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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of October 14, 2019
  • If cutworms were a problem in the garden this year, turn the soil a few days before planting next season to expose cutworms.  Surround the stem of each transplant with a ring of rigid paper or cardboard, approximately 4” tall, and press the paper or cardboard 2” into the ground.
  • Add minced, fresh tansy to egg salad.  Delicious!
  • Attracting honey bees an native bees as well as being a host plant for the eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) and the spicebush swallowtail (P. Troilus) butterflies, tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) has big, showy, yellow flowers in mid-spring making it a very attractive tree for the landscape.  The tall trees produce large quantities of nectar and serve as a much-needed, early food source for hummingbirds.  Thriving in full sun and average to wet soil conditions, tulip tree is hardy in zones 4-9.
  • Consider planting scilla tubergeniana bulbs this fall for a beautiful early-Cspring display in the landscape.  Growing just 6” tall, the flowers are light blue with darker petal stripes.  Plant them under deciduous trees where they will receive plenty of sunshine prior to the leaves appearing.  Plant the bulbs 3”-4” deep and 2”-3” apart.  The foliage will disappear as summer approaches.  Plants will spread by offsets and self-seeding.  Scilla tubergeniana are hardy in zones 4-8.
  • Fall is a great time to cut any fruiting canes on raspberries to ground level as well as any weak canes.  Thin the remaining canes.
  • To roast sunflower seeds, cover the seeds with salted water (one cup of salt per one gallon of water) and soak overnight.  Drain the seeds, dry on paper towels, and spread them on a baking sheet.  Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 30 to 45 minutes.  Cool and store in an airtight container.
  • Repurpose containers that were filled with summer annuals by removing the flowers and leaving the soil intact.  Then, simply, arrange an assortment of arborvitae, boxwood, laurel and oakleaf hydrangea leaves along with stems of birch trees and yellow and red dogwood.  Add in some dried flowers of hydrangea and ornamental grass.  Finally, some berries and/or fruits make an excellent addition.

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