Sally Cunningham - The Buffalo News

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Sally Cunningham


Gardening

This week kindly offered one more day of sunshine. I needed the sun to motivate myself to go out there – I confess to getting the blues from gray November days. So outside I went to plant the last bulbs and get on with winter mulching. Last bulb planting I will never tell anyone to do as I do. I told you (and myself) to plant the bulbs in September or early October…

Gardening

During a rare patch of mild weather this week, I spent a few hours in my barn. This barn, built about 1827, was the centerpiece of this farm – one of the first in this area south of East Aurora. Long before my arrival in the 1980s, it was probably a cow barn and later housed horses, including some that were part of my family for many years. For about 15 years we loade…

Gardening

Thousands of people visit other people’s gardens every year (more in our region than in most places) and drive or walk away saying “Wow!” Or maybe they just say “Hmmm ... not so sure about that one.” Sometimes they take pictures and write down plant names and ideas about furnishings and art. Quite often it just stops there. Why is there so often a gap betwe…

Gardening

Monday felt like the last good day to work outside in comfort. The bright sunshine and warm breezes did not hint at late October but I knew there wouldn’t be many more days like this in 2017 – maybe none. Never mind writing deadlines, piled-up emails, looming laundry, and errands in town. I claimed the time for me and the garden. What to do first? My deck and garden…

Gusto

The autumn leaves call for choices. Raking them can be a chore for tired homeowners who would rather do something else on the weekend. Raking leaves can be fun with children: As proof I have pictures of little Alice with cousin Elizabeth jumping in the piles. Raked leaves can be collected at the curb, at a cost to your city or village. (Only some towns compost them). Raked…

Gusto

If there were ever an autumn that begs us to plant bulbs, this is it. We’ve had lots of time. I’m imagining the garden center shelves are emptied. You all have new beds that will bursting with daffodils and crocuses next spring – right? But maybe not: I also know that new homeowners and gardeners start from scratch every year without much gardening knowledge, time…

Gusto

Some of the showiest plants in the fall landscape are shrubs, and many of them are native. Shrubs are commonly called the work horses of the landscape, as they do important jobs as hedges, windbreaks, backdrops, focal points, foundation plants, or as the important middle layer between trees and grasses or perennials. Even more important, the right shrubs provide food, h…

Gusto

I write about overwintering tropical plants with several emotions this week. I have gotten to know some Florida plant growers in recent years. Twice FNGLA (Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association) hosted garden writers from across the country to tour historical tropical plant gardens and growers, so we would understand and use more of their plants. Then they …

Gusto

It’s “triage time,” the toughest time of year for me and many other gardeners. What plants can I take inside, store outside or in the basement, or plant now? And which plants must I let go – turn them into the soil or compost pile? Outside plants Perennials, shrubs and trees still in pots require a decision now. They are the plants you were so excited to find. …

Gusto

Storms are on our minds this week, as we have watched the people, animals, buildings and shorelines of Florida assaulted by Hurricane Irma. We don’t worry much about hurricanes here: A recent report listed Buffalo as the fourth-safest city in terms of natural disasters, even if we experience some much-publicized snowstorms. What we do and should worry about: wind and …

Gusto

Certain plants take center stage as summer wanes, no matter where you live and what you define as summer. Whether you garden in a temperate climate with cold winters (most of Western New York) or in milder maritime zones (much of Ireland or England for instance), the late summer gardens have certain characteristics. Flowering perennials are generally taller than spring …

Last week a band of Americans flew to Ireland with me to visit gardens and historical sites. Some also wanted to experience the country from which many of our ancestors emigrated. Many of the group — from Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, New York City and Florida — had specific expectations: Perhaps we would see small, pretty gardens (that might not achieve the standards …

Gusto

Some of the plants that showed off for our garden-peeping tourists and guests during July and early August are still going strong: tall Rudbeckia ‘Herbstonne’, daisies and perennial geraniums that were cut back, reblooming roses, and late daylilies. But then what? I recommend a late summer driving tour to the garden centers of Western New York to see what else co…

Gusto

Thousands of people visited the gardens of Western New York in July and early August, many from distant states and countries. This week 344 of the visitors were garden writers (or bloggers, photographers, teachers) coming from as far away as Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico, California, Florida and Iowa. They cast their eyes upon the gardens, met the gardeners, dined and …

Gusto

This weekend you may see six large motor coaches driving to the Southtowns, roaming the gardening neighborhoods of Buffalo, and visiting our parks and public gardens. The giant buses are filled with tourists we very much want: guests who will write about us, take pictures, post, blog and publish. It’s the garden writers from across the United States and Canada, who ha…