garden gate from Kerry Ann Mendez

Your plants aren’t your children: advice for low-maintenance gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko Kerry Ann Mendez, garden designer, author and consultant, will kick off the festivities for the National Garden Festival on Friday, June 24 with a talk on “Tips for Low-maintenance, High-impact Perennial Gardens.” You can also join her that day for a tour of the perennials and shrubs at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. (See details of the opening day activities at the end of this article.) Mendez has written two books. The Ultimate Flower…

Joe Pye Weed Chocolate in Buffalo rain garden

Here are some good native plants for your rain garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Native plants and flowers are strongly recommended for your rain garden because these plants have the greatest chance of growth and survival in Western New York. Using native plants also means low maintenance– you won’t need to water. Last week, we discussed building a rain garden and how rain gardens help keep our water clean. We showed you the rain garden at the Crane Branch Library in Buffalo, and we promised more information on  plants for…

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…

Clarence garden fountain

Clarence homeowners build prize-winning gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko Suzanne and Bob Wiepert built their “backyard oasis” by doing a little bit each year, starting in 2006. This year their gardens at 9525 Melinda won first place in Clarence Hollow in Bloom, a garden walk held Saturday, July 17 by the Clarence Garden Club. The Wieperts bought the house for its large backyard, just under an acre, which had big trees and boulders. From there, they built separate gardens and gave them names. At right…

front view home on Snyder-CleveHill Garden View

Once-overgrown gardens now flourish at Snyder home

by Connie Oswald Stofko This Snyder house was once so overgrown that ivy had infiltrated through a window and was growing into the gold shag carpeting inside the house. But now the home boasts a tidy formal garden in front and lush English cottage gardens in back. The home of Craig Coyne and Gary DiNezza at 31 Darwin Dr. was part of the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View in Amherst on Sunday, July 11. Though the property had been sorely neglected (there…

Wild daisies are sweet garden flower for Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Have you ever considered growing wild daisies in your garden? Some people think of them as weeds, but they have a treasured spot in my garden. They’re hardy and easy to grow.  Whether we get a hot, dry summer or a cold, rainy summer, the daisy can take it in stride. They do like sun, but you may be able to grow them in shadier spots, too. (Correction: I had written that these are native plants,…