Monday, December 28, 2015

The Botanical Gardens in January 2016

Poinsettias grace the Gardens through January 3
The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, located at 2655 South Park Ave. in Buffalo, celebrates a new year with these events in January:
  • Poinsettias – Expect the Unexpected! – now through January 3.
  • Garden Railway Exhibit –now through January 3.
  • Arcangel Gallery: Local Artist Collaboration – Nature’s Pallette – now through January 10.
  • Wedding Open House – attend the free open house on January 14 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. – register at 716-827-1584 x.219 or x.220.
  • Arcangel Gallery: Darleen and Darren Stry – January 16 through March 13.
  • Dollar Day – on January 18, admission is just $1 – members and kids under 3 are always free.
  • Amaryllis – January 23 through February 28.
  • Orchids – January 23 through February 28.
  • Lumagination Launch Party – January 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. – $30 for Garden members, $35 for non-members.
  • Lumagination – January 27-30, February 3-6, 10-13 and 17-20 – $12 for adults, $10 Garden members, seniors and students, $5 kids 3 to 12, free for kids 2 and under (no guest passes can be used) – Wednesdays and Thursdays 6 to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 6 to 10 p.m.
For more information on these events and others at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, visit

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Botanical Gardens Poinsettia Show – December 27, 2015

It was a rainy day in Buffalo on Sunday, but it was warm and sunny in the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, which was hosting one of its many Dollar Days of the year (the next one is January 18). The main attraction was “Poinsettias…Expect the Unexpected!” – and the $1 admission price as well!

I love poinsettias, but the last time I had them in my house, my allergies were something fierce, so I settle in two ways: 1) fake poinsettias (because I can get purple and teal ones!) and 2) an annual trip to the Gardens. 2014 was the first year of “Expect the Unexpected!” and I loved it, because there were lots of teal and purple Christmas trees and poinsettias, so I was a little disappointed this year when the only purple tree I saw was in the Wegmans Family Garden area.

Otherwise, there were a number of unique varieties of poinsettias presented – I particularly liked the ruffled ones. Also part of the show is the WNY Garden Railway Exhibit, which features three setups including Thomas the Tank Engine and Harry Potter.

Here are a few more photos from the show – it runs through January 3, so you still have time to check it out for yourself!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Care for your poinsettia after the holidays

2014 - Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
One flower that is synonymous with the Christmas season is the poinsettia. With over 100 varieties available, this native Mexican plant accounts for 85% of potted plant sales during the holiday season. Caring for your poinsettia upon selection will help prolong its beauty well past the holiday season.

Selecting your poinsettia

Selecting the right poinsettia is the most important part of caring for it - a healthy poinsettia at purchase has the best chance of staying healthy. Choose a plant with fully-colored bracts (bracts are what most would consider the "flower;" the actual flower is the yellow center); make sure there is no green around the bract edges (sign of a poinsettia being sold before maturity). Choose a plant with deep green foliage down to the soil line; do not choose plants with droopy or yellow leaves.

The plant itself should be balanced and full, and approximately 2-1/2 times taller than its container's diameter. Do not buy plants displayed in sleeves or that have been crowded together (poinsettias need room), but be sure to cover the plant when transporting it in temperatures below 50-degrees F.

When you get your poinsettia home

Unwrap it and place it in indirect sunlight, around six hours daily. Keep it away from extreme temperatures: keep it from touching cold windows, and from cold or warm air produced by radiators, air returns, open doors, heaters, or fireplaces. Keep poinsettias in daytime temperatures of 65- to 70-degrees F and nighttime temperatures around 55-degrees F (do not let it get below 50-degrees F).

Do not overwater your poinsettia, or let it sit in standing or drained water; water the plant only when the soil is dry to the touch. Don't fertilize your plant while it is in bloom.

Post-holiday poinsettia care

2014 - Buffalo and Erie County Botanical
Once your poinsettia loses its bracts, there's no need to throw it out. Allow the plant to dry out some (not completely) and move it to a cool, dark area until early spring. Cut the plant back to a 6" to 8" height in late March or early April and fertilize once every 3 to 4 weeks with a household plant fertilizer. When all chance of frost has passed, place plants outside, as long as night temperatures are above 55-degrees F. Prune the plant around Independence Day (July 4th) to keep it compact and well-shaped.

