Slow-growing shrubs create low-maintenance garden; backyard is full of perennials

by Connie Oswald Stofko Barb Ciesla and her husband Henry had a front yard with a line of yew bushes straight across the front. She wanted something more interesting and decided to redo the entire front. “I’m 60 years old and I don’t want to do it all again,” Ciesla said. “I don’t want to have to redo it in five years because things got too big. I wanted things that grow very slowly.” She spent the entire winter researching…

Clay, tree roots & shade: Get tips in this video

by Connie Oswald Stofko I love Western New York gardeners. I tried waiting out the rain Sunday, but it just kept getting worse, so around 1 p.m. I made my way out to the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View, a garden walk that covers parts of Amherst and Cheektowaga. I stopped at the home of Terrie and Jerry Newman at 194 Lamarck Dr. The description on the map said they had struggled with clay soil, something that a lot of Western New…

stone patio in Buffalo NY

Newcomers to Buffalo like how garden evolves with help from neighbors

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Going into my garden is like going into another world,”  said Lyne Richmond.  “It’s very peaceful. “So much of what’s in my garden is from my neighbors, and that gives it more meaning.” Lyne and her husband Ken live at 81 Larchmont Rd., Buffalo. You can see their garden during the Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk in the University area of Buffalo and Amherst from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 12. Maps will be…

gazebo at Buffalo Botanical Gardens

Enjoy outdoor gardens every day of the week at Botanical Gardens; if it rains, see exhibits inside

by Connie Oswald Stofko Do you realize you can visit gardens every day of the week in Western New York? There are garden walks as part of the National Garden Festival every weekend through Aug. 2. Open Gardens continue on Thursdays and Friday through the end of July. And each day you can visit the outdoor gardens of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo. I think a lot of visitors to the Botanical Gardens…

Got clay or rocks in your soil? Use pallets to create a raised bed– It’s simple!

by Connie Oswald Stofko You may be reluctant to start a new garden bed if you have a site that’s less than ideal. Maybe it’s full of stones that you would have to sift out or pick out by hand. Or maybe the soil is compacted or riddled with clay, so you face the prospect of having to work in lots and lots of compost to break it up. An easier solution is to create raised beds using pallets. This idea…

Amaryllis is great flower to grow indoors now; see show under way now at Botanical Gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko The amaryllis is a favorite flower for Western New York gardeners to grow indoors at this time of year because there’s not much going on bloom-wise outdoors. Amaryllis bulbs are popular holiday gifts. My niece, Carrie Hoffman of Cheektowaga, got one and started charting its amazing growth. The plant can grow 1 1/2 inches a day! Amaryllis gets tall and has huge, trumpet-shaped flowers. It’s quite a spectacular plant. Find out how to care for your…

Four spectacular ways to use succulents in your garden or home

by Connie Oswald Stofko The wonderful shows at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens can give you lots of great ideas that you can use in your own garden or home. Here are four spectacular looks from last year’s succulent show that you could adapt for your own home. Get more ideas at this year’s succulent show to be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from Saturday, Sept. 7 to Sunday, Oct. 6 at the Botanical Gardens,…

sand by bar and pond in barckyard in Buffalo NY

‘Beachside bar’ is relaxing spot in Riverside backyard

by Connie Oswald Stofko With water, fish, sand and a bar, it’s like a vacation resort in the backyard of Jim and Linda Whittaker, 56 Evelyn St., in the Riverside area of Buffalo. The Whittakers  shared their gardens Aug. 3 during the Black Rock and Riverside Tour of Gardens, which included the evening Starry Night Garden Tour. This was the final garden walk of the National Garden Festival in 2013. The bar essentials, including a refrigerator and a draft beer…

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…

Amherst backyard with lavish gardens was setting for wedding

by Connie Oswald Stofko Pam Weinrieb  loved her home at 445 Lebrun Rd., Amherst, but she didn’t like how it looked in the front. So for years she concentrated her gardening efforts on the front. When her son decided to get married and wanted the 2011 ceremony in her backyard, she turned her attention to the backyard. The result is a 1.3-acre lot filled with lavish gardens. I visited during the Amherst Garden Walk, held July 20. Above you can…