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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of July 23, 2018
  • Iresine (Bloodleaf) is a beautiful annual that is often mistaken for coleus.  Iresine has small flowers and rosy red foliage with red ribbing and silvery veins.  It is often found in nursery and garden centers labeled as beefsteak plant.  It is beautiful in baskets or containers and thrives in full sun to afternoon shade.
  • When planting a container, keep this in mind.  Either the plants’ mature size shall be two-thirds taller than the container or vice versa.
  • Dry herbs of parsley, coriander leaf and rosemary in the refrigerator.  Simply place an unwashed bouquet in a paper (not plastic) bag.  Close the bag and leave it in the refrigerator for approximately one month.  The bouquet will be quite green yet dry and aromatic.
  • Oriental bittersweet is an invasive vine with orange roots and teardrop-shaped leaves that taper to a point.  Birds spread the decorative, orange fall berries of this vine spreading it rapidly.  It is very difficult to remove.  Recognizing and removing it early is the best way to keep it out of the landscape.
  • Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ (Blue grama grass) is a 30” x 30”, very ornamental grass.  Beginning with the blue-green leaves at the start of the season to the color of golden straw in the winter months, ‘Blonde Ambition’ will be a star in the landscape.  The seed head display in mid-to-late summer have been said to resemble eyelashes.  Hardy in zones 4-9.
  • Hosta ‘Francee’ is a beautiful white-edged, glossy green, crinkled leaf hosta that turns gold in the fall.  Its lavender flowers are abundant during the summer months.  It will thrive in part to full shade and is hardy in zones 3-9.  It will need protection from slug damage.
  • Use basil as a seasoning in salad dressing, as a flavoring in herbal vinegar or an ingredient in pasta sauces.  Basil is great for making your own pesto.
  • Use the tendrils from pea vines in salads, soups and stir fry.  Delicious!
  • Harvest zucchini or other summer squashes when the fruit is 3” – 4” long and still have the blossom attached.  Their flavor will be far better than their much larger siblings.  Also, by harvesting the fruit while they are small, the plant will continue to produce more and more squash.

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