Spring in the Garden – What to Expect – Boston, March 2015

After a record-breaking winter of snow, many Boston-area gardeners and homeowners are wondering what they will find when the snow and ice melt. Here’s a glimpse into what you can expect for spring 2015, and how to repair winter damage in the landscape: Hardscape cracks – Paved surfaces like driveways, walks and patios may have cracked concrete and popped up paving stones. Pavers and stones can easily be re-leveled, but concrete may need to be patched…

Protecting plants in freezing weather

When winter temps drop below 0, Boston-area gardeners may need to exercise special care to protect plants. As average temperatures have warmed in recent years, the USDA has shifted its plant hardiness zones, so that much of eastern Massachusetts now falls within zone 6b, where it was 6a in the 1990 edition. In layperson’s terms, this means that many of the “hardy” zone 6 plants sold by local nurseries may only tolerate an average winter…

Are you prepared for winter snowstorms?

A little preparation during the final days of fall can prevent many headaches and chilly emergency repairs. Here are some tips to prepare your yard and landscape for winter: Last winter, rapid accumulation of heavy snows damaged many flat roofs. If your house has a flat roof, make sure that you purchase a roof rake ahead of time, or contract with a snow removal company that offers roof clearing services. Disconnect and drain any rain…

Photo Essay: A Horticultural Meditation on Winter

For background on this meditation, go here. You are a tender plant, all soft, green stems and leaves.  As the days grow shorter, you send all of the nourishment collected from the summer sun down into your roots, and you prepare to wait. Your leaves yellow and crisp, until the Gardener chops them back. You are sad without your leaves.  Then, you realize that they were dead anyway. What had kept you alive no longer…

7 Steps for Dazzling Holiday Lighting

Whether you want a festive display of holiday lights at home, or to boost the curb appeal of your business for shoppers, you’ll want the finished product to be safe, energy-efficient, and beautiful.  Outdoor Perspectives, a national outdoor lighting chain, has 7 simple steps for DIY Christmas lighting: SHINE ON. Here’s our summary: Sketch: Develop a plan on paper before you begin. Together with “after” photos, this will simplify your work next year! Hang: Give…

Winter protection for home & garden

We’ve had a few good days of thawing, but February is usually Boston’s snowiest month, so it’s not too late for a snow post. The good news: Snow is a great insulator for plants.  We see a lot more winter kill in cold, dry winters than in heavy snow years.  Hopefully, hydrangea macrophylla, container plants, and marginally hardy perennials will give a good showing in spring. The bad news: the weight of snow can damage…

NOFA Winter Conference, Jan. 16, 2010

Join me for Gardening in Small Spaces: Living densely has many benefits, but may come at the price of growing our own food or relaxing outdoors. Yet, we can nourish our bodies and souls using space afforded by a roof deck, patio, or small yard. Learn about small space design, edibles for containers, and vertical gardening, plus small-scale bioshelters, composting, and rainwater harvesting. Other workships of interest to the home gardener include: Organic Seed Starting…

Harvest Day

In response to the current edible-landscaping craze, we’ve planted and maintained a few vegetable gardens this year.  Today, the last of the goodies came inside — a crop of carrots, radishes, and other cool-season veggies. There are still some good-looking kale, parsley, and bokchoy out there in containers, and it’s time for potted herbs to come indoors. If you are dreaming of starting or enlarging your own garden next spring, now is a good time…

Winter Protection

We’re doing fall clean-ups and saying our goodbyes to many of you for the year, but please remember that the work of protecting your landscape investment is not done!  Now is the time for: Getting those last bulbs in so you have early spring color Wrapping or spraying anti-dessicant on evergreens (esp. rhododendrons, boxwoods, yews) Protecting marginally hardy perennials and shrubs with extra mulch of pine needles, salt marsh hay, etc. Deer protection, if needed…

Assessing Tree Hazards

This fall, as you’re scuffing through the leaves, make sure to look up!  Heavy snow loads on branches make winter the most dangerous time of year for trees. Luckily, it’s also a great time to do tree work without damaging tender perennials and lawns. We’re happy to walk your property with you to evaluate potential hazards, but here are a few tips to get you started. Visually inspect the whole tree, including roots, root flare,…