heuchera in Amherst

What perennials should you cut back in autumn & which add winter interest?

There are still lots of things you can do in the garden now. The Master Gardeners of Erie County have posted new articles in WNY Gardening Matters, including one on what to do in the garden in October. One of the tasks addressed was cutting back perennials. For winter interest, many gardeners like to leave rudbeckia, butterfly weed, mums, heuchera and grasses standing, said author Peggy Koppmann. But there are some perennials that just get ugly after frost and are…

How to overwinter tuberous begonias in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a question from a reader: I have beautiful tuberous begonias that I want to overwinter. Do I have to take them out of the soil or can I bring the window box in? Rosemary K. Lyons, Buffalo I thought this was a question many readers might be interested in, so I took it to David Clark, a nationally known gardening educator who teaches the Horticulture I and Horticulture II classes at the Buffalo and Erie…

butterfly on aster in autumn

Hot autum weather breaks records; what it means for your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit– 22 degrees above normal– on Sunday at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, breaking the previous record of 88 degrees set in 2010. When I called the National Weather Service in Buffalo early Monday afternoon to find out about this hot autumn weather, it was already 89 degrees, breaking the previous record of 87 set in 2007. Not only is it unusual to have temperatures that are so much above normal, but…

Can you deadhead oakleaf hydrangea?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a question from a reader: Hello , I was wondering if you know if it would be OK for me to deadhead my oakleaf hydrangea or if that would negatively affect next year’s blooms somehow. Seems OK to me but thought I would check before I do it! Donna, Town of Tonawanda First: Deadheading means cutting off the dead flower. I’m not a gardening expert, but there are lots of gardening experts in Western New…

hose in autumn garden

Don’t give up on your garden– keep watering!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Our summer was so wet, you may have fallen out of the habit of watering your plants. But the last few days have been hot and dry, and we may have a little more summer-like weather on the way. And even when our weather becomes more autumn-like, you need to keep watering! Don’t give up on your garden now! Here’s why: You probably have wonderful plants in your garden that you’ve been enjoying this summer– and…

black-eyed Susans in Amherst New York

Share your extra plants in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Doesn’t it break your heart to throw a wonderful plant on the compost pile just because you don’t have room for it in your garden? MAP (Massachusetts Avenue Project) wants your extra plants, and I bet there are other organizations across Western New York that would love healthy plants, too. MAP wants to create a beautiful fence line at their new farmhouse. They’re looking for perennial flowers, herbs and fruit plants. All donated plants must be…

coreopsis

5 reasons why you should plant perennials in autumn; there are fall annuals, too

by Connie Oswald Stofko Yes, you can plant perennials now, and there are advantages to planting in autumn rather than waiting for spring. While some people say you can plant perennials into October, the folks at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses recommend getting them in the ground by mid-September to make sure they get established before the first frost. The first frost can vary from year to year, and when you should expect your first frost depends on where in Western…

You planted white phlox, so how did you get pink flowers?

by Connie Oswald Stofko I got my white phlox from a neighbor maybe 20 years ago. They’re beautiful and dependable and slightly fragrant and I love them. But in the past several years I’ve been getting flowers that show up pink or slightly pink. Why? A lot of phlox are hybrids, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Two different plants are crossed to get the new plant. Without warning, the hybrid can revert back…

six-pack of deer-resistant perennials

Pick up– or send– a six-pack of can’t-miss perennials

by Connie Oswald Stofko Some gardeners know exactly what plant they want and can ask for it by its Latin name. Then there are others, like me, who just have a vague idea of the plant they want. Something that deer don’t like, or something that hummingbirds or butterflies do like. Or maybe native plants because they’re usually easy to maintain. If you’re not sure where to go from there, Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses can help. “We take the complexity…

illustration for Meet the Authors in Buffalo

Are coffee grounds good for roses, plus why you should attend Meet the Authors

by Connie Oswald Stofko Does sprinkling coffee grounds around roses really help the plants grow? Yes, it’s true that roses like coffee grounds, but they also like banana peels and egg shells, said C.L. Fornari, author of the book Coffee for Roses: …and 70 Other Misleading Myths About Backyard Gardening. In fact, roses like any kind of organic matter. “People have been throwing their breakfast leavings around roses for years,” she said, but if you don’t want your roses to…