iris with leaves in Buffalo Niagara New York

Prevent iris borer by removing iris leaves in autumn in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko In general, gardeners in Western New York are encouraged to keep perennial leaves and stalks in place to create winter interest, but one plant you should cut down is the iris. “We encourage folks to cut the iris leaves down after the first heavy frost,” said Marilee Farry, president of the Western New York Iris Society. “What is important is not to throw those leaves into the compost pile but to either burn them or put…

species tulip 'Ballerina'

How to plant spring bulbs in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Want to get bulbs to bloom in spring and summer? Here’s your first tip: Plant in autumn. Every spring, people walk into garden centers expecting to buy tulips and other bulbs to plant immediately in their gardens. It’s understandable, said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager at Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo. With most other plants, when you see them flowering outside, that’s the time to plant them. With bulbs, you have to plan…

squirrel holding tulip bulb copyright Stofko

Protect your flower bulbs from squirrels in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko “I’ve planted bulbs, gone into the house, and the squirrels come back ten minutes later to steal my bulbs,” said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager at Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market. “They’re viscous little things!” Jablonski-Dopkin offers tips for keeping squirrels away from your newly planted bulbs. You still have plenty of time to buy and plant bulbs. In Western New York, plant bulbs in October or November. The soil should be cool, about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. In…

rudbeckia subtomentosa 'Henry Eilers' in garden in Eden New York

Yes, there are perennials that flower in autumn in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Who doesn’t have Japanese anemones?” Margaret Raupp asked as we toured the flower gardens at her home in Eden. Me. I don’t have Japanese anemones, and I bet many of you don’t have then either. Why? Because we don’t visit gardens when they are blooming. That’s why I asked Raupp, who shares her landscape on Open Gardens, to show me some of the flowers that bloom in September. I visited her about 10 days ago, on…

taking phot of garden with phone

Autumn: Take photos of your perennials, make plant labels

by Connie Oswald Stofko Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know where all your perennials are–now. But what about next spring when all the plants–perennials and weeds alike– are tiny? You can take a guess on what’s in that spot. Or you can invest some time now so that, in spring, you’re not weeding out your beloved flowers. First, take photos of your gardens now while your perennials are still standing. See more here. Second, label your plants. Tip: I have used…

daffodils in Amherst NY

Why you shouldn’t plant spring bulbs too early in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko “While the big box stores have bulbs available before Labor Day, bulbs should not be planted before the beginning of October,” said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager at Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market. “Our bulb suppliers won’t send them till the end of September. We usually have them in stock by the first week in October.” Autumn is the time to plant bulbs that flower in spring, but planting them too early could damage or even kill them. When…

colorful perennials at Mischler's Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville

Reminder: Still time to plant perennials, some in bloom now!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Gardening season in Western New York is longer than many people think–it doesn’t start and end on Memorial Day weekend. There’s still time to plant perennials, including ones that are blooming now. And you can freshen up your garden with summer annuals as well as autumn annuals. And some of these plants may be on sale! Planting perennials in late summer You can safely plant perennials now through mid-September, said Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s Florist…

amaryllis blooming inside in Amherst NY

Reminder for WNY: Bring amaryllis inside soon so it blooms at Christmas

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to force your amaryllis to bloom inside around Christmas, bring it inside around the middle of August. That’s the advice from David Clark, CNLP, who teaches the horticulture classes at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. See our previous article here to find out about the timing for amaryllis. Find out more about growing amaryllis here….

healthy plants at Mike Weber Greenhouses in West Seneca NY

How to choose healthy plants in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko You’re at a garden center and you have found the variety of plant you want. There are several specimens to choose from. You pick up a pot. Is the plant you hold in your hand healthy? If it has something wrong with it, how would you even know? Jen Weber, vice president and manager of Mike Weber Greenhouses, 42 French Rd., West Seneca, explains what you should look for when buying garden plants.   Perennials and shrubs…

peonies at Graycliff in Derby NY

What’s blooming at Graycliff now

by Connie Oswald Stofko Every so often, we’ll post a photo (or two or three) of what’s blooming at Graycliff, 6472 Old Lake Shore Rd., Derby. See beautiful plants that are in bloom now, but won’t be noticed on a garden walk because the plant will be past its prime. These are plants you might want to add to your landscape for some early summer color. The photos also give you a peek at the stunning Graycliff landscape, which was initially…