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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of February 20, 2017

There are many plants that are particularly attractive when protruding from a stone wall, seemingly flowing right out of the wall. Sedums are a favorite but some other good choices include: basket-of-gold (Aurinia saxatilis), candytuft (Iberis sempervirens), Carpathian bellflower (Campanula carpatica), creeping baby’s breath (Gypsophila repens), false rockcress (Aubrieta deltoidea), rockcress (Arabis caucasica), and saxifrage (Saxifraga).

  • Chop down a cherry tree in honor of George Washington’s Birthday (Actually, February 22 on the Gregorian calendar). Just kidding! Leave the tree trunk intact but prune a few branches to force into bloom.  Though twigs of sweet and sour cherries can be used for forcing, those from ornamental types will yield flowers which are a bit larger and more attractive.
  • Do you have a complex landscaping project? Massachusetts Certified Horticulturists can help. An MCH is qualified through training and practice as expert in the field of horticulture. MCH professionals have the knowledge, experience, and resources to provide the most creative and comprehensive solutions for any residential or commercial landscape project.
  • Whenever we post this tip in the spring, someone inevitably says we are a week too late – they have cut their hydrangea back already. So before the weather warms up, and you are tempted to do some yard clean up, we implore you to please leave your blue hydrangeas alone. We know it’s tempting to neaten them up, but the flower buds are on those twigs!
  • Tempted to cut back your overgrown forsythia on the first warm day in your garden? Bring the branches you cut inside, and put them in water. They will burst into bloom! You can even do it now if you can’t wait.
  • Sow seeds of onions and leeks indoors. Seedlings of these vegetables grow slowly, so it’s good to get an early start. Since they can withstand spring frosts, the seedlings can be transplanted to the garden as soon as soils are dry enough to be worked.
  • Add sweet peas to your seed list. This is the ornamental sweet pea not the vegetable or garden pea, also known as English peas. Sweet peas can be planted at the same time as garden peas since they germinate and grow best in cool weather. They can also be started indoors about 2 to 3 weeks before transplanting outdoors in late March or early April. Being a tall annual vine (6-9 feet tall)—though there are some short varieties (30 inches)—sweet peas should be grown on a trellis. It is a very fragrant plant that is underutilized in this cool climate.

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