fruit fly trap in Buffalo NY

What can you do about pesky fruit flies? Please help this reader

by Connie Oswald Stofko Here’s a question from a reader: Dear Connie, We are annoyed by fruit flies. I have a few in every room. I have put out small dishes of apple cider vinegar, commercial “fruit fly trap,” sprayed the dirt in my plants with bug spray, no change. I have no fruit or food on counters. Actually, I think there are none in the kitchen, however, they are in the bathroom (no plants there). There is no one…

Tips: Keep cats from eating plants and keep bees from bothering you

by Connie Oswald Stofko I had a great time recently speaking to the Silver Creek Hanover Garden Club. What a fun group! They gave me a some great tips that I want to share with you. A member has trouble with cats eating her indoor plants. What can she plant that cats won’t eat? One audience member suggested aloe. Her cat chomped on her aloe plant– but only once. Apparently the cat didn’t like the pointy parts. Well, the questioner…

healthy impatiens in Lancaster NYJune 2013 closeup

How are your impatiens doing? Please let Cornell expert know

by Connie Oswald Stofko Margery Daughtrey, senior extension associate with Cornell University who co-wrote a fact sheet on how downy mildew affects impatiens, would like to know how your impatiens are doing. “I saw a photo last week of an impatiens in the Buffalo area with the distinctive white sporulation on the under-surface of the leaves– definitely downy mildew,” Daughtrey said. Daughtrey provided us last year with a photo showing the disease, which you can see below. “Have any of…

coleus replaces impatiens in front yard on Garden Walk Buffalo 2013

Gardeners make substitutes for impatiens on Garden Walk Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko During last year’s Garden Walk Buffalo, mounds of impatiens were flowering robustly at 689 West Delavan, Buffalo.  But just a few weeks later, the impatiens were dropping their leaves. By September, the impatiens were gone, a victim of downy mildew.  This year, Luis Martinez and Jeff Wilson were among the gardeners who had to find different plants to use in shady areas. I visited them during Garden Walk Buffalo, held July 27 and 28. With 376…

Help save trees when you clean your pool filter– look for invasive beetles

While you’re cleaning your pool filter, look for Asian longhorned beetles, an invasive species that can cause serious damage to our trees including the sugar maple. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is seeking help from pool owners during its second annual Asian longhorned beetle Swimming Pool Survey taking place now through Aug. 30. Even if you don’t have a pool, you can submit photos of suspected Asian longhorned beetles to foresthealth@gw.dec.state.ny.us. This is the time of…

rustic village scene in Lancaster NY garden

Vignettes by gardener are backdrop to Lancaster mini-walks

Karen Deutschlander of 36 Stephens Ct., Lancaster, thinks that gardening is less about growing plants and more about decorating. That makes her gardens a welcoming backdrop to Art in the Gardens, the first of three mini-walks to be held by the Lancaster Garden Walk in conjunction with Lancaster’s Old Home Days. Art in the Gardens will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 30. Six artists will display their work in six gardens. Works of Conrad Borucki, a…

Peaceful backyard will join 30 other yards on Hamburg garden walk

“My favorite time is the morning and night,” said Marg Rust as she surveyed the garden beds in her backyard at 71 Rosedale, Hamburg. “That’s when you get the filtered sun reflected off the pond. It’s so peaceful. “It’s good for the psyche and the soul to surround yourself with things that are beautiful.” She pointed out a pond plant, which you can see in the first photo. The plant at the bottom left with a spikey ball at the…

With rainy weather, watch for slugs, plant diseases in Western New York

With all this rain in Western New York, it looks more like April than June. John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, said some gardeners have water ponding in their yards, and yesterday he saw someone’s riding lawn mower stuck in the mud. We had a dry spring in Western New York, but so far this month we’ve had about twice the average amount of rain we would get during that period. This weather poses some…

Question on spotty mint, plus more gardening news

What’s the problem with this mint– and oregano, too? Jackie Fialkowski Gatas contacted me with this question: Does anyone happen to know what is happening with my mint? It’s also starting to show on my oregano. Don’t know if it’s a bug or a fungus. Thanks guys. Readers, can you help Jackie? If so, please leave a comment below. Background Sometimes readers contact me with questions that I can’t answer. I’m not a gardening expert– I’m a writer by profession….

Cheektowaga gardener stays organized with careful notes

Chet Okonczak can tell you the name of every plant in his garden, and if he’s not sure of a name, he can easily look it up. Organized in a three-ring photo album are hand-drawn maps of each plant in the six beds in his backyard at 38 Brentwood, Cheektowaga. On the same page are photos of that bed at various times of the year. In the pocket on the back of the page he keeps the plant tags so…