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…

snow in May 2020

Mow, snow, grow: wild spring weather in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko We had a mild winter and last month it seemed that spring had arrived in Western New York. There was a lot of rain, but every so often the rain took a break and people mowed their lawns. But there were stretches when it seemed like it was constantly cloudy. We yearned for sunshine! But this past week really made us shake our heads. The mowing days alternated with snowing days. Big, fat snowflakes floated in…

snowless garden and snowy garden

How to deal with warm-then-cold winter weather

by Connie Oswald Stofko We got snow in November, then it melted. In late December, the weather was surprisingly warm, with air temperatures reaching the high 50s. The grass looked so green! Then the temperatures hit lows in the teens. This past weekend we got socked with snow. One thing you can say for weather in Western New York– it’s not boring. Here are some things you can do to deal with these changes in winter weather. Protect your plants…