'Star of Holland' amaryllis at Buffalo Botanical Gardens by Stofko

Amaryllis reminder: Don’t cut off the leaves

by Connie Oswald Stofko Many of you may have received an amaryllis bulb or plant over the holidays, and you’d like to get it to rebloom indoors next year. It’s not hard to do. However, I’ve heard from a couple people that they were told to cut back the plant after it has finished blooming. Don’t do that! You need to keep the leaves on the plant. Through photosynthesis, the leaves will work to recharge the bulb. The plant needs…

savor the beauty poster copyright Stofko

Thought for the day: savor the beauty

by Connie Oswald Stofko Well, it’s official. This was the coldest February on record in Western New York. It’s been a tough winter. Some of us got seven feet of snow in November alone. Even areas of Western New York that don’t normally get much snow have two feet or more on the ground. People are tired of shoveling, of trying to walk on snowy sidewalks, of driving through snow. Then there’s the cold. Day after day of below zero…

seeds planted in milk jug during winter

Start seeds outside now using milk jug, other containers in ‘winter sowing’

by Connie Oswald Stofko This is actually an update of a tip from David Clark, the nationally known horticulture speaker who teaches at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. Winter sowing is great because it gives us gardeners in Western New York something to do when it’s cold and snowy out. You plant hardy seeds in old milk jugs or other containers and set the containers outside now. The seeds will know when they should sprout in the spring….

dandelion late November 2014 in Amherst NY

For the record, it’s not winter yet in Western New York; let’s make the best of our weather

by Connie Oswald Stofko It sure felt wintry in Western New York before Thanksgiving. When people ask me how much snow I got, I say: “Just 10 inches.” I emphasize the word “just.” In other years, 10 inches of snow before Thanksgiving might feel like a lot, but compared to the seven feet that other people got, it’s hardly worth mentioning. Yet after Thanksgiving, the weather got so warm it felt like the calendar was going backwards. It seemed as…

snow plow stuck Snowvember 2014 from David Clark Hamburg NY

What does WNY’s Snowvember storm mean for your garden?

by Connie Oswald Stofko First, let me say that I sincerely hope you and your loved ones are safe. Since this is a gardening magazine, we’ll talk about what the Snowvember storm means for your garden, but I do want to let you know that I understand how serious this storm was. It was dangerous. People were injured and people died. There was property damage, too. Even if you got through it unscathed, it was scary. My thoughts and prayers…

watering garden in late autumn in Buffalo NY

Last-minute autumn tasks for gardens in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko Everybody in Western New York is supposed to get some snow today, and some of us may get a lot of snow. The temperatures are bitter. Is your garden ready for winter? John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County, shares some last-minute autumn tasks for your garden. Drain your hoses and bring them inside. It wasn’t until I started typing this that I realized I hadn’t done that. I could picture the…

boxwood by Karan A Rawlins U of Georgia bugwood.org

What do you need to do to get boxwood through the winter in Western New York?

by Connie Oswald Stofko I got a question from a reader that I thought might interest a lot of people: “I planted three baby boxwood shrubs in my front flower bed this spring (in West Seneca/South Buffalo). They are still very small, but have started sprouting new growth and I’m concerned about the cold and snow affecting them. “I was thinking of putting milk crates over them and covering them with the frost blanket that I have. That area of…

Winter has been bitter, but all that snow should help WNY gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko This has been one bitterly cold winter. On the plus side, it has been snowy. You may think the cold and snow combine to create a double whammy, but when it comes to our gardens in Western New York, it would have been worse without the snow. “If you see snow, you should be happy,” said Carol Ann Harlos, Master Gardener coordinator for the Erie County Cornell Cooperative Extension. The air temperature and soil temperature can…

More tips on making frozen spheres for your winter garden: add candles

by Connie Oswald Stofko You know what they say about Western New York: If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes. You may think we’ve had nothing but snow and cold this winter, but I can assure you we’ve had thaws. I know because the arrangement of frozen spheres that I told you about in mid-December melted before Christmas. Luckily, just before New Year’s Day we got more cold weather (hey, I’m looking for the silver lining), so I…

Amaryllis is great flower to grow indoors now; see show under way now at Botanical Gardens

by Connie Oswald Stofko The amaryllis is a favorite flower for Western New York gardeners to grow indoors at this time of year because there’s not much going on bloom-wise outdoors. Amaryllis bulbs are popular holiday gifts. My niece, Carrie Hoffman of Cheektowaga, got one and started charting its amazing growth. The plant can grow 1 1/2 inches a day! Amaryllis gets tall and has huge, trumpet-shaped flowers. It’s quite a spectacular plant. Find out how to care for your…