Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Drought Worsens

It’s official now: it is dry, dry, dry. Much of New England is classified as being in a severe drought, with no relief in sight. What does a gardener do? First, respect watering bans. Towns are worried about having enough water for people –to drink, cook, shower and flush. Minimize your home water use any way you can. When you water outside, water early in the day when the air is coolest to lose the least to evaporation. Don’t water at night when water left on plant leaves can promote fungus diseases.


 

 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Cut Back Those Annuals

If they aren’t allowed to go to seed, many summer-flowering plants will rebloom. Annuals particularly benefit from being cut back before producing seeds; the shorter, more compact plants may continue flowering until cold fall weather arrives.

 


Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Think beyond the Usual Suspects

While there are lots of blooms in the garden in July, you may not include a number of flowering woody natives. Swamp azaleas (Rhododendron viscosum) blooms in early July when other rhodies are past flowering. Oxydendron (Sourwood tree) surprises in mid-July with white flower panicles that stay on into winter. And, in late July, summersweet (clethra) blankets itself in fragrant flowers loved by the bees and butterflies. All of these plants also tolerate at least some shade, making them adaptable and valuable additions to New England gardens. And once established (a couple of years in the ground) they can, under most conditions, dependably take care of themselves.


 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Aphid Control

A strong spray from a hose will knock aphids and other insects to the ground where they often become someone else’s dinner. Spraying with pesticides should always be the last resort – and done with great caution because they will kill many beneficial insects and are harmful to other animals (including humans). Remember that over 90% of all insects are beneficial or benign so don’t pull out the toxic spray at the first sight of bugs. Are they doing any damage or are they just scary to look at? Can you live with the amount of damage they are doing — a few holes in leaves? Have you tried that jet of water or a nontoxic spray? Learning to live with the other creatures in the garden that are doing little or no harm is an important step for everyone.


 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

A Summer Drought is Taking Hold!

The latest Drought Monitor shows almost all of New England to be abnormally dry, and parts of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine and Rhode Island to be in a moderate drought. What should you do? Water only what requires supplemental moisture: vegetables, annuals, and newly planted perennials and shrubs. Your lawn is a hardy perennial that wants to go dormant in summer heat. Let it go brown; it will be back in the cooler autumn, undamaged. Similarly, established trees and shrubs have root systems that tap underground moisture reserves.

 



 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Give Your Houseplants a Summer Vacation

A covered porch is perfect because houseplants generally aren’t used to direct sun. Don’t place them on the ground where they’ll pick up hitchhiking insects and soil-borne diseases. Remember also, they’ll require more frequent watering.