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Gardening and More: Lockwood’s Fall Garden Fair set for Sept. 7– 8

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW — Hydrangea macrophylla is a popular hydrangea, but it can die back in the winter, which means it won’t bloom the following summer. Tim Boebel, author of the book Hydrangeas in the North, will speak on Sept. 7 at Lockwood’s Fall Garden Fair in Hamburg, explaining what you can do to get better blooms from your hydrangeas. Photo courtesy of Tim Boebel.

HAMBURG — Vendors, speakers and demonstrations will be part of Lockwood’s Fall Garden Fair, to be held Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 7 and 8 at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, located at 4484 Clark St. in Hamburg. Hours are 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Admission to the event is free. Classes are $10 each, $25 for three classes or $40 for all six classes.

Tim Boebel, author of the book “Hydrangeas in the North,” will speak at 11 a.m. Saturday, on how to get better blooms on hydrangeas, in our climate.

Boebel, who now works at a garden center located southeast of Rochester, is originally from Marilla. He got a degree in English education from Buffalo State College, did some substitute teaching, then got a summer job at a nursery in Alden. He’s been in the gardening business, ever since.

He got interested in hydrangeas in the late 1990s, because so many of his customers came in asking why their hydrangeas weren’t blooming, especially macrophylla and serrata. Books have been written on hydrangeas, but those books were all aimed at gardeners in mild climates—Nobody seemed to have advice for gardeners in areas like Western New York.

The problem was that these hydrangeas all bloom on old wood, but they’re not stem hardy—The old wood dies back, over the winter.

“If the old wood dies back over the winter, there goes all the buds that were set to bloom, the following year,” Boebel explained.

For the hydrangea serrata, the fix was pretty simple. Just plant the serrata in a spot where it is somewhat protected from the wind, and the wood shouldn’t die back.

It wasn’t as simple with the macrophylla, so Boebel said he planted tons of them, until he found a method that keeps them blooming.

The hydrangea macrophylla sets flower buds on the upper reaches of the stem, where they are more vulnerable to harsh weather. Boebel’s method tricks the plant into producing buds closer to the ground, where they can be better protected.

No, the new flowers aren’t clustered at the base of the plant because, as the plant grows, the stems that the buds are on grow, as well.

You can hear more details on his method in his talk at Lockwood’s, or in his book, which can purchased, during the event. You can also get more information in his YouTube video, “Tim Boebel: Hydrangeas in the North Macrophylla Method.”

Don’t let this discussion scare you off hydrangeas. There are species that are easier to maintain and new cultivars are being introduced as well, according to Boebel.

Other classes are:

Proven Winners Lecture, 9:30 a.m.

Sally Cunningham, local gardening expert, will show new pictures of the best proven winners plants, plants seen during the National Garden Festival, and favorites of the Lockwood’s staff. Cunningham will also share insights into plant placement.

Celebrating Fall, 1 p.m.

Mary Gurtler, design professional at Lockwood’s, will demonstrate an array of container ideas, both traditional and unexpected—using autumn’s abundance of design material. She will demonstrate an entry pot, with an accompanying vignette to welcome you home, ideas for colorful window box updates, and a tabletop arrangement for harvest dinners on the patio.

Drying Herbs and Flowers—Preserving the Beauty, 11 a.m.

The popular and entertaining horticulturist David Clark will show you how to harvest and preserve the best of our herbs and flowers. This includes culinary, decorative and fragrant plants, in your garden and field.

Edible Plants—in Your Meadow, Woods or Landscape, 12:30 p.m.

Ken Parker, CNLP, the region’s most knowledgeable native plants expert, will share how to cook with many of our garden and landscape plants. The presentation includes tasting, recipes and traditional Native American plant uses.

Garlic for Your Health—Grow It! Eat It!, 1:30 p.m.

Tom Szulist, the “garlic guy,” will show and tell you exactly how and why to use garlic every day, in many ways—with some tasting, too. Tom will present many kinds of garlic, that will also be available for purchase, with recommendations for their best uses.

I’ll have a booth there too, so feel free to stop by and say hello!

Connie Oswald Stofko is publisher of, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email

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