Multiple buds on one stalk, trend in Japanese iris

Japanese iris are easy to grow in Buffalo area; sale coming

by Connie Oswald Stofko Japanese iris are easy to grow in the Buffalo area, and evidence of the beautiful blooms you can get were on display Sunday at the Western New York Iris Society’s show “Spectacular Elegance.” The show included Japanese iris and any other beardless iris; the society’s June show was for bearded iris. At left is an example of a specimen with multiple buds on one stalk, which is a new breeding trend for Japanese iris, said Maria…

Parkside garden has evolved from play area to outdoor living room

by Connie Oswald Stofko Patience. That’s what you need if you want a yard and gardens like those at 84 Woodward, Buffalo, the home of  Melissa and Bill Maldovan. The Maldovans’ gardens were decades in the making. The couple shared their lovely landscape with visitors during the 14th annual Parkside Garden Tour on Sunday, June 26. Both husband and wife have gardening backgrounds. Melissa has taken horticulture classes and Bill did landscaping in high school and college. When their three…

How to keep your iris blooms from tipping over

Art Aigner, a reader from Elma, asked, “How do I prevent my iris blooms from laying over?” Mark Van Buren of  Zehr’s on the Lake Farm Market and Nursery offered a couple solutions. The problem may be that that the rhizome or root or “toe” of the plant isn’t deep enough. Van Buren said that 50 percent of the rhizome should be exposed and 50 percent should be under the soil. He suggested staking the iris with small bamboo stakes…

garden gate from Kerry Ann Mendez

Your plants aren’t your children: advice for low-maintenance gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko Kerry Ann Mendez, garden designer, author and consultant, will kick off the festivities for the National Garden Festival on Friday, June 24 with a talk on “Tips for Low-maintenance, High-impact Perennial Gardens.” You can also join her that day for a tour of the perennials and shrubs at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. (See details of the opening day activities at the end of this article.) Mendez has written two books. The Ultimate Flower…

QueenMoonstone rose in Western New York

June’s birthday flower is the rose, called the world’s favorite flower

by Connie Oswald Stofko Feel fortunate if your birthday is in June. Your birthday flower is the rose, which is called the world’s favorite flower, according to an exhibit last summer at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. Roses were in such high demand during the 17th century that royalty used roses and rose water as legal tender to purchase other items or to pay debts. Luckily, today even we common folk can buy roses as cut flowers or…

David Clark rose class in Hamburg NY

Learn about growing and tending roses in Buffalo area

by Connie Oswald Stofko Growing roses in the Buffalo area isn’t as hard as some people think. In the video below, David Clark, professional horticulturist, gives quick tips on selecting roses, caring for roses and managing pests. Want more in-depth information? Clark will give a class on the topic at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 14, 2011 at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg. The cost for the class is $12. For reservations, call 649-4684 or visit the shop….

archer's gold thyme in Buffalo NY area

Herbs: versatile, tasty and easy to grow in Buffalo area

by Connie Oswald Stofko “People are so afraid of growing herbs, but herbs are easy to grow,” said Sue Duecker, past president of the Western New York Herb Study Group at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Duecker will present a free class called “All About Herbs” at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 14 at Zittel’s Country Market, Route 20 between South Park Ave. (Route 62) and McKinley Parkway in Hamburg. Although the event is free, please register at the…

lily of valley

Lily of valley is flower for May

by Connie Oswald Stofko Tiny yet powerfully fragrant, the lily of the valley (also called May bells)  is a favorite for spring gardens. It is the flower for birthdays in May and symbolizes sweetness, purity and return of happiness. The scientific name for the plant is Convallaria Majalis. Lily of the valley is easy to grow. It is a perennial, so it comes back every year. It spreads and keeps its green leaves all summer long, so it can be…

Spicy scented sweet peas are the flower for April

by Ruth Syron The sweet pea is a charming cool weather flower that is the April birth flower. It has a wonderful spicy, sweet scent that is delicate, yet substantial enough not to be missed. The sweet pea symbolizes “thank you for a lovely time.”  I think this meaning fits the scent of the sweet pea because experiencing the aroma is a fleeting pleasure, hard to describe, but you feel thankful that you have enjoyed it.  The sweet pea also…

miniature butterfly bush in Burt NY

New small shrubs are great for tight spaces– even containers!

by Connie Oswald Stofko A new trend in gardening is the development  of small bushes that fit nicely into tight spaces– some are even suitable for containers! These new varieties preserve the characteristics we enjoyed in the larger versions. One example of a smaller bush is ‘Bloomerang,’ a very fragrant reblooming lilac introduced two years ago that grows only  four or five feet tall. That’s not like your grandmother’s lilac, which might have gotten 10 feet tall, said Mark Van…