Are the dog days here?

Wow it is summertime…Hot but not too dry as we’ve had pop up thurnderstorms frequently here on the south shore of Boston. Our veggie gardens are doing great, herbs flourishing and flowers transitioning into mid summer.

Of course you can still plant…look for crops to take you into early fall; like swiss chard, sugar snap peas and broccoli. And get another crop of beans in soon. Replace spent annuals with fresh and plant summer perennials for the birds and butterflies.

Last week, vacationing from Cape Cod, I phoned into the station and spoke about the beauty of hardy hibiscus. Gorgeous huge flowers, hardy hibiscus are easy to grow, unfortunately do get bugged by beetles but they can easily be picked off.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor in the garden; eat those veggies, use those herbs and cut flowers for indoors. Keep track of water in the hot weather with a rain guage. Learn to love weeding and pruning, I do!

What fun, happy gardening!


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Summer in the garden…

Weed, prune, water; weed, prune, water that’s the mantra for summer in the garden. But wow our lush New England gardens are looking awesome. An inch of water a week will keep them looking that way and do water daily anything newly planted, containers and window boxes.

I recently ate my first garden tomato (not mine) and it was luscious! There is nothing like eating fresh garden produce, so if you don’t grow them, buy them at your local farmers markets or farm stands. Supporting your local farmers will keep them in growing.

And if you do grow veggies and have alot, share with friends and neighbors or donate them to your local food pantry. Everyone appreciates fresh garden produce.

Add summer color now with perennials like phlox, sedum, salvia, daylily, asters and grasses. Rudbeckia are not just yellow and coneflowers go way past purple these days. Our area is know for it’s fabulous show of colorful hydrangea; choose one for your yard, and keep it watered, prune after it blooms and don’t cut it down to the ground at the end of the season.

Take time to sit and enjoy your garden, birds and butterflies abound. Happy Gardening!

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Early July in the Garden…

Once again I feel it’s true that summer goes by faster than winter, just like those daylilies that I would love to last just a little longer.

Continue to plant, just be cautious when planting in the sun and heat. Try to plant in early morning or late afternoon, water in well and use a large flower pot to shade your new plants for a day or two. Mulch to conserve water and stake if necessary.

Considering that landscaping adds value to your home; you may want to plant a shade tree like a purple beech, stunning and long lived. Or try a gorgeous red japanese maple to ankor that planting bed and focus the eye on the unusual. And if you’re into the unusual try a purple pansy redbud, purple heart shaped leaves now, 12′ or so at maturity and one of the first trees to bloom in the spring.

Lawns will brown out now in the heat of the summer, and on the South Shore of Boston many towns have water bans. Don’t worry grass will come back just as green in the fall and the fall is a better time to plant new grass. If you do have a sprinkler system for your lawn, don’t expect it to adequately water your other landscaping. Most plants need 1″ of water a week so a rain gauge is one helpful tool.

Plant second crops of many summer veggies now for extended harvest and have a plan for fall crops. Enjoy it all and Happy Gardening.

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End of June already!

Our early summer gardens are resplendent with day lillies, roses, catmint and hydrangeas in almost every color. Wow summer is here along with the heat. Water those container plants, replenish fertilizers, and mulch to conserve water.

Time to add summer color to your garden, but do start by adding evergreens like boxwood as a background for your flowering plants. Boxwood are deer resistant and do well in sun or shade and leucothoe is a great evergreen for shade.

Celebrate your independence in the garden with red white and blue flowers, flags, stars and hanging planters. Make it a fun and safe 4th for your family and friends.

Use an old coffee can full of soapy water to pick off and drown any bad bugs; chinch bugs, stink bugs and squash bugs. Pick off beetles and egg masses underneath leaves. Use your compost to add nutrients now. Plant more veggies to prolong your harvest.

Continue to feed the birds, enticing them into your yard. They do a great job of eating those bad bugs. And watching them is fun for the whole family.

Take it slowly and look around at our beautiful world.
Happy Gardening!

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Hot, Hot, HOT Mid June in the garden!

Record breaking temps here on the South Shore of Boston are making alot of work for those of us who do not have a sprinkler system. I’m the system for my house and it’s been a challenge getting an 1″ of water on all those plants.

Knowing what your plants need for water and fertilizer will help. Read the tags or google to get the scoop. I’m trying not to overwater my veggie garden altho right now my sugar snap peas need lots of water. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation are a wonderful alternative to dragging that hose around.

Clean up debris as you assess your garden’s needs. Keep track of fertilizer and disease product applications to maxmize their effect. Deadhead plants like siberian iris now and cut back peonies to a secondary bud. Cut those flowers to enjoy indoors as well.

Fancies, follies and fun stuff in your garden add whimsey and interest. Beach house signs, flags and stripped banners all make a personal statement.

Plant swiss chard and a second row of green beans to keep those veggies coming. Pick squash early to keep those plants producing.

Take time to enjoy the fruits of labor.
Happy Gardening.

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Mid June and growing strong!

The recent rain here on the south shore has cleaned off all the pollen, watered well all the plants and then sun came out to celebrate. Plants are lookin’ good! My sugar snap peas have pods waiting to mature; Ihave small fruit popping out on my tomatoes and my zinnias already have flowers! Beautiful.

It’s Father’s Day weekend and make Dad feel special by spending time with him, it could be gardening or whatever. Time is a precious gift. Of course so are tools, gloves, wind chimes and rain guages. Granite statuary and birding supplies to list just a few. Plant something permanent in honor of your Dad; a Kousa Dogwood or a blue hydrangea – so many fabulous plants to choose from that grow well here in NE.

Water Gardens need consistent seasonal care and should be cleaned of debris by now. Pump and filter cleaned out and aquatic plants readied for the growing season. I use microblift and mosquito dunks in my ponds and both work well. Ponds need 60% plant coverage in the hot summer months to reduce algae and keep your fish cool. Growing water lillies and iris, floating plants and oxygenators will keep your water clean and create a naturally beneficial environment. Watch for predators that eat fish and maybe try a “scarecrow” hose end adapter that triggers water from motion. Altho do be carefull not to forget it’s there and soak yourself like I do.

Lots of caterpillars out there now turning into butterflies. Check your parsley for green caterpillars with black and yellow spots. They’ll turn into black swallowtails in about 10 days.

Prune late flowering plants like perennial mums and montalk daisies now to keep the plant size managable. Prune repeat blooming roses back to a 5 leaf cluster to encourage more flowers.

Make the most of your time int the garden, look, listen and enjoy! Happy Gardening!

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Rainy start to June…

We’ve had some weather here on the south shore of Boston this June. I am concerned about fungal diseases but being an optimist will wait in hopes that the weather will warm and we will avoid the worst. But do free up plants by removing debris, pruning and removing overgrown plants, this allows better air circulation to reduce disease.

Be cautious when planting and aim for when the soil is dry rather than wet. Compacted soil doesn’t do its best to allow the plants to absorb water and nutrients.

Look at the many vairieties of flowering late spring shrubs; a native nine bark or weigela may be the perfect plant for that spot in your yard. Hydrangeas grow very well here, plant in part sun, water and enjoy. Do give them plenty of room, most grow large at maturity.

Holly trees can lose up to half of their leaves in April or May, not to worry this is normal. The new growth will fill in. Hollies do benefit from acid based fertilizer, if you didn’t apply it in early spring, wait now until the fall.

Deadhead, prune and pull off those nasty snails. Keep planting and remember to stop and watch the hummingbirds, butterflies and birds put on a show just for you.

Happy Gardening!

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