snow and Autumn leaves in Amherst NY

New tool helps you understand climate change in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Find out how climate change is affecting your garden through a new online tool that provides county-level information on how the climate has changed since 1950 and what you can expect in the future. Called Climate Change in Your County, the tool was launched recently by the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions. It tracks average annual temperatures, high and low temperature trends, length of growing season and annual growing degree days. It also offers precipitation trends and…

snow in Amherst garden

Which was better for our gardens– this winter or last winter?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Last winter was bitterly cold, but there was a lot of snow cover to protect perennials. This winter has seen some swings in temperature, which can be bad for perennials. I thought our gardens might have liked last winter better than this winter. Not so, say my gardening experts. “Definitely this year is better, hands down,” said Teresa Buchanan, Teresa Buchanan, general manager at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg. Note that she’s in the South…

path to front door in Snowvember storm 2014

One year after Snowvember Storm, some WNY gardens still feeling effects

by Connie Oswald Stofko I was talking with some gardeners recently who began to commiserate about how poorly their roses did this year. Since mine did quite well, I was surprised to hear they had problems. Then I remembered where I was– South Buffalo, one of the areas hardest hit by the Snowvember Storm. That lake-effect storm hit a year ago next week, Nov. 17-21, 2014. In just a few days, they got a whole winter’s worth of snow– seven…

How to care for Christmas cactus in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Jeff Wilson, who has a Christmas cactus that is probably more than 85 years old, shares some tips with us on how to care for these wonderful indoor plants. We met Wilson and Luis Martinez on Garden Walk Buffalo where they shared their ideas for shade gardening. Wilson’s oldest Christmas cactus is a plant they call “Grandma” because it came from Wilson’s maternal grandmother. However, it had originally been owned by her mother, Wilson’s great-grandmother. Grandma…

Forest Lawn & Re-Tree WNY seek volunteers to plant trees

Forest Lawn & Re-Tree WNY seek volunteers to plant trees from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1 and 2 at Forest Lawn, 1411 Delaware Ave., Buffalo. No experience is necessary; a brief training session will take place each day. Children under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. During this event, about 300 bare root deciduous hardwood trees will be planted throughout Forest Lawn as part of Forest Lawn’s ongoing efforts to “return the forest…

There’s a 9-foot cactus in a bathtub– & that’s just the beginning

A double-tub wringer washer, a bucket for a milking machine and a pan from a salad bar are some of the items that have been found new uses in the garden of Terry and Debbie Calway on Hampton Parkway in Tonawanda. The Calways’ garden was among the more than 50 gardens open to visitors during the Ken-Ton Garden Tour on July 21 and 22. In the photo at left, a huge coffee machine on the Calways’ front porch becomes a…

backyard garden on Argyle in Buffalo NY

Small backyard in Buffalo goes vertical to add gardening space

Kathy and Ed Burke moved to their home on Argyle Park in Buffalo about eight years ago. “We moved from a home with a huge garden, but it had become more of a chore than a joy,” Kathy said. Their current backyard is small, but flowering perennials in the sunny beds and colorful foliage in the shady beds make it feel joyful. The Burkes shared their gardens during Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest garden walk in the nation, on July…

asters in Amherst NY garden autumn

On 5th anniversary of October Storm, cooler temps on the way

Sunny and warm– even hot!– day after day. We’ve enjoyed splendid gardening weather this October in the Buffalo area. But this spate of summery weather isn’t all that unusual for October,  according to Aaron Mentkowski, meteorologist at WKBW Channel 7. This warm weather will end soon, as it does every fall. While our current weather isn’t setting any records, July’s weather did. Current weather similar to that preceding October Storm of 2006 Mentkowski noted that it was warm in the…

Have a seat in paradise Amherst NY

It’s autumn, and this Amherst garden is still blooming!

“We like to have our coffee out there,” said Ann M. Bednarek, referring to her beautiful garden that you can see in her photo at left. She named the photo, “Have a Seat in Paradise.” Ann and her husband Jack have lived in the duplex at 136 Fairgreen Dr., Amherst, since 2004. They have been adding to the backyard garden there every year. Many of their plants are perennials, which are still blooming. Ann enjoys the zinnias because they come…

South Buffalo side garden

Border garden provides privacy in South Buffalo

by Connie Oswald Stofko A new border garden gives a South Buffalo backyard more privacy. The gardens at 222 Cumberland Ave. were on display Sunday, July 18 during the 10th annual South Buffalo Alive garden walk. Dave Testa, who lives in the corner property with Jack Tontillo, envisioned the kind of mixed border you might see at a big English house. “I hate the formality of straight lines,” he said, explaining the curved design he used. When choosing plants, “I…