geography & Planning, SUNY Buffalo State Last week I  introduced you to a weather garden, which vividly demonstrates how sunlight, temperature, wind and rain affect plants in different ways. It does this through the choice of plants, as well as through fun and useful ornaments such as thermometers, wind vanes and rain gauges. Last week we looked at the element of sunlight. Today we will look at temperature. In a future issue, we will look…