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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of August 20, 2018
  • To tell the difference between a rhododendron and an azalea, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.  Azaleas are smaller plants overall with smaller and thinner leaves than rhododendrons.  Azaleas also have smaller flower clusters and approximately 5 stamens per flower.  Rhododendrons have approximately 10 stamens per flower.
  • A wonderful annual flower that blooms mid-to-late summer and remains colorful until fall is Otacanthus caeruleus (Brazilian Snapdragon).  The lavender blue flowers have a white eye and there are three or four flowers per stem.  The leaves are clean and seldom attract insects or disease.  They are a vigorous grower.  Brazilian Snapdragon are excellent cut flowers and will last in a vase for a week to 10 days.
  • When choosing the best, most flavorful herbs for asparagus, choose chives, lemon balm, sage, savory, tarragon or thyme.
  • Harvest the leaves of fennel and dill anytime.  Cut the stalks of both and place them upside down in a paper bag to harvest the seeds once they turn brown.
  • Harvest shallots and onions when their leaves are half browned.  Let these bulbs dry in the sun for a day or two then cure them by storing them in a dry and well-ventilated spot for another week.  Harvest scallions when the bulbs are less than an inch across.
  • Hill soil up around leeks to produce long white stems and harvest leeks in the fall. 
  • Continue sowing autumn crops such as mustard greens, savoy and Chinese cabbages, beets, escarole, kale, radishes, collards, kohlrabi, lettuce, parsnip, peas, radicchio, spinach and turnips.
  • When planning your fall bulb planting, consider tulipa ‘Blue Wow’.  ‘Blue Wow’ is new.  It emerges in the spring with a single layer of ivory and green petals; and then as it opens, a beautiful fullness of purple petals brighten the garden.  The flowers resemble a peony or cabbage rose.  Beautiful!
  • A beautiful, deer resistant, drought-tolerant perennial to consider for a small space in the garden is ‘Ritzy Rose’ yarrow (Achillea millefolium).  The plant’s deep rose flowers form a mounded habit, only 14” tall, and bloom non-stop from May through November.  ‘Ritzy Rose’ thrives in full sun and is hardy in zones 3-9.

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