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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of January 20, 2020
  • When watering orchids, don’t let water accumulate inside the flowers.  It will shorten their bloom time.
  • With the onset of winter and the possibility of heavy, wet snow accumulation, be prepared to brush snow from evergreen trees and shrubs before it freezes.  Removing the weight of the snow before it has a chance to freeze, will help prevent winter storm damage to the branches.  If evergreen branches get splayed by snow, tie them up.
  • If using a chain saw is on your list of winter chores, be sure to follow some very important safety guidelines.  Wear protective goggles and a thick jacket.  Do not wear any loose clothing.  Don’t insert the chain into a previous cut or use it on wet wood.  Never raise the saw above your waist.
  • Consider sowing seeds of dill when choosing plants for the herb garden.  Seeds of dill are best sown directly in the ground; transplanting is not always successful.  Plant early in the spring when the threat of frost has passed in rows 2 -3 feet apart.  When the seedlings are approximately 2” tall, thin them to 10” – 12” apart.
  • Attracting butterflies, honey bees and bumble bees, Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum) is a great addition to a full-sun perennial garden.  Sending up erect stems of white to pale blue flowers from June to August and growing 4’ – 7’ tall, Culver’s Root will also tolerate wet soil.  Honey bees are often seen in large groups when flowers are present suggesting high-quality nectar.  Culver’s root will not tolerate dry sites and will fall over in the shade.  It is hardy in zones 3-8.
  • A native, vigorous grower, creating a dense mat, partridge berry (Mitchella repens) is a great groundcover.  Growing only a few inches tall in the shade, it is evergreen with fragrant, white flowers appearing in late spring.   The red fruit that follows extends well into the winter months when the birds enjoy is as a source of food. Partridge berry is hardy in zones 4-9.
  • A beautiful, often overlooked, native tree, Liriodendron tulipifera (American tulip tree), displays green and orange flowers in the summer.  A time of year when many other trees are not flowering.  This large and stately landscape tree will need plenty of room.  It can grow up to 90’ tall and 80’ wide at full maturity.  There are, however, smaller cultivars available.  For example ‘Arnold’ will grow to be only 50’ tall and 25’ wide.  ‘Little Volunteer’ is another “dwarf” cultivar to consider.  A primary larval host to several butterfly and moth species is another great reason to consider an American tulip tree for your landscape.  They are hardy in zones 4-9.

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