Beginning October 1st, keep plants in complete darkness for 12 to 14 straight hours every night by covering with a large box or placing in a totally dark room. They will also need 6 to 8 hours of indirect sunlight between early October and early December, and night temperatures between 60- and 70-degrees F. Continue normal watering and fertilizing, and you should have a reblooming plant for next Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Proven Winners’ Holy Moly! and Meteor Shower part of Garden Gate’s “New Plants We Can’t Resist” list

Superbells Holy Moly! calibrachoa
Two of the plants I tested last year as part of the Proven Winners trial box have been included in Garden Gate magazine’s “New Plants We Can’t Resist in 2016” list in its February 2016 issue: Superbells Holy Moly! calibrachoa and Meteor Shower verbena.

As a big fan of calibrachoa, I loved the Holy Moly! plants – their pink and yellow color combination was unique and sunny, and they’re great in containers.

Meteor Shower verbena (along
fence panel)
Meteor Shower was the first verbena I had ever tried, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I seemed to grow a little wild, with its long stems flopping all over the place – in reading the description in Garden Gate, this is actually a shorter verbena! The magazine also says it doesn’t set as many seeds and won’t be as prevalent in next year’s garden – we’ll see if there are any volunteer plants next year!

Proven Winners also had two plants on the perennials list: Leading Lady Lilac bee balm and Jazz Hands Variegated Chinese fringe flower.

Check out the magazine at

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Reconnect with nature in 2016

Feel like you spend too much time connected to your tech- phones, computers, games and television? Make 2016 the year you reconnect with nature!

Garden Media Group’s 2016 Garden Trends Report offers ideas on how to reconnect with the outside world – nature – without completely disconnecting from “the grid.”

Connected Greenery – digital tools like Nest allow people to wirelessly control what happens in their home and garden.

NaTECHure – get the kids out and moving, whether it’s gardening, hiking or playing outdoors.

Maker’s Lifestyle – the DIY movement is going strong – not just crafting and home improvement projects, but also farm-to-table meal creation as well.

Backyard Boldness – from “nightscaping” with light and sound to the continuing trend of outdoor “rooms,” this continues to be a popular trend.

Petscaping – your pets are an important part of your family, so be aware of their safety just as you would your human family’s.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Costa Farms offers holiday plant ideas

Press release from Garden Media Group.

Add a fresh touch to this year’s holiday festivities with indoor plants from Costa Farms. Adding houseplants is an easy and affordable way to bring long-lasting style and cheer to any space.

Holiday plants are more than just festive decorations. These “green heroes” also provide oxygen, clean the air and keep on giving all year long.

“Holiday plants make a room come alive,” says Justin Hancock, garden expert at Costa Farms. “They brighten your home, enliven a mantle and bring a sense of freshness with an impact.”

Norfolk Island Pine

“Known to many as a miniature Christmas tree, the Norfolk Island Pine is a perfect gift or decoration for any room in the house,” says Hancock.

Norfolk Island Pine ranges from 14 to 44 inches tall and comes natural or fully decorated. String lights and add ornaments for a personal touch. Remove decorations after the holidays for an easy-care houseplant that will thrive all year.

Christmas Cactus
credit: Garden Media Group

A Christmas cactus is a great tradition handed down through generations. This tropical plant is easy-to-grow and comes in shades of pink, red, yellow, orange and white. Put it in a medium-bright spot, give plenty of humidity and consistent moisture and it will continue to bring joy long after the holiday season.

“A Christmas cactus looks great during the holidays and is beautiful blooming machine,” adds Hancock. “With just minimal attention, it will bloom profusely every year around the holidays for years to come.”


A Beautiful MothOrchid is so easy-to-grow, making it the gift people love to receive. Brilliant flowers last for months in rich shades of pink, purple, yellow, orange and white.

Moth orchid instantly changes the atmosphere of any room. The color and shape of plant grabs attention as a focal point or be an understated accent.

Enjoy months of blooms after the holidays with little effort. Put in a bright spot but not in direct light. Indoors, moth orchid loves east- or west-facing windows. Water about once a week and let the pot drain well.

Joy Globe

credit: Garden Media Group
Put a plant on your Christmas tree! Joy globe is a gorgeous holiday ornament that holds a living air plant inside. It’s a fun, chic way to incorporate plants into holiday décor.

“Joy Globes add a whimsical touch to any space. They’re especially fun because you can hang them in places where you can’t grow other types of plants,” adds Hancock.


The most popular holiday plant is Poinsettia. It packs a big punch with a great big pop of color, ranging from vivid red, to pink and pure white and even striped like a candy cane. This joyful plant is the perfect gift for a bright location and out of the way of cold drafts.

Red Aglaonema

One of the easiest of all houseplants to grow, Red Aglaonema is an especially stylish choice for the holidays thanks to its red-edged leaves. Use it as a long-lived accent to poinsettias, Christmas cactus and other holiday favorites.

