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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of January 7, 2019
  • A beautiful groundcover alternative to consider for the woodland garden in place of the more aggressive Japanese pachysandra (P. terminalis) is Allegheny spurge (Pachysandra procumbens).  Growing six inches tall in three-to-four foot wide clumps, it combines well with other woodland plants and produces white, bottlebrush, fragrant flowers prior to the new leaves emerging.  Allegheny spurge is hardy in zones 5-9.
  • The California poppy (Eschschozia californica) is a colorful annual, or short-lived perennial, which attracts bumble bees, especially the common yellow-faced bumble bee (Bombus vosnesenskii).  Other species of bees visit this plant as well to collect pollen.  Being that this flower does not produce nectar, hummingbirds and butterflies ignore the California poppy entirely.  To attract the most bees, choose the common form of this plant with orange or pale yellow flowers.  Growing in sun to part-shade, preferring dry soil conditions, and beautiful in containers, the California poppy blooms in the late spring, summer or fall.  Hardy in zones 2-11, it is also deer resistant.
  • To flavor peas, add herbs of chives, rosemary, tarragon or thyme.
  • To keep the air in the house moist for both you and your plants, keep a pot of water containing a cinnamon stick and cloves simmering on the stove over low heat when you are at home.
  • Place potted bulbs of beautiful amaryllis near a window where they will receive plenty of natural light.  Water once when planting and then water weekly once plants begin to sprout.  As the stalks begin to lengthen, turn the pot a quarter turn every two days to prevent the stalks from bending towards the light.  By keeping the stalks straight, the plant will not topple over once it becomes heavy with its gorgeous, large flowers.
  • January is a great time of year to give your houseplants a lukewarm shower to remove dust.  Using a humidifier nearby will help to discourage red spider mites.  Fertilize lightly and spray plants with a mister.
  • A beautiful choice for the shade garden with glorious late summer, fragrant white flowers on upright stems is Japanese bugbane (Actaea japonica, syn. Cimicifuga japonica).   Growing up to 3’ tall, Japanese bugbane is the perfect vertical complement to the perennial garden.  Hardy in zones 4-8.

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