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When is it time to take the houseplants outside? It’s not about the calendar. It’s about the weather, especially nighttime outdoor temperatures. Most houseplants are comfortable when night temperatures remain above 55 degrees. Many survive lower temperatures, but some plants do not. Each genus has its own limits of tolerance. Timing is also about you – how warm you k…

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Looking for plants with personality? Plant and seed companies such as Proven Winners and Burpee have some fun ways of describing the flowers, vegetables and other products featured on their websites. I read how one plant really “swaggers” in containers. And how a certain dahlia gives other plants “an inferiority complex.” How, one wonders, will Superbells Hollywoo…

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Weekends are packed with parties, garage sales, barbecues and festivals, but gardeners and nongardeners alike know there are other events that scream summer around here: Garden tours and walks. Beginning in early June and continuing into August, it will be possible to check out one – or several – almost every weekend. Daytime too busy for you? You’ll find evening tours …

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Leave a message on Karen Biel Costantino’s voicemail and, when she calls back, expect to hear something like this: “I couldn’t get to my phone. I was up on a ladder.” That’s what happened one morning several weeks ago. Yes, she was up on a ladder. She had been painting since 6 a.m., she said. This was just a normal day for Costantino, whose recently restored home is …

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Most people have family members, housemates or roommates who do little things that bug them. They return a bottle to the refrigerator with only a drop or two of orange juice in it. They walk by items placed on steps that need to be carried upstairs and put away. They don’t replace the empty toilet paper roll – or if they do they hang it in a different way than oth…

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Every year I am amazed to witness the speed of changes in the garden in spring. Especially this season, on the rare days when cold and rain turn to warm and sunny, the plants appear to be producing leaves and shoots at record rates. We may spot a few failures – plants that could not tolerate soggy conditions – but most plants should look lush and green as the rains rece…

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The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens will hold its annual Great Plant Sale from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 19 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 20 in the Administration Building. Free admission. Ken-Sheriton Garden Club will hold its sixth annual plant and garden sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 20 at Zion United Church of Christ, 15 Koenig Circle at Parker Boulevard, Town of …

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My mother was never one to withhold wisdom regarding fashion and interior decorating, but the one piece of advice that always sticks in my mind is this: “If you find something you love, buy it in every color.” Because you may never find it again. She was referring to things like T-shirts and shoes as opposed to, say, sofas and chairs. But while I would remind her tha…

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The annual Knox Art and Garden Show with more than 90 artists will be held at the main house at Knox Farm State Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 13 and 14. Paintings, handcrafted jewelry, garden-related items and more will be available. The show, a fundraiser to support improvements to the park, is organized by the Friends of Knox Farm. Admission is $5; free for children un…

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Mother’s Day calls for flowers, and your choices are many: the old classic orchid corsage, a bouquet of cut flowers, or the popular spring baskets of violas, fragrant Lobularias or myriad other container plants. For something more lasting for Mother’s garden, thousands of you are likely to choose a rose. No flower elicits nostalgia and tender memories quite like a rose.…

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Pamela R. Miskey recalls the summer in the late 1950s when she and her mother stepped out on occasion wearing matching dresses. “My aunt sewed for a hobby, and she made us matching dresses with ’50s-style pouffy skirts in white piqué fabric with red tulips,” she said. “I think I was 3. After age 5, our fashion sense went in different directions,” she laughed. Stil…

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Suzy Redino, a local interior designer and gardener, has a well-established backyard for entertaining. There’s a stamped concrete patio, whimsical sculptures, a pond and perennial beds. But she and other winter-weary Western New Yorkers each spring look for ways to spruce up and enhance their outdoor living spaces. “This year, I want to finally put in a fairy garden,…

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This weird weather has some of us feeling we’re in a holding pattern. Rain, rain, rain ... and snow showers? What season is this anyway? And what do we wear for it? On Wednesday I saw one woman dressed in opaque tights and knee-high leather boots. A few minutes later, I spotted another woman in sandals. But May – if it really is May – has great potential, I’ve decide…

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Evans Garden Club will hold workshops from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 6 and 10 a.m. to noon May 10 to prepare for the annual plant sale scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 13 at the Evans Center Fire Hall in Angola. For locations of the workshops, call 947-4571. The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens will hold a Fairy and Gnome Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 6 and…

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After a rainy period weeds come out easily, and there’s no better time than now to get ahead of the problem. The old adage – “One year’s seeds, seven year’s weeds” (English proverb) – quite like Ben Franklin’s “A stitch in time saves nine,” is relevant. Weeding now will prevent mass reproduction and save you from future back strain and aching hands. If you can remove we…