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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of May 22, 2017
  • Large-leaf rhododendrons like this unusual pale yellow one are now stealing the show in gardens around Massachusetts.
  • Are you harvesting lettuce yet? Experienced gardeners know it has been safe to plant it for the last month. If you are a beginner who waited to plant on Memorial Day, you can still get a crop of lettuce in before the weather turns too warm, especially if you plant starter plants now instead of seeds. Leaves can turn bitter once the hot weather arrives.
  • Looking to relax when you come home? Choose plants that are white, lavender, soft pink, green, and blue for a calm, serene effect in your yard.
  • Sick of hosta and looking for unique shade plants? Your local garden center has a wide variety of interesting shade-loving perennials – ask for brunnera, lamium, or sweet woodruff! For annuals, experiment with Rex Begonias, their unique foliage follows a shell-like twist.
  • Drought tolerant plants: visit your local garden center to find these drought tolerant plants. For perennials try Yarrow, Milkweed, Iris, Catmint, Echinacea, Daylilies and desert-loving Sedums. Want shrubs? Try Rose of Sharon or Butterfly Bush. Annual Portulaca with its succulent leaf is a great choice, too!
  • Do you prefer a garden teeming with excitement? Try some non-traditional color combinations like orange azaleas with purple dianthus.
  • Question of the week: Do ants that crawl on the buds of peony cause harm to the buds or are they necessary for flower buds to open? Answer: “NO!” to both parts of the question. Ants are attracted to nectar produced by tiny glands on scales that cover the flower buds. Also, contrary to popular opinion, ants do not promote opening of the buds. Buds will open with or without ants.

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