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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of July 10, 2017

“The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives ….” — Gertrude Jekyll

Flowers that are 6”-8” long in shades of white, changing to pink to purplish pink and lasting for long periods while going through the color transformation could be none other than hydrangea paniculata! Beautiful plants hardy for zones 3-10 being, most likely, the most cold-hardy species and needing additional watering only during times of drought. A rather low-maintenance plant offering an abundance of flowers on up to 10’-20’ tall and wide tree-form hydrangeas. The hydrangea paniculata prefers well-drained soil and thrives in sun to part shade. Deadhead once the flowers have turned brown and prune in winter or early spring.  The flowers will be blooming on new wood which makes for a very hardy hydrangea.

When shopping at your favorite garden center for a hydrangea paniculata for your landscape, look for varieties such a limelight, little lamb, pee wee, pink diamond, quick fire, tardiva or pinkie winky. Any of them would make a wonderful addition! 

  • Make another sowing of cilantro, green beans, carrot and beet.
  • Place a deep layer of straw under developing fruit of squash, pumpkins and melons.  Development of fruit-rot diseases will be reduced due to frequent rain or overhead watering.
  • If you have an invasive shrub such as Japanese barberry in your landscape, consider replacing it with a native alternative such as witch alder, New Jersey tea, Virginia sweetspire (a favorite of mine) or bush honeysuckle.
  • When considering a hedge for privacy and have deer in the neighborhood, consider plantings of junipers or rosa rugosa roses.  Avoid deer delicacies of hemlock and yews.
  • Create a bouquet for the inside of the house or to decorate an outside table with cutting of zinnias, roses, dahlias and delphiniums.
  • Plant a low-maintenance container of Kalanchoe ‘Flapjacks’, Kalanchoe ‘Donkey Ears’ and Plectranthus ‘ Skeeter Scatter’ for a sunny spot and bring indoors to enjoy when the weather cools off and place in a well-lit area and water sparingly.
  • Cover highbush blueberries as the fruit begins to ripen to discourage the birds from eating them.  Wait until the fruit is beginning to soften and have been blue for a week before picking.

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