Winter makes a surprise visit—What it means for your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko Last week, I told you it was it was leaf season and gave you ideas on how to use all those autumn leaves. But before we could get the leaves raked — many leaves are still on the trees! — we got snow that broke records for Nov. 11. So what does all this snow mean for your garden? Snow provides insulation — yay! “I don’t think this is going to be a bad thing,” said…

autumn leaves on grass

It’s leaf season! 9 tips for using autumn leaves in your garden

by Connie Oswald Stofko We enjoyed many weeks of beautiful autumn color in Western New York this year! Now it’s time for the leaves to fall. The bad news is that our recent strong winds brought down branches as well as leaves. I hope you didn’t sustain any damage. The good news is that the fallen leaves give us things to do in our landscapes at this time of year. And those leaves can be used in so many ways!…

Hosta 'Sum of All'

Three tips on overwintering perennials in containers

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s time to think about some simple steps to overwinter your plant. These tips should work with any kind of perennial that is winter hardy; that is, any perennial that would come back in spring if it was planted in a garden bed over the winter. Bonus tip: Before we get into that, let me say that I was impressed by this stunning hosta at the home of Marcia and David Sully in Eden. I’ve written…

yellow dahlia flower by Stofko

Dahlias: How to dig & store them for winter

Dahlias are beautiful flowers that you can enjoy year after year, but the tubers don’t fare well if you leave them in the garden over the winter. You should dig your dahlia tubers up before there’s a hard frost, according to information on dahlias from the National Garden Bureau, a non-profit organization for the gardening industry. A hard frost occurs when temperatures drop below 28. A good indication of when to dig your tubers up is when the plant starts…

succulents blooming in September

Seven ideas for autumn gardening in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s officially autumn on the calendar, but there are still gardening things to do. Here are some ideas we have shared in past articles. Even if they’re not new to you, it’s always good to get a reminder. Tasks you can do in your autumn garden: Harvest, weed, water & enjoy Debug your houseplants before bringing them inside Test soil and amend it if necessary Enjoy waves of spring color in a single spot or even…

houseplants in Buffalo NY

Learn about indoor plants on Buffalo Houseplant Swap

“I have so many houseplants,” said Rachel Gottlieb of North Buffalo. “When I would divide and repot them, every year I had a bunch of plants without homes.” Gottlieb would try to give them to people she knew, but she wasn’t always successful. She wanted to find people who would be excited to get her leftover houseplants, so she went online to find a group. “That kind of group should have already existed, but it didn’t, so I made a…

Tips & inspiration for wild winter weather in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko and Stephen Vermette We’ve had some wild weather in the past week: lots of snow, wind, an official blizzard, and dangerously cold wind chills. But yesterday it felt like spring, with strong sun and temperatures around 60. Now some areas have flooding, and more flooding is possible. Tomorrow we might get freezing rain. Later in the week the forecast is for rain, then snow. Find out what you can do in your landscape in these changing conditions, and remember…

red rose in early winter garden in Western New York

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…

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….