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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of May 21, 2018
  • Snapdragons (Antirrhinum) are a beautiful annual that prefer cool weather.  They do like full sun, good drainage and the trailing varieties seem to do better in the heat.  If the trailing varieties interest you for the border of your landscape or a container, look for the Chandelier series.  ‘Chandelier Rose Pink’, ‘Chandelier Lemon’ and ‘Chandelier White’ have been excellent performers.  If you prefer a more upright plant (1’-1 ½’), search out the Tahiti group.  ‘Tahiti Plum’ is beautiful!  Plant them mid to late summer to enjoy them until hard frost hits.  Visit your favorite nursery/garden center for the best selection.
  • An old wives’ tale suggests “When milk bottles are to be rinsed, they should first be filled with water and well-shaken, and the contents used as a very mild manure on houseplants and in the garden.”  Have you ever tried this?  Old Wives’ Lore for Gardeners, Maureen & Bridget Boland
  • Visit your favorite nursery/garden center this week for the best selection of annuals.  For the best results, choose plants that have not bloomed yet.  When planting, add some time-release fertilizer into the planting hole.  Water well after planting and water daily for the first week unless there is rain.  Water twice a week thereafter.
  • Cut back asters and mums by a third to make them shorter and bushier.  Repeat this at the end of June.
  • Plant seeds, or young plants, of sunflowers in full sun 3’ apart.
  • Plant tomatoes 2” deeper than they were growing in the pots.  Purchase young plants no more than 8” tall.  Be sure to rotate them (don’t plant them where they were planted last year).  Plant basil nearby to help repel the tomato hornworm.
  • Hill potatoes by pulling soil up against the plants when they get to be 1’ high.
  • A perennial that thrives in part-shade and moist soil in zones 3-8 is Actaea Simplex ‘Brunette’ (Bugbane).  This perennial has attractive purplish black leaves and wand of white, fragrant flowers in early autumn.
  • If you planted your vegetable seedlings in peat pots, plant the pots and all directly into your garden.  The roots of the vegetables will grow through the walls of the peat pots thereby making it unnecessary to remove the plants from their pots.  By doing so, there will be little to no transplant shock.  The peat pots are molded together from a mixture of sphagnum moss and wood fiber with makes them biodegradable.

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