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By Lyn Chimera

The Western New York area has become well known for its beautiful gardens and active gardening community. We have the largest Garden Walk in the country and the whole month of July is filled with Open Gardens and other garden related activities. It’s a wonderful change from our reputation as a dying steel belt city.

How can you keep track of all that’s going on? Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com is a FREE weekly online magazine. that covers all things gardening for the coming week. In addition to listing events, it also has interesting, timely, and informative articles.

Connie Oswald Stofko is single handedly responsible for developing this amazing resource. Back in June of 2010 she was looking for something to do and read a blog by Seth Godin, an inspirational writer. He suggested following your passion. Gardening was one of Connie’s passions. Connie has an extensive background in journalism starting with The Amherst Bee so combining gardening with writing was a perfect match.

Her first article was about the National Garden Festival (now called Gardens Buffalo Niagara), which was starting in Buffalo. Her first issue consisted of 2 articles. BuffaloGardening.com has grown over the years to featuring timely and informative articles and a detailed listing of garden related events including garden club meetings for that week and beyond. One of the best things about this magazine is all the plants and information are appropriate to WNY. There are now over 11,000 subscribers and growing.

One of the interesting features of the publication is that it’s interactive. After each article there is an opportunity to make a comment, ask a question, or add to the information. Another good feature is there is a brief description of each article on the first page. The reader can click on the articles that interest them to read the full article. Most articles include links to additional information on the topics.

Often readers will ask questions about a topic. Connie says she is not a gardening expert but knows people who are and approaches them for clarifications or answers. The Master Gardeners of Erie County contribute monthly articles known as WNY Gardening Matters.

You don’t have to be a subscriber to check out the website. Go to Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com to check out the latest issue. Remember this is a FREE service. To subscribe, all you need to do is enter your email and zip code.

You are probably wondering how Connie can afford to offer this for free. Sponsors are the answer. At first, she was looking for a few sponsors. Now it has become so popular sponsors are approaching her. My garden consulting business, Lessons from Nature, is one of the sponsors.

Connie said, “At one point I considered charging a subscription fee, but I knew that no matter how much I charged, there would be someone who loved the magazine but couldn't afford the fee. That's why I started Super Readers. If people liked the magazine enough, they could support me at the level that worked for them. I send them small thank-you gifts, such as an e-book on gardening tips. “

There are 2 major gardening events during March, Master Gardener Education Day and Plantasia.

Master Gardener Education Day:

The annual MGED is Saturday March 11, 2023 at Classics V Banquet Center. Those of you who have attended in the past know what a fun and educational day this is. The day includes continental breakfast, hot buffet lunch and a basket raffle. We have 3 outstanding presenters:

- Paul Zammit – Back by popular demand, one of the top garden speakers in the country will present on Container Gardening

- Tim Boebel – Author of the definitive book on hydrangeas will speak on Growing Hydrangeas and Flowering Shrubs

- Dr. Allison Chatrychyan – from Cornell University will talk about Climate Smart Solutions for the Home Gardener

Registration is required! Register at erie.cce.cornell.edu/events or call 652-5400 ext. 176.

Plantasia: The Official Sponsor of Spring

Thursday, March 16 – Sunday, March 19. Hamburg Events Center. Local landscapers will display their garden creativity with our 2023 theme of a New Twist on an Old Classic

The 4 day event includes blooming gardens created by WNY’s finest landscapers. Over 100 vendors offering plants, seeds, bulbs, garden decor, outdoor furniture, lighting and everything else you need to create your own perfect outdoor living experience. Children's Garden hosted by Penn Dixie Fossil Park & Nature Reserve. Educational seminars presented every day. Check the website: https://plantasiany.com/ for the full schedule of events and presentations.

I’ll be making two presentations: 3/16 at 1:00 – Perennials for Shade and 3/18 at 12:00 – Creating a Natural Garden. Stop by and say hello.

Lyn Chimera
Lessons From Nature