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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of January 6, 2020
  • When considering adding berries to the landscape this season, keep in mind that strawberries, because they are shallow rooted, would do well in a raised bed.  A bottomless wooden box approximately 8” – 10” deep filled with organically rich soil will provide an excellent home for strawberries.  If building a raised bed is out of the question, consider creating a bed for the strawberries by mounding up the organically rich soil 8”-10”.  Tending to the garden will be easier on your back too!
  • A flowering raspberry (Rubus Odoratus) is beautiful both in summer, for its purple-pink flowers, and in autumn for its foliage in vivid shades of red and purple.  The flowers, loved by both honey bees and bumblebees, develop into berries which attract songbirds to the garden.  Best planted on the edge of a border or where it can naturalize, flowering raspberry grows 3’-6’ tall and twice as wide.  Thriving in full sun to part shade in well-drained soil, flowering raspberry is hardy in zones 3-8.
  • An amaryllis bulb, gown in soil, can be used again the following season.  Once the flowers are spent, remove the stalk and fertilize monthly with a water-soluble fertilizer.  Reduce watering by half in midsummer.  Once all of the leaves are yellow, cut the foliage to an inch above the bulb and store in a dark, cool location for a minimum of 6 weeks.  Bring out to a sunny location and water well.  The cycle will begin again!
  • Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) attracts honey bees, butterflies and bumble bees to the landscape.  If it is growing prolifically, hummingbirds will be attracted as well.  Hyssop is a small, aromatic, lavender-like shrub growing up to 2’ tall.  In mid-to-late summer blue, pink or white flowers appear with blue being the most common.  Thriving in full sun to part shade, hyssop is hardy in zones 4-9.
  • Use eggshells this season when planting tomatoes, eggplants, and other plants in the nightshade family.  Eggshells contain high amounts of calcium, a mineral beneficial to these plants.  Simply place some in the bottom of the planting hole at planting time.

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