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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of December 17, 2018
  • Be on the lookout for gardening lectures or courses being offered throughout the winter months.  Check with your local botanical garden or gardening clubs to see what is being offered.
  • If Spanish onions and leeks are on your indoor-seed starting list, consider preparing the pots and containers to be used now.  Mid-to-late January is not too early to sow these seeds if large bulbs by mid-summer is your goal!
  • If rosemary came into the house in a pot for the winter, be sure to keep the soil moist and do not allow it to dry completely out.  Rosemary will not survive drought-like conditions.
  • When choosing hardy bulbs to force indoors for a beautiful spring-like display, choose bulbs that are firm and without blemishes.  Start with a container that has drainage holes and sufficient room for the development of the roots.  A container made of terracotta or ceramic are both good choices because they will not topple with the weight of the flowers.  Choose a well-draining potting mix, pre-moisten it and fill the container approximately ¾ full.  Plant larger bulbs (tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths) keeping the tips of the bulbs exposed just above the soil line.  Plant the smaller bulbs (miniature daffodils and grape hyacinths) covering them one inch below the surface of the soil.  They can touch.  The more bulbs, the more beautiful the display!  Water well initially and then keep the soil on the dry side.  Overwatering, and thereby rotting the bulb, is a common mistake.
  • Consider Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) for an alternative to grass for a small space.  It’s rich green foliage forms a solid mat and makes an excellent groundcover.  Chamomile releases an herbal fragrance when stepped on or brushed against.  Mowing or shearing occasionally is recommended.  Roman chamomile thrives in full sun, planted in well-drained soil and is hardy in zones 4-9.
  • Feeding the birds is a wonderful winter hobby.  Your favorite garden center has a full supply of bird seed, feeders and supplies perfect for gift giving this holiday season.  When setting up your feeder, be sure to place it where you can see it from a window.  You will be sure to enjoy it!

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