rose and buds in Amherst NY

Tips from Master Gardeners for June, plus wet weather tips

by Connie Oswald Stofko To prevent and treat diseases in roses, now is the time for weekly spraying, according to June’s issue of WNY Gardening Matters, published by the Master Gardeners of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Erie County. The tips on rose care are in the article on what to do in the garden in June. That article also tells you what you spray, including organic suggestions. The other articles in this month’s issue include one on the beautiful and…

daffodils sprouting

Bulb plants might be hurt by low temps & wind, but snow helps

by Connie Oswald Stofko Last week, the daffodils along my driveway were progressing so quickly I thought the blooms might be finished before Easter. Today, they’re covered in snow. That may be a good thing. In February, we had springlike temperatures in the 60s and even 70s, but now we have gotten down into the teens. People are worried about their bulb plants such as daffodils and tulips, and it’s possible that those frigid temperatures, combined with winds, could damage…

spring bulbs sprouting

What does this warm weather mean for your WNY garden?

by Connie Oswald Stofko We’ve been enjoying weather in the 50s, and it might go up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the next few days. What does this mean for our gardens in Western New York? Spring bulbs First, if the snow in your yard has melted, you’re probably seeing spring bulbs such as daffodils and hyacinths sprouting. That’s usual for this time of year, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. If you didn’t…

climate change illustration copyright Stofko

What WNY gardeners should know about climate science

by Connie Oswald Stofko Climate change is real We can see the effects of climate change in our area. Our gardening zones in Western New York were changed to reflect our warmer temperatures. The US Department of Agriculture website unveiled a new map of gardening zones in 2012 and noted: “The new map is generally one 5-degree Fahrenheit half-zone warmer than the previous map throughout much of the United States.” One of the effects of climate change in our area…

gardens around water feature in West Seneca NY

Drought tops list of gardening topics as we look back at 2016

by Connie Oswald Stofko I was going to say that the drought is probably what Western New York gardeners will remember most about 2016, but we may have to get used to summers like this. Our climate patterns have changed, and Western New York gardeners should expect more hot, dry summers, according to Cornell University. By June of this year it was already dry. By the beginning of August, Western New York was under a drought warning and gardeners were asked…

treetops and cloud in Hamburg NY

Be careful where you get your science news

by Connie Oswald Stofko As a gardener, you should be aware of climate change. You should also know that there is a lot of misinformation out there on climate change, so be careful. A lot of folks get their news through Facebook or other social media, but their friends may share posts without investigating them first to see if the information is correct. Here’s an example of a post that claimed that global temperatures went down in 2016, when they…

use shovel to cut grass away from patio

Reclaim your patio, plus other garden tasks for autumn

by Connie Oswald Stofko This would have been a great weekend for raking leaves. The sun was shining, the weather was mild, and I wanted to do something outside in the yard. Unfortunately, most of the leaves in my neighborhood are still firmly adhered to the trees. This happens to me at this time every year. I have to look around for things to do in my garden and yard. Here’s one task: reclaim your patio or sidewalk from your…

bee on aster

Autumn weather has been beautiful in WNY– Will we pay for it?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Until this week, it felt more like summer than autumn in Western New York. Last week I was wearing shorts, then yesterday I snuggled into a winter jacket. There was scattered frost overnight last night in Western New York. But as they say,  if you don’t like the weather in Buffalo, wait 10 minutes. Tomorrow, Wednesday, it should be back into the 70s. All of this is normal for Western New York, said Judy Levan, Warning…

fall mums budding and in flower

Our hot September weather means mum season is just starting

by Connie Oswald Stofko Last week the calendar said it was autumn, but it still felt like summer. Mums thought it was still summer, too, and they were late in blooming this year, said Mark Yadon, vice president at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. Usually Labor Day is the beginning of the mum season, but the mums weren’t flowering yet due to what is called heat delay, he said. Because of the hot weather, mums are 10…

cloudless sky by Stofko

WNY is under drought warning; please conserve water

by Connie Oswald Stofko As of last week, Western New York is under a drought warning. Residents are asked to conserve water. A warning is the second of four levels of state drought advisories: watch, warning, emergency and disaster, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). While the Southern Tier got some rain the weekend of July 30 and some scattered areas of Western New York may have gotten a bit of rain since then, it…