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…

‘Weather garden’ displays effects of sun, heat, wind, rain

by Stephen Vermette, Department of Geography & Planning, SUNY Buffalo State   Let me introduce you to something new – a weather garden. A weather garden vividly demonstrates how sunlight, temperature, wind and rain affect plants in different ways. While these weather elements are a part of every garden, the key to a weather garden is displaying and learning about the specialized links between weather and plants. It does this through the choice of plants, as well as through fun…

herbs covered with leaves

Last-minute gardening tasks to prepare for winter in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko We’ve had a long and pleasant autumn, but some Western New Yorkers have had to shovel already. Even if you still have grass showing, you know winter is on the way. Here is a list of last-minute gardening tasks to do to prepare your garden. Put away your breakables. Anything that’s breakable, such as glass garden ornaments, ceramic bird baths or ceramic pots, should be brought inside. There is a chance that wind might topple some…

watering racks of potted bulbs

Now is the time to start cooling bulbs to force during late winter

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can enjoy spring flowers inside during winter, weeks before they appear outside in gardens, but you may not want to do it the way they do it at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. First of all, they force bulbs on a grand scale. (Forcing is getting a plant to bloom at a time when it wouldn’t normally bloom.) Last week they planted about 21,000 bulbs in pots. They can’t plant more because “there’s…

flowers on sunchoke in Amherst NY 2013

It’s time to plant sunchokes; email me if you want some

by Connie Oswald Stofko I have sunchokes that I will share for free, but there’s one catch. You have to pick them up or get someone you know to pick them up. I just don’t want to have to mail them. I’m in the Eggertsville area of Amherst. If you don’t get out this way, you probably have a neighbor or cousin or coworker who does. If you’d like some sunchokes, email me at connie@buffaloniagaragardening.com so we can arrange for…

allium in pot and near bench

Now is the time to plant bulbs for spring flowers

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Alliums are flowers that people see in the spring, and they come in expecting to buy them,” said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville. “It’s showy and they think, ‘I’ve got to have that.’” Although these great flowers appear in spring, you have to plant them in fall. “Right now is the time to plant them,” Yadon said. You can plant them through mid-November, if you can still work the soil…

red lily leaf beetles mating

Could cedar mulch stop red lily leaf beetle?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Is it possible that there could be an easy way to keep the red lily leaf beetle from damaging lilies? A local gardener may have stumbled across a way: cedar mulch. John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, was contacted by the gardener. She had happened to put cedar mulch in the bed where she has lilies and discovered that the pests didn’t bother her lilies. “It might just be a coincidence”…