garden trellis from old swing frame

Old swing frame is repurposed as a trellis for cucumbers

by Connie Oswald Stofko Phyllis Lobbins, a Master Gardener from Cheektowaga, had a swing frame that might have gone out to trash, but she came up with a great use for it: She made it into a trellis for her cucumbers and squash. “I used regular garden twine because that was all I had on hand at the time,” Lobbins said, “but I would prefer using nylon string, or something that would not break down as quickly as twine. “I…

reuse plastic container to protect garden plants

Can’t recycle those items anymore? Use them in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Now that we can’t recycle as many kinds of items as we did before, can we find ways to reuse them in our gardens? We already use lots of odds and ends in our gardens, but today let’s reach a little higher. Let’s look specifically at items that you can’t recycle anymore — items that get thrown in the trash and end up in a landfill. And let’s look at things that you were throwing into…

toad lily in Amherst NY

Create a beautiful autumn garden; see how Amherst gardener does it

  by Connie Oswald Stofko The many trees and shrubs in Connie Krueger’s backyard filtered the blazing afternoon sun. It was relaxing to be sheltered from the heat while being able to enjoy the colorful plants in both sunny and shady areas. And guess what? It was already after Labor Day! While your garden might peak in July, you can still enjoy your garden in autumn. Krueger shared her landscape during Open Gardens this summer, and her yard is still lovely…

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…