After the holidays, red Aglaonema retains its good looks to add drama and interest to interior décor in homes and offices all year long.

For more information on these holiday plants or to find a retailer near you, visit

Saturday, December 12, 2015

BrazelBerries Collection expands with Perpetua

credit: Garden Media Group
Press release from Garden Media Group.

Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, Inc., the world’s leading blueberry nursery stock and genetics company, continues to introduce new berry varieties to its BrazelBerries Collection that anyone can enjoy right in their own backyard.

BrazelBerries Perpetua is a true double-cropping blueberry. Enjoy one crop of small, mild and sweet berries in mid-summer and then again in the fall when it fruits again with a full second crop. Perpetua’s attractive combination of dark green, glossy and curly leaves and flowers in the spring and summer make it a true stand-out in any garden. In winter, the leaves turn to deep red and green while the new canes become bright yellow and red.

As an ornamental beauty, Perpetua makes an excellent accent in the landscape.  With an upright, vase-shaped habit that is compact and vigorous, it’s best suited for zones 4-8.

The BrazelBerries Collection of berry shrubs is bred specifically for home gardeners. They are simple to grow, offer year-round beauty and produce delicious, abundant fruit. All BrazelBerries are self-pollinating, so only one bush is needed to produce fruit but additional blueberries nearby will generally increase production and sometimes berry size. Perpetua joins the other blueberries in the collection, Peach SorbetJelly BeanBlueberry Glaze and Pink Icing.

Perpetua will be available in 2016 exclusively at independent garden centers throughout the US and Canada.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

David Austin Roses debuts 2016 introductions

Olivia Rose Austin
credit: David Austin Roses
David Austin Roses has debuted its 2016 North American introductions, including a soft pink English Rose that Austin himself calls “possibly the best rose we’ve ever bred.”

“‘Olivia Rose Austin’ is a landmark English Rose introduction,” said Michael Marriott, technical director and senior rosarian of David Austin Roses in Albrighton, England. “It’s achingly beautiful, fragrant and as close to disease-free as we’ve ever seen.”

This new rose begins its extraordinarily long flowering season a full three weeks earlier than most other roses, early enough to overlap with the lilacs and wisteria, said Marriott. “All season, the blooms keep coming with full-blown flushes that follow in quick succession, hot on the heels of the one before,” he said.

Another 2016 introduction for North America is a rich yellow English Rose ‘The Poet’s Wife’, Austin’s first yellow introduction since ‘Charles Darwin’ in 2003. It’s a tough, reliable garden performer with excellent disease resistance and repeat-bloom.

“It was worth the wait for this glorious yellow rose,” said Marriott. “The flower and strong fruity fragrance are flawless. In fact, the fragrance is so delicious - richly fruity with hints of peach and lemon rind - that we’ve just added ‘The Poet’s Wife’ to our list of Most Fragrant English Roses.”

David Austin Roses’ third 2016 introduction is ‘The Lady of the Lake’, a blush pink, repeat-blooming rambler rose with a strong fresh citrus fragrance - Austin’s fourth repeat-blooming rambler. Like its predecessors, it’s bred to be repeat flowering, fragrant and short (10- to 15-feet tall) – three attributes that have changed the game in ramblers. Short ramblers are perfectly scaled to climbing trellises, walls, arches, fences, pergolas, obelisks and small trees. Highly fragrant short ramblers are very rare.

“Even though traditional rambler roses flower only once in a season people love the romantic look of masses of roses blooming in heavy sprays across high walls, buildings and trees,” said Marriott. “But tall ramblers can become huge sprawling monsters that envelope everything when planted in the wrong place. The appeal of short ramblers is that they bloom repeatedly while staying fairly compact and so are easy to keep under control.”

David Austin’s English Roses are available in the U.S. and Canada by mail-order as bare root stock, with orders taken year-round by phone or online. As always, those choosing new introductions should order early, as should those in warmer areas. The roses are sold on a first-come basis. No matter how early an order is placed, all roses are shipped only at the right time for planting in the recipient’s area.

To order, visit, call 1-800-328-8893, or write to David Austin Roses Limited, 15059 State Highway 64 West, Tyler, Texas 75704. The U.S. and Canadian mail-order collection features more than 200 bare root roses, including 134 Austin-bred English Roses. All David Austin roses sold in North America are specially selected for North American growing conditions and climate zones. All are grown and shipped within North America.

Quotes and information in this piece provided by Garden News Break for David Austin Roses.