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…

Two questions from readers: million bells get brown, bleach on roses

Question #1: What should you do about million bells that get brown? Here’s a question from reader Jim Barbati: “Every year in mid-August my million bells begin to brown out on the underside of the plant. I think the cause may be white flies. Any ideas about how to control this? Thank you.”Question #2: Can you save a rose that was damaged by bleach? Here’s a question from Charlotte Luksic: “I sprayed my roses with water and bleach. Is there…

lesser celandine in Buffalo NY by Mike Fabrizio

It’s pretty, but invasive– Get rid of lesser celandine

Mike Fabrizio, a reader, recently sent along this photo and asked this question: “Just wondering what this weed is called and how to treat it on my lawn. Thanks!” This particular plant has special interest for me because it is growing in my neighborhood. When I first noticed it growing on my neighbor’s lawn a few years ago, I thought about  digging some up and planting it my garden because the flowers are so pretty. But I hesitated– If that…

Impatiens are dying; choose alternative shade plants instead

by Connie Oswald Stofko For decades, impatiens has been the go-to flower for the shade. But now that a blight is wiping out these wonderful flowers, you’ll have to rethink your plant choices for shady gardens. Some garden centers won’t sell impatiens at all this year, while others will grow a limited supply but will sell them without guarantees. Don’t expect to find impatiens at all next year. What should you plant instead? A couple of local events can help…

Broccoli from Burpee

It’s almost time to plant cool-weather veggies in Buffalo area

You’ll be able to plant cool-weather vegetables soon, said Julie Emerling, who is in charge of herbs and vegetables at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg. People know the rule of thumb is that you wait until Memorial Day to do most of your planting. That’s because for many of our plants, we need to wait until the danger of frost has passed and we have warm weather. The vegetables that we’re talking about today should be planted earlier because…