water in garden and closeup of slug

It’s a slug fest out there: dealing with slugs in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Everybody got some rain this past week, and some folks got a lot! Kathy Shadrack lives with her husband Mike on a hilly property in Hamburg. She edits the newsletters of the Western New Hosta Society and the Buffalo Area Daylily Society and included this in a recent hosta message: “We had a waterfall down our terraces and we have new mini-streams etched under our deck. Furthermore, our road was flooded—wait for it— at the TOP of…

fungus on crab apple

How to deal with fungus on crabapples, lilies

by Carol Sitarski Master Gardener, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County It’s raining, it’s pouring, and the fungal spores may be growing. This spring’s rain seemed to be nonstop. Don’t get me wrong— we needed rain to replenish our water tables, but with the good comes the bad. The bad is all the fungus that may start growing on our susceptible trees and plants. Already I have seen this happening on crabapple trees and Asiatic lilies in my area and…

hanging baskets in Springville NY

Weather is finally warm & there’s still time to plant

by Connie Oswald Stofko The spring was so wet and cold, everything is running two weeks behind. Gardeners couldn’t get plants in the ground when they wanted to. Perennials that should be in bloom now are lagging. The good news is that the weather now is great for planting. And the even better news is that there is still time to plant. “You can plant perennials throughout the season,” said Ethan Waterman, manager of Waterman’s Greenhouse, 12317 Vaughn St. (Route…

rose and buds in Amherst NY

Tips from Master Gardeners for June, plus wet weather tips

by Connie Oswald Stofko To prevent and treat diseases in roses, now is the time for weekly spraying, according to June’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. The tips on rose care are in the article on what to do in the garden in June. That article also tells you what you spray, including organic suggestions. The other articles in this month’s issue include one on the beautiful and…

hydrangea 'Diamond Rouge'

New plant suggestions: shade, shrub, annual

by Connie Oswald Stofko Whether you’re looking for something new or you need something to fit a particular need, check out these suggestions from Thompson Brothers Greenhouses, 8850 Clarence Center Rd., Clarence Center. Dawn Trippie-Thompson said that after they close their garden center for the summer, she and her husband travel to trade shows and test gardens to see the new introductions for the following year. Here are a few plants that are new to Thompson Brothers this season: a…

amorphophallus konjac

Buy a mini-Morty & more at Great Plant Sale at Botanical Gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko Remember Morty, the huge, stinky corpse flower that made its appearance at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens in 2014?  You can buy a smaller “cousin” of Morty to call your own at the Great Plant Sale. The voodoo lily, which smells like rotting meat, is one of the new offerings available this year at the Great Plant Sale to be held Thursday through Saturday, May 18-20 at the Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave.,…

stinging nettle

Stinging nettle: weed or crop?

by Paul Hetzler, Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County If you have a nettle patch, put away the weed killer and consider yourself lucky to have this tasty plant. Many gardeners don’t like stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) because they are painful to touch. The plants sprout little hypodermic needles on their stems, leaves and even flowers. These glass-like silica-based needles, called trichomes, inject a mixture of irritating chemicals upon contact. So why would you risk putting it in your…

Tropical annuals will brighten your landscape

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s time to start thinking about adding color to your summer garden with tropical annuals, said Ethan Waterman, manager of Waterman’s Greenhouse, 12317 Vaughn St. (Route 240), East Concord (Springville). While you can buy them now, it’s still too early to plant them outside because they need to be protected from the cold, Waterman said. You want to wait until the air temperatures, day and night, are above 55 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If you purchase…

hummingbird at Salvia

How to attract hummingbirds to your garden in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Hummingbirds are making their way back to Western New York, said Penny Durnin of North Tonawanda, moderator of the Hummingbird Forum. They’re hungry after their long trip, so now is a good time to hang your hummingbird feeder. You can track their migration on this map by Lanny Chambers at the Hummingbirds.net website. Dots are added as people send in reports that they have spotted ruby-throated hummingbirds. Durnin has very generously shared lots of great information…

soil and trowel

What you can do now in the garden, plus more tips from Master Gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko We had glorious weather on Sunday and Monday, and many of us took the opportunity to get out into our yards. There are some things you can plant in April– if your garden is dry enough. Digging in soil that is too wet may cause compaction and poor drainage later in the season. To figure out if your soil is dry enough, give it the squeeze test. If you squeeze a handful of soil and it…