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…

rabbit in garden

More tips on managing deer, rabbits & other pests

by Connie Oswald Stofko We have already accumulated so many tips on keeping gardens safe from rabbits, deer and other pests that it surprises me to find that gardeners have found even more clever ways to deal with critters. Here are more tips that local gardeners have shared with me. Deer and rabbits Previously, we told you that placing dryer sheets in your garden could keep deer and rabbits away, but when the smell goes out of the dryer sheets,…

aphids on oxeye daisy

Winter bugs: how they get on indoor plants & what to do about it

by Steven Jakobi, Allegany County Master Gardener volunteer   One of the hardest things for me when the weather turns cold is to let go of my annuals. I mean, these are my babies. I started them from seed early in the spring, nurtured them throughout the summer, saw them flower and fruit and then, with the first hard frost, I have to see them perish. To prevent their demise, I bring as many of them as I can into the…

oak leaf with wilt

Now through February is time to prune oaks to protect against disease

Pruning oak trees now through the end of February can help protect the oaks from becoming infected with oak wilt, a fungal disease that can be deadly for oaks, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The disease is caused by the oak wilt fungus. One way oak wilt spreads is by the fungal spores hitching rides on insects. Sap beetles, one of the main culprits, are extremely attracted to fresh tree wounds. If you prune when the insects…

blood twig dogwood Midnight Fire

Look for ‘two-fers’ for your garden; hear more at PLANT WNY event

by Connie Oswald Stofko Home gardeners aren’t planting acres and acres of gardens anymore, so we have to get more out of the few plants we choose to include in our landscapes, Kerry Ann Mendez told me in a phone interview. The award-winning garden designer, author and lecturer noted that the two largest age groups in our country now are millennials and baby boomers, and both groups are choosing smaller spaces. Millennials are gravitating toward urban settings rather than sprawling suburbs, and…

machine moving tree

Variety of new trees replace infected ash trees through Leaf a Legacy project

by Connie Oswald Stofko The City of Buffalo used to have stately elms lining block after block– until Dutch elm disease wiped them out. Many of the elms were replaced by ash trees, but now the Emerald Ash Borer has taken its toll on the ash tree. The good news is that 64 of the ash trees on a section of Delaware Avenue were recently replaced through a Leaf a Legacy project, and the groups involved made sure that the…

cluster fly

How to deal with insects that move into your house in autumn in WNY

by Steven Jakobi, Master Gardener Volunteer, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County Autumn is a time for unwanted guests in the house. These insects are like squatters, moving in for the winter and looking for a place to ride out the cold months. In my house, we have to deal with cluster flies, Asian lady beetles and western conifer seed bugs. (Western conifer seed bugs are often confused with the marmorated stink bug.) Other folks I know also have occasional…

allium in pot and near bench

Now is the time to plant bulbs for spring flowers

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Alliums are flowers that people see in the spring, and they come in expecting to buy them,” said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville. “It’s showy and they think, ‘I’ve got to have that.’” Although these great flowers appear in spring, you have to plant them in fall. “Right now is the time to plant them,” Yadon said. You can plant them through mid-November, if you can still work the soil…

red lily leaf beetles mating

Could cedar mulch stop red lily leaf beetle?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Is it possible that there could be an easy way to keep the red lily leaf beetle from damaging lilies? A local gardener may have stumbled across a way: cedar mulch. John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, was contacted by the gardener. She had happened to put cedar mulch in the bed where she has lilies and discovered that the pests didn’t bother her lilies. “It might just be a coincidence”…

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…