soap slivers to keep deer and rabbits out of your garden

Simple and cheap tips for preventing deer & rabbits from eating your plants

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can never have too many tips for keeping deer and rabbits away from our plants. Even if we find something that works, the animals often get used to that technique and we have to try something else. Here are a bunch of tips. One is from me, but the rest are ones that local gardeners have shared with me. (These tips are often shared in quick conversations, so I often don’t have the name of…

gardens along fence in Hamburg Garden Walk

Double lot is filled with gardens; see it on Hamburg Garden Walk

by Connie Oswald Stofko When Julie Anderhalt was looking for a house in 1989, it was a seller’s market. A house would go on the market and it would be bought in an hour. So when she found a house she liked and realized someone else was interested in it, she quickly put in an offer. It was a whirlwind, she said, but her offer was accepted. Later she asked the owner of the house who owned the lot next…

shrubs in garden in Lancaster NY

Shrubs & trees rescued from the trash find good homes in Lancaster

by Connie Oswald Stofko There’s something you wouldn’t guess when you look at the garden island in the backyard of Ron and Kathleen Krebs on South Irwinwood, Lancaster. All of those shrubs and trees, including the large arborvitae on one end and the red twig dogwood on the other, were picked out of the trash. And they’re not the only plants in the Krebs’ yards that were rescued. About 50 “orphaned” shrubs and trees that had been tossed to the…

rooster made of fieldstone

Even your garden decorations can be sustainable; see rock sculptures at Lockwood’s

by Connie Oswald Stofko We’re concerned about how our gardening practices affect the environment, and that concern can extend to the ornaments we use in our garden, too. You can get garden decorations made with stones and rocks that are not only charming, they were created using sustainable practices. These garden ornaments are available at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg. You can also find them at the Lockwood’s booth at Plantasia, fitting this year’s theme of “Plantasia Rocks.” Plantasia…

raised bed made with cinder blocks

Are cinder blocks OK for vegetable gardens? Answers to that & other soil safety questions

by Connie Oswald Stofko Is it safe to use cinder blocks in a raised bed, or might chemicals from the concrete blocks leach out of the blocks to contaminate your soil and food plants you grow there? Can you use pressure treated lumber? Can you grow food plants in the hellstrip, the area between the street and sidewalk? John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, responded to my questions on soil safety. Cinder blocks in raised…

red tire container garden in Buffalo NY

Vertical garden made from old gutters draws attention on last garden walk of year

by Connie Oswald Stofko “We just really like recycling,” said Carrie Madigan, who gardens with her mother Patty Connors at 180 Crowley Ave., Buffalo. “I don’t want to buy something super expensive if I can make it.” Visitors saw many examples of her creative gardening on a budget during the 11th annual Black Rock & Riverside Tour of Gardens held Aug. 1. The Starry Night Garden Tour was held during the evening. It was the last garden walk of the…

guests on front steps looking at garden

Owners add personal touches to established perennial garden in Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko The established perennial garden in the front yard of 166 York St., Buffalo, was an added incentive for Nick and Marideth Heim to buy the home three years ago. That garden was one of more than 400 landscapes that were shared on Garden Walk Buffalo on July 25 and 26. Garden Walk Buffalo is the largest garden walk in the nation. Many of the streets were crowded with visitors, and free shuttles drove tourists among the…

wooden box holds annuals in Lockport

Containers decorated by gardener add charm to Lockport yard

by Connie Oswald Stofko The gardens of Pat Arnold are filled with many flowers, including 30 rose bushes, but if you pause to look more closely, you’ll notice other elements that add to the gardens’ beauty. You might call it Buffalo-style garden art, or you might dub it upcycling. “It’s artwork I do from odds and ends I pick up,” she said. “I just look for things that people put out at the curb, or things at Salvation Army or…

tea house in Lancaster NY

Feel transported across the world in backyard tea garden in Lancaster

by Connie Oswald Stofko “Everyone comes to see the back,” said Rich Groblewski as he gave me a tour last week of his landscape at 14 Lombardy St., Lancaster. It seems like a nice suburban yard with a new arbor (the old one was crushed under seven feet of snow in the Snowvember storm), a fire pit, small pond and flowering plants. But walk a little farther back and you’ll see a path lined with bright red railings. Follow the…

evening sun on gauzy tent in backyard in Buffalo

Create an elegant landscape on a budget with tips from Buffalo gardener

by Connie Oswald Stofko Pat Bobo has an elegant landscape filled with flowers, shrubs, fruits and vegetables, but she doesn’t spend a lot of money on plants. One example is the lush grape vine she picked up for a dollar. When she bought the plant, it was on its last legs, she said, but now it’s thriving. “I don’t like paying over $4 or $5 for a plant,” Bobo said. “I pride myself on getting things for a dollar or…