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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of March 27, 2017

Did you get a chance to visit the Boston Flower Show?  Did you get inspired?  If you missed it, you can still get motivated for spring attending gardening events at your local garden center.  Find yours here and then join their Facebook pages.  Many of them host events that will help put a spring in your step.  Many neighboring states have April garden shows where you can get an idea or two for your garden!

  • 25 is the magic number. For what? How cold pansies can take it, if well hardened off (plants that have been slowly acclimated from warmer greenhouse temperatures to lower night temperatures and drying winds) before planting. That’s why you see these plants first at your local garden centers.
  • With so many colors and styles of cold-loving pansies, how do you choose? The detailed ones, with “faces” and “whiskers” are great in containers which are typically closer to your eyes where you can admire the details. Plain or “unblotched” are best for mass plantings. The details and secondary colors blur the impact from a distance.
  • Are your bulbs popping up? If you plant pansies, lettuce or parsley around them (all cold tolerant plants) in the next few weeks, they will cover up the yellowing leaves of the tulips and daffodils as they fade. By the time they fill in around the bulbs, you will never notice that awkward stage when they are storing energy for next year.
  • Do marigolds really repel garden insects? Having seen insects on marigolds, I am not a believer. That said, what’s the harm in trying? At about 50 cents a plant, they sure pack a punch of beauty, and add interest to an otherwise plain area. It’s still way to early to plant both outside, but now’s the perfect time to start your tomato and marigold from seeds inside.
  • This week is also a great time to start seeds of eggplant, and hot and sweet varieties of pepper.  Although, related to tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are slow growers.  Also, don’t set out the transplants until June 1 since they seem to be more sensitive than tomatoes to cold night time temperatures.
  • Keep an eye out for sales on large garbage cans.  These will make inexpensive rain barrels to capture water at downspouts.  Whether we experience a drought this growing season or not, good gardeners should always practice water conservation.

Finally, no room at the inn? Not in your garden! Along with providing plenty of nectar by planting something for pollinators, consider providing nesting sites, like this homemade one seen at the Boston Flower Show last week. Click here to learn more about nests for native bees.


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