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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of May 1, 2017
  • Great contrast is what makes some designs so striking. Yellow and purple are opposites on the color wheel, and the spiky Iris rises from the flowing creeping phlox. Use contrast in unexpected places to keep you garden exciting.
  • Lemon-scented plants like citronella, lemon grass and lemon-balm do repel mosquitoes. The key to their effectiveness is to grab a few leaves, crush them in your hands, and spread the oil over your body and clothing like you would a synthetic insect repellent.
  • When is the best time to prune overgrown lilacs and other spring-flowering shrubs? Right after they bloom. Cut 1/3 of the oldest, thickest branches right back to the ground. This encourages new growth from the base. In three years, you will have a brand new bush.
  • Can you put your overwintering houseplants outside yet? In many areas of the state, our last frost date is May 31st. So if you take a chance with your grandmother’s heirloom holiday cactus, be prepared to bring it back inside or cover it on chilly nights.
  • Capture, harvest, reuse or recharge!  Consider roof runoff, with drywells and permeable pavers. Because properly designed and executed drainage systems are the first step and the most critical element for a successful landscape project. Your local pros can help.
  • Time to divide hosta and other perennials.  Pot up some hostas in containers for placement on the patio near steps, etc. Variegated leaf varieties of Hosta are particularly outstanding in containers, especially when placed in shaded areas.
  • Start seeds of melons and squash in peat pots.  In about three weeks, when the seedlings are ready to be set out in the garden, plants pots and all.  Since roots will grow through the walls of peat pots, it’s not necessary to remove plants from pots.  Peat pots, molded from a mixture of sphagnum moss and wood fiber, are bio-degradable.

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