red lily leaf beetle by

Start to check for red lily leaf beetle in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko I received this message from Tess in Binghamton: “Red lily beetles have arrived early! Picked a dozen of them out of the flower bed today, March 20, 2020, in Binghamton NY area!!” It’s not too early to start looking for them in Western New York, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County “They do show up early, as soon as the foliage breaks ground,” Farfaglia said. In past years, “I’ve gotten calls…

snowdrops flowers by Stofko

Gardening things you can do now despite the COVID-19 cancellations

by Connie Oswald Stofko Plantasia is cancelled. The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens is closed until at least April 20. Lots of other places and activities are shut down, too. It’s disappointing, but we all need to do what we can do to slow the spread of COVID-19. But here is good news: Spring is arriving on March 19. The weather seems to be getting milder. And there are actually some gardening activities you can do now! I’ll list…

flowering dogwood

Trees with flowers, fruit & nuts offered in state, county sales

Find trees to fit your landscape in the annual seedling sales held by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and by local counties. Each sale has different offerings. In addition to tree seedlings, some counties offer shrubs, wildflower seeds, ferns and supplies for your plants. See details on the DEC sale here. See sales in these counties: Cattaraugus Chautauqua Erie Genesee Niagara Orleans (See page 5 of the newsletter.) Trees with flowers, fruit & nuts Here are…

Should you cut back roses in autumn?

After reading a previous article about roses, a reader asked a follow-up question: “Hello! I was always told to cut back rose bushes in the fall. That’s wrong?” Here is the response from Bonnie Vitale, president of the Western New York Rose Society: Save the hard pruning for spring. In the fall, cut off any broken stems. Some gardeners like to cut their rose bushes down to a height of 18-24 inches in the fall to prevent wind and snow…

daffodil hyacinth tulips and narcissus

Plant bulbs in fall for spring blooms

by Connie Oswald Stofko Every spring I hear of someone who wants to plant tulips. If you want tulips, you can’t wait until spring! This is the time to plant tulip bulbs. The same goes for crocuses, daffodils or narcissus, hyacinths and allium. This the time of year when garden centers generally have spring bulbs available, said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses. He recommends getting them planted right away; they have a rather short shelf life. If…

tulip garden in Cheektowaga NY

Another tip for spring flowers; see tulip gardens May 4 and 11

In a 2014 video, Claudia Kolbe-Hawthorne shared how she gets waves of spectacular spring color in her garden. Today we get a new spring gardening tip and tell you when you can visit her tulip gardens. Tip on Lenten rose Many gardeners enjoy the perennial called the Lenten rose. As its name implies, it blooms early in the spring. When it’s done blooming, the leaves stay green, but some gardeners might find the plant a bit boring at that point….

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…

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…

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…

front view Guerico garden in Buffalo NY

4 big tips for creating a garden with year-round interest

by Connie Oswald Stofko In the Buffalo area, when we talk about creating year-round garden interest, what we really mean is: How do I make my garden look good in autumn and winter? From May to August, it’s easy to have beautiful landscaping, flowers and lots of color. All the garden walks are scheduled during that period, so we can find plenty of inspiration for summer gardens. But what if we’d like our gardens to be pretty now and throughout the…