moth orchid or phalaenopsis close up

If you’re itching to garden, try easy-to-grow orchids

by Connie Oswald Stofko Your garden looks beautiful under its blanket of snow, but you may be missing the beautiful blooms it offered during the warmer months. If you’re looking for a way to grow flowers indoors over the winter, try orchids. People think they’re difficult to grow, but modern orchid hybridizing has created a wide variety of orchids that you can grow easily inside your home, said Joseph A. DiDomenico Jr., president of the Niagara Frontier Orchid Society. What…

Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light' in Amherst NY

The grass that made me cry, and my best organic gardening tip ever

Adventures in Organic Gardening By Laura Sileo-Lepkyj It was potting day last weekend. Oh, how I expected the tears to flow. We’ll be moving in January and I had made a list of a few of the rarer items in my garden that I want to take with me: the newly planted peach tree saplings, the purchased but luckily never planted Japanese holly, the similarly unplanted Corylus avellana “Contorta.” Since the ground will be frozen solid when we move, I…

H. Blue Mouse Ears sports in bowl by Mike Shadrack

Intrigued by ‘little’ hostas? Here are tips on caring for them

  by Connie Oswald Stofko “This is the ideal climate for hostas,” said Mike Shadrack. “They like a harsh winter. You can’t grow them in Florida or Texas.” Mike and his wife, Kathy Guest Shadrack, have written The Book of Little Hostas: 200 Small, Very Small, and Mini Varieties. Last week, they introduced us to this plant that enjoys a cult following, and in this article they share some tips on caring for little hostas. (By the way, the proper…

Mike and Kathy Guest Shadrack of Hamburg

Hamburg authors write first book ever published on popular “little” hostas

by Connie Oswald Stofko The wife-and-husband team of Kathy Guest Shadrack and Michael Shadrack of Hamburg has written The Book of Little Hostas: 200 Small, Very Small and Mini Varieties, which is scheduled to be released Nov. 24.  “Little hostas are very, very popular at the moment, and their popularity is ascending,” Mike said. “They have a cult following,” Kathy added. “People collect them like tea cups or Hummel figurines.” The Book of Little Hostas is the first published on…

straw flower in Amherst NY

Stretch the season with frost-tolerant annuals

by Connie Oswald Stofko We’ve had a frost, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon flower gardening for the year. You can stretch the season well into November with frost-tolerant annuals. While many people are familiar with mums and pansies, there are many more choices, such as the straw flower, seen here. “Many people have them as annuals during the summertime, but they don’t realize the straw flower is frost tolerant,” said Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s Florist…

garlic in Buffalo area

Get ready to plant garlic, and try different varieties

by Connie Oswald Stofko Garlic is a must-have for the kitchen, and it grows well in Western New York. What you might not know is that it comes in an amazing range of flavors, said Tom Szulist. He and his wife Vivianne Singer Szulist own Singer Farm Naturals, which specializes in growing organic gourmet garlic. “Spanish Roja is the king of all garlics,” Szulist said, pointing to some of the garlic he has harvested on the farm in Appleton, which…

waterfall in Youngstown NY

Youngstown garden is influenced by Philippines

by Connie Oswald Stofko “As you can tell, I like the ripple of water,” said Jaime Pabilonia. He and his wife Linda have many water features in the gardens of  “Waterscape,” their Youngstown home. “I was born in a place with a waterfall,” said Jaime , who is originally from the Philippines. When he moved from the Philippines, he chose to settle in Niagara Falls because the falls is one of the natural wonders of the world. Jaime and Linda,…

glacier winter hardy ivy on display in Buffalo

Take a peek at some of the 400 varieties of ivy on display in Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a peek at some of the approximately 400 varieties of ivy that you can see during the Victorian Week and Ivy Show that is running until this Sunday, Oct. 3 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The show is brought to you in part by the Western New York Ivy Society. The Botanical Gardens houses the largest public ivy collection in…

caryopteris wide angle

Mums are nice, but think outside the box for autumn color in your garden

Adventures in Organic Gardening By Laura Sileo-Lepkyj Mums are everywhere now. Heck, you can even buy them at gas stations. I’ve got fifteen dollars on pump number three, this Slim Jim, and oh, a burgundy cushion mum, please. While I do love mums’ bushy blooms and their pungent smell, I have other plant friends that bring a different look to my garden. Rest assured they require only loving neglect, as I’ve talked about in previous columns. Caryopteris “Sunshine Blue,” seen…

ivy arch in Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens

Beautiful and versatile, ivy gets its own exhibit at Botanical Gardens in Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you think ivy is boring, you don’t know ivy. Consider: Ivy can be grown indoors and outdoors. It can be sculpted into topiaries small enough to fit on a tabletop, or grown into huge swags that drape across an entire room. Ivy is lovely by itself in a pot, but it can also be used in window boxes and flower arrangements. An ivy plant can live 100 years or longer. An adult ivy becomes a…