volcano mulch illustration muffin and donut

Reminder: no mulch volcanoes

by Connie Oswald Stofko It seems to be the start of volcano season in Western New York. Mulch volcanoes (those neat, cone-shaped piles of mulch at the base of trees) are showing up again. They may look nice to you, but they’re not good for the trees, according to garden experts. Mulch volcanoes can slowly kill trees. Check out our previous article on mulch volcanoes to find out why you shouldn’t use mulch volcanoes and how you can properly mulch…

tree roots

Do trees communicate, plus other Arbor Day news

by Connie Oswald Stofko Arbor Day is April 30, and it’s a time to think about trees. Do trees communicate? It appears that trees communicate and cooperate with one another. This fascinating article by The New York Times describes how mycorrhizas–networks of fungi in the soil–can pass carbon, water, nutrients, alarm signals and hormones from tree to tree. Use trees to save energy Trees that are situated in the proper location can shade your house in summer. In winter, trees…

colorful spring garden

How to create a beautiful spring garden in Western New York

_____ by Connie Oswald Stofko “It changes every day,” said Tom Homme of his spring garden in Pendleton. There’s never a lull in the landscape of Tom Homme and his wife Darcie because he has spent the past 11 years working to create gardens that are interesting in all four seasons. We got a peek at what makes his winter garden attractive in this previous article. You will be able to see the Hommes’ garden in person this summer on Open…

leaves with beech leaf disease

New tree disease affects beeches

Beech leaf disease is a new tree disease that has been identified in Erie County. It is listed on the “Top 10 Tree Insects & Diseases,” an article you will find in the newest edition of WNY Gardening Matters. Beech leaf disease Beech leaf disease (BLD) affects and kills both native and ornamental beech tree species. BLD was just discovered in recent years and there is a lot we still don’t know about this disease, according to the New York…

American chestnut tree

American chestnut among offerings in tree seedling sales

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you’d like to help perpetuate the native American chestnut tree, check out the tree seedling sales in Western New York. Three counties are offering the native specimens. See details on the tree seedling sales below, and get tips on how to plant your tree seedling to maximize its chances for success. American chestnut The American chestnut seedlings are being offered in sales in Erie County, Niagara County and Genesee County. The American chestnut (Castanea dentata),…

overall garden in snow by Connie Oswald Stofko

How to make your garden look great in winter

by Connie Oswald Stofko Is your garden exciting in winter? Do you enjoy gazing at all its beautiful features? Or are you one of those people who didn’t even know it’s possible to have a garden that looks great in winter? Today we’ll take a look at a Pendleton garden has been featured on Open Gardens. It’s amazing in the summer, but it sparkles in winter, too! Tom and Darcie Homme had lived in Lockport before they moved 11 years…

bee covered in pollen on swamp milkweed

Support fireflies, plus 4 more reasons to get rid of some of your lawn

by Connie Oswald Stofko Attract fireflies, support pollinators, save yourself some work and have cleaner air. Those are some of the benefits you can reap when you get rid of some of your lawn. Support pollinators Pollinators include butterflies, insects, birds and other animals. To support them, turn a section of your lawn into a garden and include native plants. Native plants are better than non-natives in providing what native pollinators need: nectar, pollen and seeds, according to the New…

living Christmas tree

Living Christmas tree: enjoy inside, then plant outside

by Connie Oswald Stofko One way to make Christmas last a little longer is by buying a living Christmas tree. You can decorate it, enjoy it inside, then plant it outside where it will grow for years to come. Living Christmas trees are available now at at Urban Roots Cooperative Garden Market, 428 Rhode Island St. Buffalo. “We have three or four families who come in every year,” said Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, general manager of Urban Roots. “You’d think kids would want…

autumn leaves on trees

Quiz time: What do you know about gardening in WNY?

by Connie Oswald Stofko How much do you know about gardening in Western New York? Here’s a fun quiz that will allow you to test your knowledge. Some questions are easy, but one or two might trip you up. You can see the answers below along with a link for more information. 1. What can you do with autumn leaves? A. Put them in your compost B. Spread them around your perennials C. Start a new garden D. All of…