Early winter (late autumn?) gardening tips for Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko I often write articles about what you can do your garden right now. But today, what you can do in your garden depends on whether you live in the northern part of Western New York or the south. Wyoming, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Southern Erie counties are getting heavy lake effect snow. The rest of Western New York is looking at a few flurries. But as we gardeners know, the weather in Western New York can fluctuate….

USDA plant hardiness zone map comparing Western New York in 2012 to 2023

Your Western New York garden may be in a new plant hardiness zone

by Connie Oswald Stofko What plants will last through the winter in your garden? You can figure that out by knowing what hardiness zone you are in. And you may be in a warmer zone than you thought. A new version of the Plant Hardiness Zone Map was released last week by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature. The zones go from coldest to warmest; 5 is colder…

herbs, compost, rose hips, birds in snow

Autumn tips: rose seeds, herbs, new garden, spreading compost & more

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here are six reminders–or perhaps new ideas–for activities that Western New York gardeners can do in autumn. Start roses from seeds Yes, you can actually start roses from seeds, and autumn is the time to do it, said David Clark, CNLP. The seeds are inside the rose hip, which is the fruit of the plant. It’s a green or red ball that forms when the rose flower drops off. See more in the article “How to…

crocus 'Orange Monarch'

How to force spring bulbs so you can enjoy the flowers inside

by Connie Oswald Stofko Some people can’t wait for spring; they want to see crocuses and tulips and other spring bulb plants blooming inside their homes while it’s still winter. If you’re one of those people, find out how to force bulbs with the great information here from Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager at Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St., Buffalo. Now is the time to begin the process of forcing bulbs, that is, tricking the bulbs to flower…

coleus Hottie

Tips on overwintering plants in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Now is the time to think about overwintering plants so you can enjoy them next year. In “What plants do you overwinter in Western New York?”, you’ll find guidelines on which plants are happy outside in the winter, which plants you should bring inside and which plants might be difficult for you to overwinter. That article includes links to many other helpful articles. Here are more related topics:…

opening frame for video on How to Divide Perennials in Western New York

Autumn is a good time to divide perennials; see new video

by Connie Oswald Stofko Is your hosta overtaking your heuchera? Or just getting too big for your small garden? You may need to divide your plants, and autumn is a good time to do it. Find out more about dividing plants with Lyn Chimera of Lessons from Nature. And if you need more tips, check out these articles:…

Aster in flower as well as buds

Autumn isn’t here yet, but we can prepare in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko We’re having 90-degree weather in parts of Western New York–I hope you don’t think it’s already autumn! Just because the kids are going back to school, it doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up our gardening tools. Here are some tips that you can use now or in the coming weeks as we prepare for autumn….

lilac, marigold and hyacinth in Amherst NY

WNY gardeners: What plants smell great to you and which ones don’t?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Many years ago, I was visiting the grand Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua. I sat down on a bench and got a whiff of something nasty. It turned out to be a boxwood and I wondered why anyone would plant such a stinky shrub. It turns out that boxwood doesn’t affect everyone the way it affected me. Some people don’t notice a scent, and others actually think boxwood smells nice. On the other hand, I love the…

bee on swamp milkweed flower

News from Master Gardeners: soil blocks, swamp milkweed & more

Check out these two publications from Master Gardeners in Western New York–they’re full of great information. Learn about soil blocks in the newest edition of The Optimistic Gardener, produced by the Master Gardeners in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. You don’t need containers for seedlings when you have soil blocks, according to Mark Messinger, Master Gardener apprentice. “You can see the roots fill out the blockscompletely, and instead of swirling around and tangling themselves, each root just stopswhen it hits the…

MixMaster annuals in flower box at Mischler's Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville NY

For July 4: red, white & bluish flowers

by Connie Oswald Stofko Creating a theme for the Fourth of July in your garden isn’t as easy as it might seem. While there are many red and white flowers to choose from, finding true blue flowers is difficult. “Blue flowers are never blue, even if they’re named as such,” said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. “They tend more to purple.” If you want flowers that are closer to blue, try these plants….