Plant Health Care News: Time for Deer Repellent and Anti-desiccant Applications

Mid-November on the calendar means it’s time for Reese and Rick to spray deer repellent and anti-desiccant to protect vulnerable plants from winter damage. If you’ve ever had browning of rhododendrons, boxwoods, hollies, leucothoes, or mountain laurels, you know what I mean by winter damage. This is caused by repeated cold winds or sudden shifts in temperature…

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Staff Update

Rick Burnett has joined the Plant Health Care Department as PHC Technician and resigned from his role as Field Manager. You may meet Rick doing a spray route. Kimberly Kuliesis has resumed full responsibility for scheduling and also develops estimates and proposals. Please contact her with your special requests at <kimberly@pumpkinbrookorganicgardening.com> Meanwhile, Priscilla will continue…

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Significant Drought – Level 2, Declared for All of Massachusetts

The following alert was prepared by staff at the Nashua River Watershed Association (NRWA): Above normal temperatures in July and August, and months of below normal precipitation led Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides to declare all of the state to be in a “Significant Drought- Level 2”. NRWA water monitoring staff and volunteers are…

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Fall Planting Time is Not Far Off! Make Plans Now

We’ve already assembled a list of gardens ready for fall planting or some renovation. But it’s not too late to schedule a consultation for your own garden. Now is the ideal time to assess the situation and design plans for improvement. Please contact Kimberly, kimberlykuliesis@pumpkinbrookorganicgardening.com, or our Designer, Deanna Jayne, deanna@pumpkinbrookorganicgardening.com, for your appointment.   Fall Planting…

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Plant Pick: Combinations to cover spring perennials that go summer dormant

What to do when your beautiful spring garden suddenly has a large empty space in August? Here are some perennial pairings that I’ve discovered over the years to hide declining foliage and gaps in the border. Lupinus perennis and Lobelia siphilitica Let the native lupine foliage “ripen” like bulb foliage in order to photosynthesize. The lupines will…

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Black Knot – The Fungus Demystified

At this time of year with leaves off the trees, we often see black masses or galls attached to outer twigs of plum and cherry trees in the genus Prunus. Both ornamental and edible varieties are susceptible to this fungus, along with the native chokecherry. Sometimes apricot and peach trees are impacted. This disease produces rough,…

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Priscilla’s Garden To-Do List for Late April/Early May

Priscilla’s Garden To-Do List for Late April/Early May:   Continue to clean up garden beds by raking, cutting back perennials and ornamental grasses Finish dormant pruning by May 1 when leaf-out is expected Cut back butterfly bush, smoke tree, caryopteris, beautyberry and other cutback shrubs Prepare vegetable garden beds Sow seeds of peas, spinach, kale,…

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Now is the Time to Renovate Your Forsythia (and Why)

When Forsythia gets overgrown, it’s really overgrown! We like to renovate Forsythia before it comes into bloom. It’s very easy to see parallel stems and pick the best ones to cut all the way to the ground. Crossing branches and deadwood are readily spotted, too. This thinning action helps keep your plant looking natural yet under control. Do this…

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Bulb and Flower Shows on the Horizon

Here’s the chronological list of places to see indoor plant displays, lots of color AND gain ideas for your own garden this season: Lyman Estate Greenhouses, Waltham, Camellia show begins February 18, historicnewengland.org Connecticut Flower and Garden Show, February 20-23, ctflowershow.com Smith College Bulb Show, March 7-22, garden.smith.edu Mt. Holyoke Bulb Show, March 7-22, mtholyoke.edu Boston Flower and Garden…

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Plant Pick: Bleeding Hearts

Speaking of native plants, our Plant Pick this month is Dicentra eximia, fringed bleeding heart. This early spring bloomer will pop out of the ground shortly after the snow melts with soft green basal leaves. Flower stems will quickly follow. Preferring dry shade with a soil rich in organic matter, this plant is an easy naturalizer.…

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Field Trip: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

I highly recommend a winter visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The Courtyard is always a horticultural wonder, with forced seasonal tropical plants in bloom among ancient statuary and antiquities. Even a short moment lingering at the edge of the area transports you to another world. Plan your visit here: www.gardnermuseum.org The Isabella Stewart Gardner…

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Update on Winter Staff Training

Kim, Deanna, Erica and Rick attended the four-day Northeast Organic Farming Association’s Organic Land Care Course at Hampshire College this month. We are expecting their certificates of completion in the mail soon, indicating that they passed their exams and have become Accredited Organic Land Care Professionals. Congratulations! In addition, Kyle and Rick are studying for the International…

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Priscilla’s Garden To-Do List for Late October/Early November:

Cut down perennials in stages as foliage blackens or flops over Dormant pruning season begins when leaves are off the trees, with structure easily visible Refresh containers for fall with hardy material that can withstand the occasional cold night Remove spent annuals planted in the ground Dig and store tubers of dahlias and gladiolus after…

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Anti-desiccant and Deer Protection: Now is the Time to Plan Ahead for Winter

Our Plant Health Care Manager, Reese Crotteau, is looking ahead to our November season of anti-desiccant and deer protection applications. We aim to prevent winter damage from scorching sun low in the sky in late winter plus potential harsh wind action on broadleafed evergreens like rhododendron, holly, and boxwood through our anti-desiccant spray program. This…

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Plant Pick: Asters and Goldenrods, inspired by Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass

I re-read this great book recently with my book group. The author decided to study botany as a young college student because she wanted to find out why asters and goldenrods like to grow together. They certainly are a perfect color combination in our fields, roadsides and gardens. And perfectly native to New England! Aster…

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Priscilla’s To-Do List for Late September/Early October

Continue to deadhead and deadleaf perennials, making way for fall color Cut down any mildewed peony, helianthus or phlox and make plans to amend soil or transplant Stake tall aster, goldenrod, boltonia against wind and rain storms Freshen containers for fall, removing spent summer plants Continue to foliar feed annuals such as dahlias, lantana and…

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Priscilla’s Garden To-Do List for Late August into September

Finish pruning spring blooming shrubs and trees Enjoy the color of dahlias, native hibiscus, Rose of Sharon and phlox Plan changes to your garden this fall Keep watering anything newly planted last fall or this season Patrol beds for deadheading and weeding through the coming month Deadleaf daylilies as you cut spent stalks, removing yellowed…

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Check your Houseplants for a New Invader: Spotted Lanternfly

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources is warning consumers to check houseplants purchased this winter for a new pest called Spotted Lanternfly. Evidently, a single dead pest was found in a home near Boston and reported to officials. Experts believe the pest may have arrived on a shipment of poinsettia plants that arrived from Pennsylvania. Spotted…

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Plant Pick: Plants with Interesting Bark in Winter

Stuck indoors a lot in winter?  Let’s plant something interesting to view from your windows!   Most broadleaf evergreens like rhododendrons curl their leaves tightly in the cold for self-preservation.  This isn’t that attractive over time.  Why not try something different?  Textured bark might be one solution.   One of my favorite native woodland plants…

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Plant Pick – Pines

Evergreens are popular this month, so I thought I would feature our native white pine, Pinus strobus, and its relatives. This is my favorite evergreen for winter containers as it lends a graceful note, draping over the edges.  Needles on this pine appear in bundles Eastern White Pine of 5 and are soft to the…

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