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Sally Cunningham


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The extreme weather that slammed us early this month caused suffering and endangered many people and animals. It was dramatic and easy to remember. In the plant world, damage usually shows up more slowly, but that kind of weather is equally destructive. High winds, record freezing temperatures, and drastic temperature changes wreak havoc on plants. You may not notice it…

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If you want to give a gift to someone with a yard or garden, I have ideas for you. None of them require mall shopping or time online. A few could lead you to visit a pretty garden center or nursery, and the rest can be done by telephone. Your gift will be a hit. My qualifications for this? I love getting presents and for 30-plus years people knew that my passion was gar…

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Most people use plants to decorate living rooms, doors and holiday tables, but how much do you know about them? Let’s test your holiday plant knowledge. Answers are at the end. Part 1: True or false 1. The most popular plants used during winter holidays are evergreen trees (first place) and poinsettias (second place). True or false? 2. The most popular Christma…

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Even good gardeners and horticulture professionals struggle with this question: “How can I keep this plant alive over the winter?” The problem is not about knowing what the plants need – science is clear on temperatures, moisture, care for most plant groups. The problem is: How can we provide the right conditions in our houses, basements, garages or yards? We don’t have…

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No matter how long we try to prolong the season, let’s face it: Mostly gardening time is over… except for cleaning up, putting away, and preparing for next year. This is the Top 10 To-Do list for wrapping up the season. 1. Clean up Remove and discard any flower, fruit, or vegetable plants that were diseased or insect-infected. Also discard weeds that have gone to se…

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One of the best thrills for a gardener is seeing the green shoots of bulbs pop up in spring. It always feels miraculous (actually they are) and yet it’s such an easy miracle to make happen. You just have to plant them now. Hint: Do you know any new homeowners or beginning gardeners? Give them a bag of bulbs, with instructions. Not only will they be appreciating you n…

Gardening

The showy flowers and berries of September remind me of ladies at a cotillion in Scarlett O’Hara’s time – the full skirts and puffed sleeve dresses, all ruffles and flounces, adorned with huge hats and jewels. Our gardens are the ballrooms, and nothing is subtle about this end-of-summer dance. Even the plants know it’s their last chance for full-out performances. These …

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It is exciting for seasoned gardeners to help new ones. As baby boomers move over for millennials and those that follow, many of us are happy to share tools, plants, and most of all knowledge. It is also gratifying that you younger folks have strength and energy to haul, dig, and build when it starts to look daunting for us. (Mind you, that’s just some of us, some of the t…

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Outsiders, who have the usual image of wintry Buffalo, often ask, “Isn’t it a very short growing season?” They just don’t know about our comfortable, temperate climate and the extended gardening season we have in early fall. The trouble is: Many people here also act as if gardening is over when it’s time for the Erie County Fair. Let’s not be those people. Let’s not giv…

Gardening

Thousands of people have been looking at other people’s gardens this month. During at least 15 Buffalo Niagara region garden walks, the Open Gardens event, and now all around the big one – Garden Walk Buffalo July 28-29 – we hear the question: “What is that?” Some of the plants are commonly known to gardeners – hostas, daylilies and coneflowers for instance. But not all…

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We recently experienced extremely hot and humid weather, and summer had only just begun. We can expect more days like that – often called “dog days” – so let’s get ready for them. The hottest weather is rough on people and dogs, but it also kills or damages plants. Our flower baskets, vegetable beds, or home landscapes are investments, and precious to us. And we can tak…

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Buffalo is one exuberant gardening city, widely known for Garden Walk Buffalo, America’s largest garden tour, and increasingly for all the other community garden walks and open gardens. But even gardeners who decorate their porches and yards just for themselves and summer gatherings have advantages in Western New York. Our garden centers and nurseries offer fabulous flo…

Gardening

Something is missing in many garden lessons. The instructor or writer addresses “right plant, right place” and goes on about site analysis: Know your sun or shade, soil, wind, and drainage etc. and choose plants that suit that location. What’s missing: how the plant behaves over time, as it grows. Does the plant stay compact? Does it get tall and floppy? Does it form a …

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Spring came late to Western New York and then, whoosh, everything leaped from the soil. Bulbs were glorious, but all too briefly. Sudden warm spells made some of them open too far and finish too soon. Perennials have stretched so quickly that many gardeners didn’t have time to divide or thin the clusters. The grass turned green, sending homeowners to stores looking for …

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo proclaimed May 6 to 12 to be Compost Awareness Week. The proclamation (an edited version here) reads: “Whereas, the Empire State supports environmentally-friendly initiatives … such as composting … through more than 190 regulated facilities in New York State that process more than 700,000 tons of organic material; and “Whereas, organic materials mak…