Video: Cold Tolerant Planter

Looking to create a doorstep planter for the holiday weekend? Stop in to find many cold-tolerant blooms that can be planted outdoors now! See how Julia arranged some of our favorite cool-weather annuals like tulips, hyacinth, nemesia, petunias and more. Our stores are filling up with fresh annuals you can plant outdoors now, and you won’t want to miss our vast selection of beautiful pottery to add a pop of color to welcome your dinner guests!

Video Look: What’s In Store April 19, 2019

Spring has sprung and we’re ready for Easter and Passover this weekend! Find blooming trees and shrubs in our nurseries, festive plants and decor in our greenhouses and all of the expert advice you’ll need to spruce up the home and yard. Visit our full-service florists in Tewksbury and Winchester for fresh-cut flowers and potted arrangements for holiday decor and host gifts too!

Now Blooming in the Nursery: Forsythia

Forsythia x intermedia ‘Lynwood Gold’

The bright yellow flowers of Forsythia are a sure sign that winter is behind us. Long a staple in gardens throughout New England, we sometimes take these familiar stalwarts for granted. But here is a variety that will inspire you to renew your acquaintance with this useful shrub.

Forsythia ‘Lynwood Gold’ offers the largest flowers of any Forsythia, creating a spectacular display. It has deep golden yellow flowers which literally cover the branches with bloom. The effect is stunning. The foliage emerges after the flowers fade and in autumn, the leaves turn a lovely butter yellow.

Upright in its growth habit, ‘Lynwood Gold’ will grow 6’-8’ in height and a similar width. It is easily pruned to maintain a desired size; however, pruning should be done immediately after flowering as flower buds for next spring will form during this summer. A mid-summer or fall pruning will remove next year’s flower show.

Forsythia performs best in full sun. It can be grown as a specimen plant or planted in a row to create an attractive deciduous hedge. And who can resist cutting a few branches of Forsythia as the blooms begin to open and bringing them indoors for a beautiful spring bouquet!

Video Look: Sprucing Up for Spring

Looking for some inspiration to dress up the house this weekend? See how Julia spruced up the front of our Winchester store with our locally-grown, cold-tolerant spring bulbs and pansies.

Now In: Summer Flowering Bulbs

PLANT NOW FOR SUMMER ENJOYMENT

Summer is arguably the most satisfying time of year for the gardener. Gone are the worries of an impending frost. Departed are spring’s gray skies and torrential downpours. Sunshine is plentiful, the soil is warm and everything wants to grow, grow, grow! And, this year, more than ever, bulbs are sure to be the shining star of the summer garden.

Typically, when bulbs are mentioned, many conjure up visions of spring blooming types like tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. There is, however, an amazing list of summer bloomers that provide an unmatched range of color, form and texture in the landscape, right at the height of the growing season. These beauties bloom all summer long and into the warmth of early autumn.

Most summer flowering bulbs (rhizomes, tubers, corms) are spring planted, after the last frost in our New England climate. There are a couple exceptions like Alliums, which are planted in the fall, and Hybrid Lilies, planted in either the fall or spring. Also, many but not all, summer bulbs are tender. Tender bulbs should either be dug immediately before or after the first frost and stored for the winter, or you may simply replace the following year. With a number of these bulbs being so affordable, they lend themselves to be purchased and planted anew each season.
Here are some of our favorites:
BEGONIAS Tuberous begonias add color to the shadier areas of the garden. Available in both cascading and upright forms, these beauties look fantastic in hanging baskets and in just about any type of container. Make certain, however, that your container is well drained. Begonias like their soil moist but not wet. It can take up to three months for tuberous begonias to bloom after planting.

CALADIUM Another shade loving plant, Caladium is grown primarily for its colorful foliage. Caladiums make a bright, unique and stunning addition to darker sections of the garden with their mottled, heart shaped leaves in green, pink, red and white.

DAHLIAS What can we say about Dahlias? Dahlias are the superstar of the summer garden and they never fail to steal the show. Available in oh-so-many sizes, bloom types and colors, the choice is nearly limitless. If we could grow just one type of summer flowering bulb, it would be Dahlia. Plant tubers in warm soil after all danger of frost has passed. Shorter varieties may be grown in pots. These brilliant beauties will bloom their magnificent heads off until hit with a heavy frost after which the tubers are dug and stored for the winter. Dahlias are, by far, the most diversified and colorful cut flower for summer bouquets. Check out the Dinner Plate series— with GIANT blooms that are sure to impress!

LILIES Hybrid Lilies are winter hardy and may be planted in the spring too. Some are highly fragrant and all varieties make excellent cut flowers!

Featured: Sweet Peet Organic Mulch

Sweet Peet® is the premium organic mulch for flower and vegetable gardens. Sweet Peet® buffers both acid and alkaline (low and High pH) soils by helping to maintain the desired gardening Sweet Spot. During its formulation, Sweet Peet® goes through a thermal stage where weeds and weed seeds are destroyed, preventing contamination in your garden.

Sweet Peet® is the best organic mulch for a vegetable garden because it enriches the soil, transforms into humus, improves tilth, encourages beneficial earthworms and replenishes microbes that are often destroyed by harsh chemicals and acid rain.

Like most mulches, Sweet Peet® suppresses weeds by smothering the soil. But Sweet Peet does more; it is produced to optimize the naturally occurring cat-ion exchange which creates an undesirable growing medium for weeds.

NOW BLOOMING IN THE NURSERY: ANDROMEDA

Pieris (Andromeda) 

One of the earliest shrubs to bloom in the spring, Pieris offers an elegant flower form that merits close inspection. Individual flowers may remind you of lily of the valley, but rather than one individual flower, they are grouped in large clusters that hang down from the tiered branches, each cluster up to 6” long. Often fragrant, they shimmer in the early spring landscape. Flowers may be white, pink or deep rose, depending on the variety. 

