Hidden ‘factory’ is what makes this garden gorgeous

  by Connie Oswald Stofko My photos, taken in harsh afternoon sunlight, don’t do justice to the landscape of Molly and Douglas Mailey, which I saw on the Hamburg Garden Walk in July. Molly has lush and colorful garden beds. Just by looking, you may be able to pick up on some of the techniques she uses to add beauty to her landscape. She has shady areas, and chooses her plants well to fit the lighting conditions. Her garden beds curve and are…

sunchokes in Western New York

Septembers are getting warmer in most of WNY; what gardeners can do

  by Connie Oswald Stofko If you were still running your air conditioner on Friday, you won’t be surprised to hear that so far September was 6 degrees warmer than normal in Buffalo. That information comes from Dan Kelly, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo. While that data goes from Sept. 1 to the end of yesterday (Sept. 24), we are now in for a cooling period with more normal temperatures, he said. But we should probably expect this…

pest and weeds in spring

6 pests & weeds to watch out for during spring in WNY

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Now is the time that certain troublesome insects and weeds can show up in your garden, and now is the time to take action. Today we’ll talk about six insects and weeds to watch out for in spring: red lily leaf beetle, ticks, mosquitoes, lesser celandine, creeping Charlie and crabgrass. Red lily leaf beetle Calls have started coming in from gardeners who have spotted the red lily leaf beetle, so it’s time to look closely…

lilacs in Amherst NY

Lilac tips and more from Master Gardeners

Lilacs, a staple of spring in Western New York, don’t like wet feet, according to an article in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. They will do best on hillsides or on level ground with good drainage. The article “This Month in the Garden” suggests giving lilacs a top dressing of compost worked into the soil to help retain water. Fertilize with a high-phosphorus formula in early spring; too…

soil in garden

Why pH uses that weird scale & other great info from WNY Gardening Matters

Why is pH expressed with numbers on such a weird scale? Carol Ann Harlos, Master Gardener, answers that question and offers more useful information about pH in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters, produced by the Master Gardeners of Erie County Cornell Cooperative Extension.  The way we measure acidity has to do with the taste of beer, Harlos explains in her article. A slight change in acidity can result in a big change in the taste of beer, so…

map of climate zones in Western New York

Our growing season is longer: What gardeners need to know about climate change in WNY

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Our growing season in Western New York is longer than it used to be– two weeks longer than it was in 1965, according to Stephen Vermette, professor of geography in the Department of Geography & Planning at Buffalo State College. Now the growing season starts about a week earlier in spring and lasts about a week longer in autumn. This is just one of the findings of Vermette’s research into how climate change is affecting…

cardinal in snow

Count birds at your feeder during winter to help scientists

You can help scientists through Project FeederWatch by counting the birds you see at your backyard feeder from November through early April. FeederWatchers periodically count the birds they see at their feeders and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. FeederWatch data help scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance. You can count birds as often as every week, or as infrequently as you like. The schedule is completely flexible. All you need…