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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of April 22, 2019
  • Sage is a beautiful herb for the garden.  Being a hardy perennial, and loved by cooks, sage leaves are thin and oval with a pebbly texture.  Their purple blossoms rise above the greenish gray foliage and are very pretty.  Young plants grow abundantly, however, replacing a sage plant every three years or so is recommended.  As the plant ages, they tend to develop woody, gnarled stems and fewer leaves.  Sage is delicious whether it is used fresh or dried.
  • A highly recommended plant for pollinators is penstemon ‘Midnight Masquerade’.  An easy-to-grow perennial boasting purple-black foliage and stems that are beautiful against the lavender flowers.  Bees and hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers blooming in early to mid-summer.  Thriving in full sun and reaching heights of three feet tall and wide, ‘Midnight Masquerade’ is hardy in zones 3-8.
  • Incorporate organic matter into the soil of the vegetable garden in preparation of planting.  Soils that are rich in organic matter are less likely to dry out due to the ability of the organic matter to retain moisture.  If heavy soil is a concern, work in limestone, sand and organic matter.
  • Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers in the areas of the vegetable garden where carrots, beets, turnips and radishes are grown.  Too much nitrogen will promote top leaf growth at the expense of the root development.
  • If garden space is at a premium, yet the idea of having fresh herbs is appealing, plant several types of herbs in a strawberry pot and keep it in a place that is easily accessible from the kitchen.
  • If fall-planted trees and shrubs appear dead this spring, just let them be and wait until July 4th before removing them.  Continue to water them as usual as if they had leafed out.  They just may fool you!
  • Spray fruit trees with dormant oil before they bloom and leaf out.  Doing so will help smother any insect eggs or larvae that are present.
  • To help keep the roots of clematis cool and prevent excessive loss of moisture, plant a low-growing perennial or shrub close to the newly planted clematis.  Avoid the use of slates or slabs to shade the clematis’ roots.  These are perfect hiding place for slugs, snails and other garden pests.

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