By Mary Heyl

Whether you have a spacious yard to plant your perennials and grow a hearty vegetable patch or you only have a small window box or sill, you can cultivate a lovely garden this spring that’s perfectly suited to your space and available free time. Erie County has a variety of opportunities for gardeners to get started with their spring planting, including plant sales, educational seminars and herbs galore!

There’s no better place to get inspired than the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens’ Great Plant Sale taking place this weekend! On Friday, May 19 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Botanical Gardens will have an excellent selection of plants, some of which are from their own collection, available for sale.

This year’s selection has some unusual plants including Japanese maples, expanded vegetable and herb selections, and even drought-tolerant varieties that thrive in the sun. Of course, the flowering perennials are always a popular choice for those looking to spruce up their yard and attract pollinators; locally grown lilacs and hanging baskets are the perfect choice. The Botanical Gardens is located at 2655 South Park Avenue in Buffalo: Call (716) 827-1584 to learn more.

If a small yard or limited free time prevents you from planting large flower beds or vegetable gardens, consider planting an herb garden this spring. Herb gardens can be started in small pots indoors and transferred outside, even if you only have a few square feet available. Earth Spirit Educational Services of Orchard Park invites you to attend one of its Herbalism Field Studies this weekend. This informative guided walk is focused on plant identification and ecology, along with an emphasis on herbal medicines and wild foods.

The Field Studies take place over four sessions which are $25 each or $90 for all four sessions. Sessions are on the following Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.: session 1 takes place on Saturday, May 20 at the Buffalo Ski Club on Lower East Hill Road in Colden and session 2 takes place on Sunday, May 21 at the Erie County Forest Lands. Session 3 takes place on Saturday, June 10 at the Sinking Ponds, and Session 4 takes place on Sunday, June 11 at the Aurora Town Park. Register online at or call (716)941-6267.

As you make plans for your herb garden, be sure to visit Mike Weber Greenhouses located at 42 French Road in West Seneca. In addition to a huge variety of perennials, annuals, hanging baskets and vegetable plants, this family-owned business has an excellent selection of forty different herbs. Visit their website at for a complete directory of their herbs, which includes tips on which parts of the herb to cook with, flavor descriptions and suggested uses. For instance, pennyroyal and catmint are excellent natural insect repellents and, when added to a bouquet, can be used to keep away household pests. Plan your visit to Mike Weber Greenhouses today by calling (716)822-8887.

If you’re looking for hanging baskets, geraniums, potted plants or herbs and vegetables, stop by the Creekside Greenhouse, at 8302 Otto-E. Otto Road.

Would you like to take your gardening to an even smaller scale this spring? In addition to a large garden center with hanging baskets, houseplants, and potted plants, Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses located at 118 South Forest Road in Williamsville has miniature gardens for you. These tiny gardens are similar in scale to a doll house, and some even come complete with furniture. The mini garden called “Mom’s Garden” has easy-to-care-for succulents grown in an 8-inch bowl with a tiny chair and tea set among the plants. The mini Zen garden also has a variety of succulents grown in a small 10×15” planter with a miniature crane and gong. These fun gardens are perfect to enjoy on your windowsill or give as a gift! Shop their great selection online at or call (716)632-1290 to place your order or learn how you can create your own miniature garden!