cutting from a coleus

Take cuttings of annuals now while the plant is in its prime

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to take cuttings of annuals to take inside for the winter, now is is the time to do it. Cuttings need to be taken while the plants are in their prime, not after they start to fade, said Lyn Chimera of Lessons from Nature. The coleus in the photo can be rooted easily placing the cutting in a glass or small vase of water. Tip: Cut off the leaves on the part of…

lettuce and kale plants

How to get a second crop of vegetables & herbs this year in WNY

by Connie Oswald Stofko You can harvest vegetables and herbs into the fall–and even winter–when you plant cool weather vegetables at this time of year. Unlike plants such as tomatoes and peppers that need warm weather to thrive, cool weather vegetables are plants that actually like the cooler temperatures. Some can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. See the table below for more than 20 herbs and vegetables you can still plant this year. “Many experienced gardeners, not…

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…

snowball hydrangea

4 ideas for hostess gifts and holiday gifts for gardeners

by Connie Oswald Stofko Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and from there we rush headlong into any number of holiday celebrations. Here are four ideas for thoughtful gifts to give gardeners and non-gardeners alike. ‘Snowball’ hydrangea We’re starting off with the ‘Snowball’ hydrangea because it can serve as a festive accent in your home from Thanksgiving through all the winter holidays. This potted plant will last probably a couple months, according to Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville….

sage and parsley in snow by Stofko

4 gardening tasks for early winter

by Connie Oswald Stofko In other years, the middle of November would be a time to think about how to prepare for winter. This year winter has already made its appearance and is taking its sweet time to give us a break. Here are some things you can do now, even if your yard is covered in snow. Harvest herbs Despite the snow, my sage and parsley are still going strong. (The leaves on the sage are a bit limp,…

witch-hazel flowers

Witch-hazel’s fragrant blooms add interest in autumn & winter

If you’re looking for a plant that blooms in your garden now, consider witch-hazel. American witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a native shrub that produces fragrant blooms in late fall and early winter, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The streamer-like flowers are just starting to appear at this time of year, following the annual loss of the shrub’s leaves. The yellow flowers typically last into December. Since witch-hazel is one of the few plants blooming now,…

garden in snow by Stofko

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…