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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of August 21, 2017

“Throw all preconceived notions out the window, plant wildly, laugh at the failures, and smugly savor the successes.” Dan Hinkley, The Explorer’s Garden: Rare and Unusual Plants, 1999

Isn’t that what true gardening is all about, planting wildly?  As gardeners, we all love to plant.  Whether it be trees, shrubs, vegetables, perennials or fruits, we love to watch a seed grow, a flower bloom or a bird nest in a favorite tree.  We do laugh at the failures.  I did last summer when the 6-pack that I purchased from a favorite local farm stand had a tag in it that read “cucumbers”.  I, happily, planted it in my vegetable garden and was so surprised when the “cucumbers” were round and orange by the end of the summer.  I thought it odd when I noticed the foliage grow but was so sure that they were cucumbers because that is what the tag read.  It was a failure, yes, although not entirely.  The pumpkins made a beautiful autumn decoration.

Go and plant wildly.  You never know what type of “cucumbers” you may get!

  • If you don’t have Artemisia schmidtiana in your garden, August is a perfect time to add some.  Preferring full sun in zones 4-9.  The secret is not to over fertilize this plant nor plant it in the shade.  Either, or a combination of both, leads to flopping over, exposing the center.  To maintain the plant’s symmetry, remove the disclike, tiny flowering when they appear.
  • To help with powdery mildew in the landscape or the vegetable garden, make a spray solution by dissolving 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 quart of water.  Spray the leaves of the effected plant at the first signs of powdery mildew.
  • Harvest peppers only when needed.  They will stay crisper longer on the plant than they will in your refrigerator.
  • For a fun Halloween display, consider dropping a pot of Viola ‘Halloween II” Pansy or “Trick or Treat Mix” Pansy into either a hollowed out or ceramic pumpkin for an instant holiday arrangement to be placed anywhere!  It would also make the perfect hostess gift!
  • Consider disease-resistant varieties of apple trees such as ‘Burgundy’, ‘Mantet’, ‘Novamac’, ‘Redfree’, and ‘Spartan’ when adding trees.

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