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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of August 6, 2018
  • The annual species of lobelia do much better in cooler summer climates than in hot, humid ones.  Plants thrive in large patio containers.  They don’t do as well in hanging baskets.  They are also beautiful as a border to the perennial garden.  They can withstand full sun in the northern climates, however, afternoon shade in the south is best.
  • Rhododendron ‘Nancy Evans’ is a true show stopper in the shade garden.  Its funnel shaped orange-red buds open into 2 ½” wide trumpets of amber and yellow with a hint of orange.  Its compact stature make it an ideal choice for smaller spaces.  Hardy in zones 5-9.
  • To make herbal vinegar, choose white, white wine, red wine, apple cider or rice vinegar depending on the herbs you’re adding.  Heat the vinegar but don’t boil it.  Pour the vinegar into a glass jar to which you have already added fresh herb sprigs or leaves.  Use approximately three 2” sprigs for each cup of vinegar.  Garlic, shallots or chilies can be used as well by adding one cup of vinegar.  Once the vinegar has cooled completely, cover it and store it in a cool, dark place for up to one year.  Use the vinegar in salad dressing and marinades.  Enjoy!
  • Order and plant your autumn crocus now!
  • Remove any sun-scorched or diseased foliage on perennials.
  • Hold off on pruning shrubs until they lose their leaves this fall.  By pruning them now, you may be encouraging new growth of stems that do not have time to prepare for winter.
  • Don’t remove leaves that shade fruit on tomato plants or than can suffer sun scald.
  • Keep watering perennial and vegetable gardens as well annuals and established trees if it has been dry.  New plantings are especially in need of supplemental watering.  An inch of water a week is what is recommended.  Water early in the day to avoid evaporation and use a soaker hose if you are able.  Both of these techniques help avoid fungal plant diseases.
  • Astrantia major ‘White Giant’ Masterwort is an uncommon perennial.  It is perfect for dappled shade and in transitional areas between shade and sun.  It grows 2’ tall and 1’-2’ wide.  ‘White Giant’ resembles Queen Anne’s Lace and the butterflies love them!  They are hardy in zones 5-9 and look beautiful planted in masses.

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