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…

Spirea japonica Double Play Candy Corn

‘Candy Corn’ has different looks on one shrub; orders for Great Plant Sale due April 7

  by Connie Oswald Stofko A shrub that has different looks from spring through summer is just one of the exciting plants that is being offered through the Great Plant Sale of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Hurry and order– The deadline to pre-order is Friday, April 7, and some of the popular plants get sold out. See the entire pre-order list and place orders online. No orders will be shipped; you will pick up your plants at…

chokeberry

Plantasia preview: Plants that look good & taste good, too

by Connie Oswald Stofko We buy plants with our eyes, said Ken Parker, CNLP, native plant expert and consultant. But when we choose plants that are edible as well as beautiful, we make our garden functional. “Plants are not just for aesthetics,” Parker said. And the edible plants that he recommends also attract pollinators, “so it’s win, win, win.” In this article, he shares some recommendations for trees and plants that that not only look attractive in our landscape, they…

daffodils sprouting

Bulb plants might be hurt by low temps & wind, but snow helps

by Connie Oswald Stofko Last week, the daffodils along my driveway were progressing so quickly I thought the blooms might be finished before Easter. Today, they’re covered in snow. That may be a good thing. In February, we had springlike temperatures in the 60s and even 70s, but now we have gotten down into the teens. People are worried about their bulb plants such as daffodils and tulips, and it’s possible that those frigid temperatures, combined with winds, could damage…

butterfly weed

Why you should plant butterfly weed, plus more tips from Master Gardeners

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a butterfly magnet. It’s a native plant and doesn’t get serious diseases. Not only that, deer usually avoid it. The only negative thing about the plant is that it has “weed” in its name, according to an article in this month’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. See that article about butterfly weed here. You can also read about: A disease affecting spinach plants….

spring bulbs sprouting

What does this warm weather mean for your WNY garden?

by Connie Oswald Stofko We’ve been enjoying weather in the 50s, and it might go up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the next few days. What does this mean for our gardens in Western New York? Spring bulbs First, if the snow in your yard has melted, you’re probably seeing spring bulbs such as daffodils and hyacinths sprouting. That’s usual for this time of year, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. If you didn’t…