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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of February 5, 2018

Let’s brighten up the week with houseplants and planning our vegetable garden!

  • Sansevieria is commonly referred to as snake plant or Mother-in-law’s tongue and is a very sturdy, almost indestructible, houseplant.  It will succeed in temperatures that are either warm or chilly (not below 40 degrees) and in full sun or near darkness.  Occasionally, they produce sprays of small, greenish-white, fragrant flowers like those of a spider plant, its relative.  Potted in an all-purpose potting soil and placed where it can receive the temperature of an average house during the winter heating season is ideal.  Water well and not again until the soil dries out and feed an all-purpose plant food all year.
  • If no usable garden space exists for planting vegetables, grow in containers.  Often times, vegetables grown in containers do better than those planted within a garden space because they are easier to maintain on a regular basis and they are growing in ideal soil conditions.  Soil for growing vegetables in containers consists of a combination of organic matter, coarse sand and perlite.  This mixture has better texture and more nutrient and moisture holding capacity than the garden soils contain.
  • Plant penstemon in your landscape this spring to invite hummingbirds for its energy-rich nectar.  Penstemon also bears seeds for ground-feeding birds in the summer and fall.
  • The Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis (L.) Carr. ) is a most tolerant tree as it will grow in very dense shade.  It is a preferred nesting site for the robin, blue jay, the wood thrush and many other species of birds.  The seeds of the Eastern Hemlock are eaten by the red crossbills, white-winged crossbills, chickadees, pine siskins and the goldfinches.  It is a beautiful tree when grown in the proper conditions.  It responds well to shearing and may be planted singly, in clumps or in hedges.  The Eastern Hemlock is a long-lived tree surviving for up to 450 years.  It is easily transplanted when given good soil.  It does best in deep, moist, well-drained loam in full sun as well as dense shade.  It does poorly in cities and in locations where hot, dry conditions prevail.

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