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.