lilacs in Amherst NY

Don’t wait to prune early-blooming shrubs

The time to prune shrubs that bloom before the middle of June is right after they flower, according to an article in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. If you wait too long and prune them after they have set next year’s buds, you will lose the flower production next year. Early-blooming shrubs that you shouldn’t wait to prune include lilac, deutzia, kerria, Philadelphus, forsythia, viburnum, St. John’s…

adult spotted lanternfly

Spotted lanternfly (SLF) can damage plants & keep you inside; please report sightings

  Please be on the lookout for an invasive insect called the spotted lanternfly (SLF). Not only can it damage many kinds of plants, it can secrete so much messy “honeydew” that people can’t go outside without getting honeydew on their hair and clothes, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The SLF was first found in Pennsylvania in 2014. A single, dead SLF adult was found in New York this past autumn. The SLF  is an invasive pest from…

pest and weeds in spring

6 pests & weeds to watch out for during spring in WNY

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Now is the time that certain troublesome insects and weeds can show up in your garden, and now is the time to take action. Today we’ll talk about six insects and weeds to watch out for in spring: red lily leaf beetle, ticks, mosquitoes, lesser celandine, creeping Charlie and crabgrass. Red lily leaf beetle Calls have started coming in from gardeners who have spotted the red lily leaf beetle, so it’s time to look closely…

lilacs in Amherst NY

Lilac tips and more from Master Gardeners

Lilacs, a staple of spring in Western New York, don’t like wet feet, according to an article in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. They will do best on hillsides or on level ground with good drainage. The article “This Month in the Garden” suggests giving lilacs a top dressing of compost worked into the soil to help retain water. Fertilize with a high-phosphorus formula in early spring; too…

plant sprout in spring by Stofko in Amherst

Early bird may get only muddy boots– don’t rush your garden

With all this cold, snowy weather, it seems like spring will never get here. Don’t worry; milder temperatures are on their way. But don’t rush into your garden at the first whiff of warm weather. “Be patient, take your time, and take time for your garden to get ready for you,” said Peggy Koppmann in “This Month in the Garden,” one of the three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters. “Remember, the early bird may get nothing more than…

plastic bottle protecting sprout

Tips on deer, composting & more for Western New York

  by Connie Oswald Stofko I am fortunate that so many Western New Yorkers share gardening tips with me. People often share tips with me after I give a talk. Unfortunately, I am so busy scribbling down notes about the tips themselves that I don’t always get the name of the person who shared the tip. My apologies. Today I’ll share a few of the tips I’ve accumulated. If you have a tip that worked for you, you can share…

orchid dyed blue

Don’t be misled by gardening myths; learn more at Plantasia

by Connie Oswald Stofko “I finally got fed up with the baloney I saw on the Internet,” said Carolyn Stanko, associate professor of horticulture and biology at Niagara County Community College and a senior CNLP. She’d see posts of bogus gardening information, but other readers would think it was true and share it. “I finally had to stand up and preach the truth!” she said. She will help you separate gardening fact from fiction when she presents “Garden Myth Busting –…

soil in garden

Why pH uses that weird scale & other great info from WNY Gardening Matters

Why is pH expressed with numbers on such a weird scale? Carol Ann Harlos, Master Gardener, answers that question and offers more useful information about pH in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Erie County Cornell Cooperative Extension.  The way we measure acidity has to do with the taste of beer, Harlos explains in her article. A slight change in acidity can result in a big change in the taste of beer, so…

eastern mole

Moles and voles creating holes: What to do

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Over the years, I have heard gardeners complain about moles and voles, so when I saw a mole in my garden a couple weeks ago, I freaked out. After talking to John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, I’m much more relaxed. Now I have a plan. And my plan is to do nothing. (I’ve already started. It doesn’t get easier than this.) First, let’s sort out the difference between moles…

path to lovely vegetable garden in Lancaster

Gorgeous vegetable garden is focus of Lancaster landscape

  by Connie Oswald Stofko In the past, people would hide their vegetable gardens in a back corner of the yard. That’s changing, and more and more people boldly display their veggies in garden beds among their ornamental plants. One problem is that vegetables often need even more protection from critters than ornamental plants do. Jane Bednarczyk protects her vegetable plants, and she does it in a way that’s not only attractive, it’s a focal point of the yard. Bednarczyk…