pansies in a watering can at Mischler's in Williamsville NY

Get pansies now to brighten outdoor spaces, large & small

by Connie Oswald Stofko Pansies are in bloom now and can add color to your garden, porch or patio. While cold temperatures won’t kill pansies, temperatures in the 20s Fahrenheit can damage the blooms, said Jessica Limardi, who is on the staff at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. Nightime temperatures may get that low in the coming week. “Without a good thick blanket of snow, the flowers can get damaged, so pull them close to the…

purple crocuses in Amherst NY

Gardening tasks for early spring in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko After weeks of snow covering our gardens, we can see plants again here in Western New York! The sun has been shining. At times, the weather’s so warm, you can be outside without a sweater. We can tackle some gardening tasks now that we couldn’t do just a couple of weeks ago. But it’s still early spring and the weather fluctuates. The afternoon warmth can be followed by freezing temperatures at night. A stretch of warm…

autumn leaves in Letchworth State Park by Stofko

Sept. 22 is first day of autumn; leaves beginning color change in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko The official start of autumn is tomorrow and the Chautauqua-Allegheny region is beginning to show fall color, according the most recent Fall Foliage Report produced by ILoveNY.com. Reports are issued every Wednesday afternoon, so tomorrow’s report may reflect more Western New York areas where the leaves are beginning to change color. The reports signal when leaf color is just beginning to change, at the midpoint, at near peak, at peak and past peak. Caterpillar damage If leaves on your…

hand holding hail in Snyder NY

Hail damaged your plants? What you can do in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko by Connie Oswald Stofko A narrow band of weather dropped hail– some of it as large as peas– in Western New York on Friday. A localized hail storm a few weeks ago damaged plants in some gardens in Niagara County, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Hail can shred the leaves of your plants and bruise the stems. Will your plants survive? It depends on how badly damaged they were….

agastache, phlox and aster

Quiz time: What’s the deadline for planting perennials in WNY?

by Connie Oswald Stofko I like gardening quizzes because they’re fun. If you get the answer right, you feel smart. And if you don’t know the answer, you learn something new. See the answers and explanations below the questions. 1. What is the deadline for planting perennials in WNY? A. Memorial Day B. June 15 C. Middle of September 2. What is the best way to water your plants? A. Place a hose near the base of the plant and…

daffodils in garden in spring

Daffodils sprouting in winter: What you should do

by Connie Oswald Stofko I got this question from a reader: I was wondering if there is anything I can do with the daffodil bulbs which are starting to sprout leaves out of the ground because of the mild weather. I am hoping that I don’t lose all of them by the time the cold and snow cover them. Michelle I checked with John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Here’s what he said: “This can…

graphic for drought watch

7 WNY counties now on ‘drought watch;’ what it means to gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko Cattaraugus and Allegany counties were recently added to the list of counties on drought watch, joining these five counties already on the list: Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Orleans and Genesee. Wyoming County still has normal water conditions, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). A “watch” is the first of four levels of state drought advisories: “watch,” “warning,” “emergency” and “disaster.” See a map of current drought conditions here. Understanding drought watch A…

collage on climate change

How gardeners can understand & adapt to climate change

by Connie Oswald Stofko What does climate change mean for your garden? As the climate continues to change, how will you, as a gardener, keep up with the changes? This is Climate Week, and in this article we’ll bring you some resources to help you understand climate change and adapt as a gardener. Ebook on climate change for gardeners What do you see when you look at your garden? A flower here, a tree there, a butterfly over yonder? Your…

sprinkler in summer by Stofko

Deal with summer heat in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Remember that snow we got in May? We couldn’t wait for sunny, summer weather in Western New York. Well, it’s here– in full force! Let’s look at some ways you can keep your garden–and yourself– healthy and happy during this summer heat. Water your plants “Watering is number one on the list for this week,” said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. “In this heat, water loss from evaporation from the soil…

hail damage on hostas

Will your hostas & other plants recover from hail damage in WNY?

by Connie Oswald Stofko I was one of the gardeners who experienced hail last week– it was the size of fat M&Ms! That wasn’t the only setback weather brought to Western New York gardeners in the past few weeks. “Some of us got hit with a five-day period of frost and freeze in mid-May,” said Kathy Guest Shadrack, board member and communication liaison with the Western New York Hosta Society. “Sadly, this came after a long period of abnormally warm…