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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of May 8, 2017
  • See your landscape in a new light! Landscape lighting is the icing on your property’s cake! You work all day to pay for your landscape investment. Adding landscape lighting allows you the “bonus time” for you to enjoy the highlights of your stone work and the beauty of your trees branching structure.
  • Wave brand petunias and other spreading petunias are as hungry as a teenage boy. Some can grow up to an inch a day, but won’t be able to if you don’t fertilize.
  • Thinking of bringing mom a hanging basket this weekend? It’s helpful to know if it will be hanging in the sun or shade before you make your purchase. Most hanging baskets that are grown prefer sun. Some notable exceptions are Fucshia, New Guinea Impatiens, Bacopa, and Begonias. Even these options prefer a little morning sun to collect enough energy to make flowers. If you have complete, dark shade, consider Boston Ferns.
  • Prepare to stake perennials that tend to be floppy at maturity.  Try the commercially available metal frames for dense, bushy perennials such as peonies, asters, and Shasta daisies, or create a frame work using bamboo stakes and twine. Use single bamboo stakes for plants with only a few stems that tend to get top heavy when in bloom.  Plants in this category would include delphiniums, Oriental lilies, and tall dahlias.
  • Begin hardening tomato and other seedlings of warm season crops.  The best way to harden these seedlings is by placing them in a cold frame.  However, if no cold frame is available, water the seedlings well and then move them outdoors after morning temperatures have warmed to above 55 degrees F.  Leave the seedlings out for an hour for the first 2 or 3 days and then gradually increase the amount of time seedlings spend in the sun.  They’ll be ready for the garden by the end of the month.
  • If you spot this plant while weeding, try and leave it be. It’s milkweed, the only plant that monarch butterfly caterpillars eat. Females only lay eggs on plants in this genus, Asclepias. So leave one in your yard if you find it. You are lucky! Some people actually buy them, and you got yours for free!

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