arabis 'Spring Charm'

Gardens to Go: A flat of perennials that suits your garden’s needs

by Connie Oswald Stofko Want more color throughout the season? Have a problem with deer? What native plants are good for a garden? How can you attract hummingbirds or butterflies? There’s an easy answer to all these conundrums: Gardens to Go. Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville is creating flats of perennials on different themes, such as Constant Color, Western New York Natives, Deer Resistant and Butterflies. Each flat contains 12 different varieties of plants on that theme, for a…

yard covered in lesser celandine

Act now to get rid of lesser celandine

_____ by Connie Oswald Stofko Lesser celandine is an invasive weed that can take over your lawn and gardens. “Whatever you do, don’t ignore it,” said Master Gardener Lyn Chimera. It’s pretty, but… Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna, formerly Ranunculus ficaria) is easy to ignore, Chimera acknowledges. It’s a spring ephemeral and dies back, so it’s easy to forget about it once it disappears–but it will return. And because it’s pretty, many people don’t recognize it as a weed. Chimera was one…

Spotted lanternfly egg masses

Report egg masses that might be spotted lantern fly in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko Now is the time to watch for and report egg masses of the spotted lanternfly (SLF). It’s an invasive pest from Asia that feeds on a variety of plants including grapes, hops and maple trees, posing a severe threat to New York forests and agriculture. You can volunteer with NY iMapInvasives to look for SLF and its preferred host plant, tree-of-heaven, which is also an invasive species. Controlling infestations of the tree can help stop the spread…

Four tips to keep deer from eating your plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko We can never get enough tips on ways to keep deer from damaging plants. Some of these ideas may work for you and some may not. And even if the technique you’re using does work, it may stop working after a while, so you have to try something new. Here are four new tips on dealing with deer in your garden. Recipe for deer deterrent Michael Sheehan of the Western New York Hosta Society says this…

rabbit with daisies

Roses can help save other plants from rabbits

by Connie Oswald Stofko I was intrigued by this tip. I have rabbits in my yard, and in the spring they munch on everything, including my rose bushes. But here is a way to use the canes from rose bushes to protect your other plants from hungry rabbits. This tip was shared by a reader named Susan: We had problems with rabbits munching our morning glory vines (or any lovely vine, for that matter). When I trimmed the rose bushes,…

baskets on top of hosta plants

Tip to keep voles from damaging hostas

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here is a tip about voles from Kathy Guest Shadrack, board member and communication liaison with the Western New York Hosta Society. She has a problem with voles even though hawks, foxes and coyotes visit her gardens. In order to give her garden a fighting chance, she covers the crowns of her hostas with baskets she got from a dollar store. If the crown is really large, she chooses deer netting instead of a basket. She…

autumn leaves on trees

Quiz time: What do you know about gardening in WNY?

by Connie Oswald Stofko How much do you know about gardening in Western New York? Here’s a fun quiz that will allow you to test your knowledge. Some questions are easy, but one or two might trip you up. You can see the answers below along with a link for more information. 1. What can you do with autumn leaves? A. Put them in your compost B. Spread them around your perennials C. Start a new garden D. All of…

birch bark

Find better alternatives to silver birch in WNY Gardening Matters

People love the beauty of silver birch trees (Betula pendula) but have realized that variety is short lived and susceptible to the birch borer. Find other native alternatives that are more interesting in this article by Lyn Chimera. It’s in the current issue of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. “Remember, if you want to plant a tree always check for an appropriate native first,” Chimera said. Other articles in this…

brown marmorated stink bug near window

These stink bugs won’t harm you or house; may damage plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko Gardeners are once again beginning to notice brown marmorated stink bugs flying and crawling in their homes. These invasive pests are looking for a place to spend the winter. They don’t pose any harm to humans and they won’t damage your home. However, they are ugly and annoying in your house. They make a loud buzzing when they fly and a big thump when they land. When you squish them, they stink. More important, they feed on…

raised garden beds keep out deer

How to have a productive garden when you’ve got deer & kids

by Connie Oswald Stofko When Lindsay and Timothy Dzielski had their garden in the backyard, the deer ate everything. The groundhog and squirrels got a share, too. The garden also competed for space with all of the kids’ toys. So in March, when things suddenly closed down because of the pandemic, they tried something new. They built raised beds in a dead space along their driveway. “This is how you enjoy gardening while you enjoy wildlife,” Timothy said. “People never…