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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of April 24, 2017
  • Attract hummingbirds to your garden by planting these beautiful perennials: allium, bee balm, columbine, day lilies, delphinium, foxglove, and hosta. Hummingbirds also love annuals such as cleome, fuchsia, snapdragons, and nasturtium. You can also place a hummingbird feeder in a partly shady spot in your garden. Boil 4 parts water to 1 part sugar until sugar is dissolved. Cool, then fill your feeder. This mixture will remain fresh for about 5 days. Sit back and enjoy!
  • Negative space in the garden can give your eyes a place to pause.  Plant colored foliage in between lots of flowering plants. These pauses help you enjoy the scene longer, and can often add a calming effect to an otherwise busy design.
  • If you use negative space in your garden designing by leaving room in between individual plants, they will grow shorter (at least to begin with) than plants spaced closer together that eventually touch each other. Because once they touch, there is no place to grow but up. That’s why some people’s plants grow taller than others.
  • Dandelions can be a bright temporary distraction from a monochromatic sea of green and they feed the bees.
  • Massachusetts Flower Growers are proud to grow most of your flowers here, locally. But some plants, such as tropical Hibiscus, Mandevilla, and Bougainvillea, are best grown in the winter warmth of Florida then shipped up north. It uses less energy. Look for these beauties now arriving at local garden stores, but prepare to cover them on nights in the 30’s and 40’s.
  • Plan for success!  It’s always best to start with a Master Plan of your landscape before you begin. A plan can help you avoid undoing or redoing something when you can think the project through to the end. There is no need to complete it all at once. You can do the work yourself or have it done in phases, depending on your budget. In fact, one Massachusetts landscaper says that 95% of their landscape projects are generated from multi year phased designs.
  • Plant a tree to celebrate Arbor Day (April 28).  A crabapple would be a good choice.  Considering there are over 1,000 species, cultivated varieties, and hybrids of crabapple, making a choice can be daunting.  You have choices in regard to growth form (upright to weeping), flower, fruit, and leaf color, and degree of disease-resistance.  Planting the tree of choice will be easy but it must be done correctly.
  • Plant hellebores and epimediums beneath rhododendrons, azaleas, or mountain laurels.  These shade-loving, slow-growing groundcovers tolerate competition from the shallow rooted shrubs.

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