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…

Quirky way to add color to your winter garden: Frozen spheres molded inside balloons

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you want to add color to a winter garden, try this easy craft project that even kids can do. The instructions are pretty simple. Take a balloon, squirt some food coloring inside the balloon, then add water the way you would if you were making water balloons during the summer. As you add water, the food coloring will get mixed. Put the balloon outside and let it freeze. When the water is frozen solid, snip…

Celery update: It’s not going strong, but amazingly, it’s still growing!

by Connie Oswald Stofko Back in March I told you how to start a new celery plant from the celery stump. In September I harvested some of the stalks, but then I left the plant outside to see what it would do. We had a long and mild autumn, and through most of November, the celery plant looked pretty much the same way it did in September– see photo at right. Then we got that cold snap with temperatures in…

grow tunnel in Buffalo NY

Grow tunnel lets you grow veggies during winter in Western New York

by Connie Oswald Stofko The temperature was in the teens this past weekend, but the vegetables in the grow tunnel at City Honors School in Buffalo are still going strong. In this video, Caesandra Seawell, garden manager, shows us how the grow tunnel can extend the gardening season, allowing us to grow vegetables in autumn and winter in Western New York. She describes how the grow tunnel was constructed, and it seems pretty easy. There have been some developments since…

Is it too late to plant perennials in Western New York?

I got this question from a reader: I bought some perennials that I didn’t get a chance to plant: leopard’s bane, hardy aster, cone flowers and Munstead lavender.   It has already frosted once I believe. Is it to late too plant outside? If so, can I store them indoors in the same containers that they came in?   Thanks, Deborah In the two days since I received this question, Western New York has had snow as well as frost….

How to keep basil over winter: Free class discusses growing tomatoes inside, too

by Connie Oswald Stofko The days are getting shorter and colder and soon we’ll be seeing snow in Western New York, but you can continue to grow food plants– inside! In this article, Jak Kochems, horticulture consultant at Arbordale Nurseries and Landscaping in the Getzville area of Amherst, gives us tips on how to bring basil plants inside and care for them over the winter. If you haven’t already brought your basil plant inside, do it now– a freeze can kill…

Halloween pumpkin decoration made from old fence

Halloween fun: Be creative in your WNY garden all year long

I visited the yard of Jim “Wak” Nowicki during Garden Walk Buffalo in July. He had lots of interesting elements in his summer garden, including live fish in bowls suspended from tree branches, which we’ll talk about more toward the end of this article. But he doesn’t relegate his creativity to the summer months. He took a few moments out of the tour of his summer gardens to give me a sneak peek at his Halloween decorations that were stored…