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Sally Cunningham


Gusto

The end is near! The sky is falling! It’s over! This is a typical reaction around Western New York in August. Why do we think this? Is it the Erie County Fair with its agricultural messaging about haying and harvest time? Is it the first cool night when we close the windows? Is it the sight of the corn and red tomatoes at the farm stands? Or maybe it’s just the back-to-…

Gusto

I did not see all 430-plus Garden Walk Buffalo gardens last weekend – nobody could – nor every garden on the Open Gardens weekday tours or the weekend tours across the Buffalo Niagara region this summer. But, like about 100,000 garden tourists, I saw lots of gardens and heard questions from locals and out-of-town visitors. “What did the people ask you?” I asked the gard…

Gardening

It’s the worry of many a third-grader turning in a project, as well as gardeners who have visitors on the way. Or bus tours. Or photographers. And the answer is: Neatness counts – sometimes, sort of, and depending. What’s your garden style? I know people who can’t stand to see plants touching each other. That sounds extreme, and possibly I’m rolling my eyes a little.…

Gusto

Pollinators – bees, butterflies, wasps, some flies and other insects – need us to grow certain plants. Growing them should be no burden for gardeners. Most are pretty and serve us many ways. Deciding which ones to choose, and finding them, isn’t always easy. Let’s try. Why bother? The reason to make an effort is bigger than our personal pleasure in watching the dance of…

Gusto

June is for perennials. It’s a promotional slogan for the plant industry, but it also makes sense: Now you can see your own perennials have emerged and you still have time to divide, thin and move them around. Now you can find most perennials out on the tables in garden centers, and many are flowering. And now our gardens have dried out – mostly – and we can finish prep…

Gusto

The White Rabbit ran frantically around Wonderland saying, “I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date!” Gardeners are acting just like that. The weather was cold, our yards were wet, and we couldn’t do much in the garden in the first three weeks of May. Many yards still have saturated soil, so our lawn and gardening projects are pushed back even later. How can we ca…

Gusto

Picture a gardening day: A warm sun is shining on your bare arms. Your sharpened shovel lifts soft soil as you plant the first tomatoes into a weed-free bed. Flowering flats of marigolds and begonias sit nearby, awaiting your tasteful placement. The birds are chirping ... It’s May, at last! Here is the darker picture: The month of May isn’t all merry. There are hard …

Gusto

People want to see flowers now – as many and as soon as possible. So we go to garden centers and look, perhaps to buy. This region’s garden centers are exhilarating after winter – tropical houseplants, early flowering annuals and perennials, spring-flowering shrubs. But what are you seeing and when can you put them outside? What is ‘cold-hardy’? In professional ga…

Gusto

Do you remember when recycling entered our collective conscience? Did you first think about The Three Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – in the 1960s or 1970s? In popular culture the 3-R mentality has certainly had highs and lows along the way, but now commitment to environmentally responsible consumerism is reaching a new high. That’s thanks in part to a caring younger g…

Gusto

The recent Philadelphia Flower Show reminded gardeners of what we know deep in our hearts: Flowers make us happy! The 190-year-old award-winning show, produced by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, is the country’s largest and oldest flower show. It’s always fabulous. This year’s theme was “Flower Power,” and the happiness factor was contagious: We danced. We bo…

Local News

The wind hit hard as February waned, damaging structures, vehicles and, most of all, trees. Late winter is the right time for most pruning anyway – a surprise to many – but now the task at hand is “corrective pruning.” What can you do, and how should you do it, to salvage or improve your beloved shrubs and trees? Storm-damaged trees Decision No. 1: What is worth t…

Gusto

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…

Gusto

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…

Gusto

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…

Gusto

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…