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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of December 10, 2018
  • Looking for a groundcover as an alternative to a lawn in a shady, dry location? Consider Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica). The plant grows approximately 6” tall with soft, arching leaves. It is native to dry, woodland areas and thickets in Eastern and Central North America. Pennsylvania sedge spreads by rhizomes; and flowers, although insignificant, emerge in May. Hardy in zones 3-8.
  • If attracting pollinators to your garden is your goal, plant blanket flower (Gaillardia spp.). Brightly colored, drought tolerant and long blooming, blanket flower attracts many native bees, honey bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. Growing 2’-3’ tall and blooming from June until September, blanket flower is hardy in zones 3-10.
  • Spice up your potatoes by adding herbs of basil, chives, dill, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage or thyme.
  • Winter is the perfect time to prune evergreen hedges. To prevent winter snow from breaking the hedge and splaying the branches, prune so that they are narrower at the top than at the base of the hedge. To keep the clippings from being caught up in the hedge and in your way, begin pruning from the bottom and work your way up.
  • When choosing the perfect Christmas tree off the lot, tap the butt of the tree on the ground. If a lot of needles fall off, the tree has been cut for a while and is already drying out. Another tree would be a better choice.
  • Arborvitae, yew, ivy, rhododendron, vinca and euonymus are some of deer’s’ favorite winter foods. If deer browsing is a problem, consider spraying effected plants with a deer repellent solution or wrapping the plants in black netting used to keep birds off berry bushes. Deer don’t like to bite into the netting.
  • To help eradicate weeds that crop up in-between bricks and pavers, try pouring hot, boiling water on them. It is both effective and inexpensive.
  • Thalictrum rochebrunianum (Meadow Rue) is one of my favorite perennials. They are tall, 4’-6’, yet are light and airy. Sprays of blue-green leaflets hold dainty stems of tiny lavender flowers. They are shade tolerant and have a very, lacy look blooming in late summer into autumn. Hardy in zones 4-7

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