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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of December 16, 2019
  • Spray poppy seed heads, artichokes, fronds of hemlock and holly gold and/or silver to use as part of holiday decorating.
  • Winter is a great time to work on pruning.  Prune in stages.  First remove dead or diseased wood and then remove weak and crossed stems (which can rub against each other).  Shape the plant.  Remember to make all cuts at an angle slanting slightly above and away from a bud or lower branch.
  • Prune hedges, especially evergreen ones, so they are narrower at the top than at the base to help prevent winter winds and snow from breaking the hedge by splaying the branches.
  • For a beautiful, bright display in containers next season, consider Bossa Nova ‘Pure White’ begonia (Begonia boliviensis Bossa Nova ‘Pure White’).  This lovely annual, that prefers partial to full shade, provides a continuous display of pendulous white blooms on coral-pink stems.  It is drought resistant, deer resistant, and grows 16” tall and wide.  Gorgeous!
  • Looking for a beautiful, compact evergreen for the rock garden or to cascade over a wall?  Consider ‘Cole’s Prostrate’ Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis ‘Cole’s Prostrate’).  Soft green needles forming a mat-like appearance cover its weeping branches.  Reaching only 2’-4’ wide and 1’ tall, Cole’s Prostrate is very slow growing.  Thriving in part sun and requiring even moisture, it will not tolerate drought.  A winter mulch is recommended.  Hardy in zones 3-7.
  • For a continuous crop of elderberries, choose ‘Nova’ for large, very dark fruit.  Nova will fruit early and heavily.  ‘York’ will flower at the same time as Nova yet the large fruit will ripen after Nova.
  • To add additional fall color to the landscape, consider adding scarlet beauty sweetspire (Itea Virginica Scarlet Beauty (‘Morton’)).  Its green foliage turns a vibrant scarlet red in the fall and the colorful leaves will persist through the first hard frost lasting even longer in warmer zones.  Thriving in the shade and producing fragrant, white clusters of flowers in the summer, scarlet beauty maintains a small, compact size, 3’-4’ tall and wide, without pruning.  Preferring moist to wet soil, it is hardy in zones 4-9.

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