Thursday, May 26, 2016

2016 Proven Winners preview box: The perils of May

I was once again contacted to receive a Proven Winners preview box, and I gladly accepted…unfortunately, the weather here in Buffalo didn’t cooperate thoroughly and I lost four of the 20 plants, partially because I couldn’t get them outside in the cooler weather (yes, it snowed around May 15!).

I plan on doing the best I can with what is left, however. The collection included two kinds of calibrochoas, a supertunia, an African daisy, two hydrangeas, a rose of Sharon, bee balm and much more.

Stay tuned to see how I use my Proven Winners plants and for updates throughout the season!

Proven Winners provided me with a number of plants used in these photos. All ideas and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Botanical Gardens in June 2016

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, located at 2655 South Park Ave. in Buffalo, celebrates the colors of summer and a fun event in June.
  • Arcangel Gallery: Rachel and Matthew Norvilitis, “Sibling Revelry” –now through August 7.
  • Bonsai Show – June 4-5 – includes demonstrations, raffles and shopping.
  • Garden Railway Exhibit – June 4-July 10.
  • Hosta Show – June 12 – single leaves will be judged by master judges from the northeastern US.
  • Celebration of Coleus and Color – June 18-July 24 – a brand new show featuring a new colorful addition: gladiolus.
  • Starry Night in the Garden – June 22 from 6-9 p.m. – acts include American Authors, Ben Rector and Birdy; tickets are $55 or $105 for VIP passes and are available here.
  • Buffalo-Style Garden Art Sale and Plant Society Avenue – June 25-26 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days – the annual Garden Art Sale moves from Delaware Park to a new location at the Botanical Gardens.
For more information on these events and others at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, visit

Sunday, May 15, 2016

2016: The year of the begonia

Begonia BIG Rose Green Leaf
credit: National Garden Bureau
The National Garden Bureau has named the begonia its annual of the year for 2016. With more than 1,700 species world-wide, begonias are one of the world’s most diverse class of plants, as well as one of the most widely used.

Begonia Non-Stop
credit: NGB/Park Seed
There are currently eight classes of begonias available through North American garden retailers (descriptions courtesy of
Begonia Sparks Will Fly
credit: National Garden Bureau
  • Begonia semperflorens-cultorum or “wax begonias” are the most common. Plants are small (8-12”) mounds with rounded leaves and blooms. Flowers range from white to scarlet red.
  • Begonia tuberosa (tuberous begonias) typically have large flowers in a broad color range. Flowers can be huge and double. Since the plants are monoecious, there are always both single (male) and double (female) flowers on the same plant. The leaves are usually asymmetrical, hairy or fuzzy and have a serrated edge.  
  • Begonia boliviensis is more heat tolerant than other types.  The plant branches cascade down in hanging baskets or window boxes. The leaves are similar in shape to tuberous begonias but are narrower and smooth. The flower has long, strap-like petals forming a soft trumpet.
  • Begonia hiemalis, also called elatior or Reiger begonia, typically have small to medium double flowers in a wide range of colors. These are often sold around the holidays.
  • Begonia masoniana has bold color patterns on leaves that are textured with puckers and appear coarse.
  • Begonia rhizomatous has thick, fleshy stems with large, colorful leaves. The leaves can be round or heavily lobed like a grape leaf. Some have small white flowers in the spring, and a few varieties bloom all summer.
  • Begonia rex are grown for their beautiful leaves, which are quite hairy or fuzzy and usually covered with multicolored, intricate swirled designs.
  • Begonia hybrida is used by plant breeders to show that a variety is a cross between two different classes.
Learn more about the allium in this piece at the NGB website.

Information in this piece provided by the National Garden Bureau.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

2016: The year of the allium

His Excellency
credit: National Garden Bureau
The National Garden Bureau has named the ornamental allium its bulb of the year for 2016. With hundreds of species world-wide, the use of alliums is on the rise, as it stands out – literally – from other plants.

Alliums are long, leafless stalks topped with clusters of florets that create globe-like blooms; the height of these beauties – many two feet and greater – makes them great companion plants for ornamental grasses, rudbeckia and echincacea.

Mount Everest
credit: NGB/Brent and Becky's Bulbs
Have problems with deer using your garden as a salad bar? You shouldn’t have a problem with ornamental allium, because deer don’t like them: while they are odorless in the garden, the leaves will release a pungent odor and bitter taste if they are munched on or stepped on. The flowers, however, will attract bees and other pollinators, as they are loaded with nectar.

Most alliums are grown from fall-planted bulbs, and are quite tolerable of dry growing conditions. Popular types include early-blooming “Purple Sensation,” pure-white “Mount Everest,” and giant-flowered “Gladiator,” “His Excellency” and “Globemaster.”

Learn more about the allium in this piece at the NGB website.

Information in this piece provided by the National Garden Bureau.