Five tips for your early winter garden in Western New York

  by Connie Oswald Stofko According to the calendar, we still have another month until the official start of winter, but I think gardeners will agree that winter has arrived in Western New York. Here are five tips for your early winter garden. Go outside and walk around in your garden While your garden probably doesn’t look as spectacular as is it did in July, you might find some lovely surprises, like the the red rose above that I spotted…

lake effect snow fall leaves Amherst NY

Lake effect snow: What can you do? Volunteer to report it!

  by Connie Oswald Stofko As I write this, some of us can see the grass on our lawns while other folks in Western New York have had to shovel. That’s the wonder of lake effect snow. The bands of lake effect snow (or rain) can be very narrow, so one small area can get dumped on while folks nearby get nothing. And that’s why meterologists need your help. Weather reporting stations can be 15 miles apart, while a band…

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…

chair in shade

Heat wave: take care of your garden– and yourself!

  by Connie Oswald Stofko Western New York is feeling the heat wave that is moving across the country. “If there was a time to water, this is it,” said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Pay special attention to trees and shrubs that have been planted in the last couple years, Farfaglia said. Those are the plants that will suffer the most if they’re not watered. Make sure you water deeply. Hanging baskets can…

hose slowly watering plant

Rainfall has been below normal in WNY, so keep watering

  by Connie Oswald Stofko In the past few weeks, I’ve seen clouds, heard thunder and even felt a few drops of rain in my Amherst garden. (I think I counted a total of 13 drops.) It’s not unusual to have a dry spell like this, but you need to remember to keep watering your garden. At the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga, they measured just .11 inch of rain since May 23, said meteorologist David Thomas. (I didn’t…

rows of plants for sale

Weather looks warm enough for planting; get 4 spring planting tips

by Connie Oswald Stofko After a cold April, it finally feels like spring, and conditions look good for planting in Western New York. While frost can’t be ruled out completely, the chance of frost is “very, very small,” said Jim Mitchell, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo. Even the deeper valleys in Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties should be fine because the rivers keep them warm at night. But besides frost, gardeners also have to be concerned about…

tree still has leaves in spring

Will tree that didn’t drop its leaves in winter survive?

by Connie Oswald Stofko I was chatting with one of my subscribers at Plantasia and she mentioned that she has seen trees– Japanese maples as well as other trees– that didn’t lose their leaves over the winter. The leaves are brown, but still attached. “I’m scared because the trees don’t have buds yet,” she said. I noticed the same thing in my neighborhood, so I talked to John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Don’t worry,…

plant sprout in spring by Stofko in Amherst

Early bird may get only muddy boots– don’t rush your garden

With all this cold, snowy weather, it seems like spring will never get here. Don’t worry; milder temperatures are on their way. But don’t rush into your garden at the first whiff of warm weather. “Be patient, take your time, and take time for your garden to get ready for you,” said Peggy Koppmann in “This Month in the Garden,” one of the three articles in this month’s edition of WNY Gardening Matters. “Remember, the early bird may get nothing more than…

white shadows caused by trees and snow

‘Snow shadows’ are oddities of winter

  by Stephen Vermette Department of Geography & Planning, SUNY Buffalo State   After a light morning snowfall covered the ground, my wife noticed an interesting pattern in our front yard. The trees appeared to cast white shadows! This is just one kind of phenomenon I call snow shadows. There are many different types of these winter oddities, and some stretch into another season. Linear snow shadows The linear snow shadows that my wife spotted were caused by ground temperature….

milkweed seeds

Weather garden: focus on wind, rain

by Stephen Vermette, Department of Geography & Planning, SUNY Buffalo State In a previous issue, I introduced you to a weather garden, which vividly demonstrates how sunlight, temperature, wind and rain affect plants in different ways. It does this through the choice of plants, as well as through fun and useful ornaments such as thermometers, wind vanes and rain gauges. That first article focused on sunlight. In the second article, I focused on temperature. Today we will look at the…