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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of March 11, 2019
  • Season squash, veal, breads and salads with marjoram for its sweet taste.  It is also delicious mixed in with hot, mint teas.
  • When putting together a plan for fruit trees, its best to map it out on paper first.  Consider ripening times as well.  Cherries ripen first in late May-late June, Apricots ripen late May – early July, Plums ripen late June – mid-September, Peaches ripen late May – mid-September, Nectarines ripen late June – early September, Pears ripen July – late October and Apples ripen early July – late November.
  • Two new blanket flowers (Gaillardia xgrandiflora) to try are ‘Celebration’ and ‘Sunset Flash’.  Celebration will add that beautiful pop of red to the garden while sunset flash’s flowers are orange with yellow tips.  Both choices bloom from late spring until summer and are hardy in zones 5-9.
  • Plant juniper, dogwoods and hollies in the landscape to have an abundant food supply available for the birds.  High-fat berries and fall fruit as well as protective nesting sites make these plants a great choice for robins, finches, bluebirds, cardinals and woodpeckers.
  • Help to replenish milkweed eliminated by excessive pesticide use over the last decade by planting some in your garden.  Milkweed leaves are the ONLY food that the caterpillars of the American Monarch butterfly can eat.   Milkweeds are critically important for the diversity and abundance of pollinators that they support.  With different species of milkweed growing throughout the United States, they thrive in full sun, bloom in the summer and are available in different colors.
  • If you didn’t get to it last fall, now is the time to cut ornamental grasses to the ground.  Compost the tops.  The new shoots will appear soon.
  • March is a great month to repot houseplants.
  • If spare time is at a premium, consider making an appointment for your lawn mower for blade sharpening and a spring tune up.  Ask about replacing worn belts, spark plugs and air filters.   Have them change the transmission fluid, oil, oil filter and engine coolant at the same time.
  • Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) will light up the gardens with large, white, pyramidal panicles of flowers from May until July.  Attracting bees, oakleaf hydrangea also has beautiful fall foliage color.  Requiring little maintenance, oakleaf hydrangeas thrive in a drier soil, in part shade and are hardy in zones 5-9.

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