Native to the mountain regions of the Far East, Pieris japonica is wonderfully hardy in our area. It is a shrub with four seasons of interest. Glossy dark green leaves remain evergreen all year and for that reason alone, it merits inclusion in our gardens. But there is an added foliar element – new leaves emerge as the flowering cycle is coming to an end and are bronze to red in color. The contrast is eye-catching.  As the colorful new leaves turn dark green, buds for next year’s flowers are forming. The buds are bead-like and showy, rather like having jewelry on your shrub! The buds’ summer show continues throughout the winter, adding interest and contrast to the evergreen foliage.  

Pieris are excellent companions for Rhododendrons and Azaleas as they grow in similar conditions. They are ideal for use in foundation plantings, woodland edges and mixed borders. We are perhaps most familiar with the 3’-5’ tall, mid-sized varieties but there are excellent low growing varieties for the front of the border, and even dwarf varieties under 2’ tall which can be grown in containers. Versatile, they will grow in light conditions ranging from sun to partial shade to full shade. If grown in full sun, they will be happiest with some afternoon shade. And no matter the light conditions, they do appreciate protection from the drying effects of winter winds and sun. They like the acidic nature of our New England soils, and to look their best, they prefer that soil to be rich in organic matter.  

Deer resistant, they are also a favorite and important food source for our native pollinator, the mason bee. Here are varieties to consider for your landscape. 

 

Pieris japonica ‘Compacta’ 

As the name suggests, this variety is somewhat smaller than traditional varieties of Andromeda. It grows to a height of 4’. As well, the leaves are slightly smaller than traditional varieties. It flowers heavily with trusses of white, bell-like flowers that are lightly fragrant. After the flowers fade, new foliage emerges and is flushed with red-bronze tones. As this new foliage matures it becomes a lovely shiny, deep green.  

 

Pieris japonica ‘Dorothy Wycoff’ 

‘Dorothy Wycoff’ is a beautiful variety, admired for its year round interest. It features dark red winter flower buds which open to reveal white flowers with a soft pink tone. The foliage is glossy and dark green in summer, turning mahogany-red in winter. This shrub will reach a height of 5’ in 10 years.  

 

Pieris japonica ‘Karenoma 

‘Karenoma’ has all the virtues associated with Andromedas – showy flower buds that open to elegant, upright trusses of fragrant, white flowers, new foliage which has bronze-red tones, and glossy leaves that remain through the winter. But this variety has an added virtue –it is a particularly hardy variety.  Growing to a height of 4’-5’ and a similar width, ‘Karenoma’  is perfect for the home landscape.  

 

Pieris japonica ‘Katsura’ 

‘Katsura’ is a lovely plant with arching trusses of rich rose- pink, bell-shaped flowers that appear in early spring. A distinguishing feature of this variety is that new foliage emerges not just in spring, but into summer, offering a particularly long season to enjoy the dramatic, glossy, wine-red color of new growth. In 10 years, ‘Katsura’ will reach a height of 5’ and a similar width.  

 

Pieris japonica ‘Little Heath’ 

‘Little Heath’, as the name suggests, is smaller than many Andromedas, growing 2’-3’ high and wide at maturity. Pendulous white bell-shaped flowers appear in early spring. Unusual for Andromeda, ‘Little Heath’ has variegated foliage – each leaf is outlined in cream. New foliage emerges with bronze- red colored tones. It performs well in the ground and is also suitable for container planting. 

 

Pieris japonica ‘Mountain Fire’ 

‘Mountain Fire’ is a showy and dramatic Andromeda, noted for its spectacular brilliant red new growth which remains on display for several weeks. No muted bronze tones for this variety. ‘Mountain Fire’ has lovely clusters of fragrant white flowers. It will grow slowly to a height of 6’ and a similar width.  

 

Pieris japonica ‘Red Mill’ 

‘Red Mill’ is noted for the fiery red color of its newly emerging foliage. Leaves mature to a rich dark green. Large clusters of white flowers appear in early spring and are particularly long lasting on this variety. ‘Red Mill’ grows to a height of 4’-6’. 

 

Pieris japonica ‘Scarlet O’Hara’ 

Another Andromeda with lovely bronze-red new growth, ‘Scarlet O’Hara’ is notable for its relatively early and profuse bloom. Clusters of pink buds open to fragrant white flowers. Leaves mature to glossy dark green on lovely red stems. More narrow than many Andromeda, ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ will grow to a height of 6’-8’ and a width of 4’-6’ in 10 years.  

 

Pieris japonica ‘Valley Valentine’ 

‘Valley Valentine’ has much to commend it. It has beautiful, deep red flower buds that open to deep pink blooms. The newly emergent foliage has an attractive, bronzy tint before maturing to glossy green in the summer. Winter brings bronze-red tones to the foliage. It grows slowly, reaching a height of 5’-6’ in 10 years.  

 

Pieris japonica var. yakushimanum ‘Cavatine 

This hardy, slow growing Andromeda is increasingly popular. It has small leaves and grows as a dense, compact mound only 2’ tall and a bit wider in 10 years. Trusses of white flowers open slightly later in spring than other varieties and are particularly fragrant and long lasting. This variety is well suited to the smaller garden. It can be used in a foundation planting or mixed border, and is particularly attractive when used to line a walkway. 

 

Pieris japonica var. yakushimanum ‘Prelude’  

‘Prelude’ is similar to ‘Cavatine’ with the same low, mounding shape. Flower buds are pink, opening to long lasting, delicate white blooms. Emerging foliage has a pinkish tint before maturing to rich dark green.  

 

Pieris x ‘Brouwers Beauty’ 

Developed in Connecticut, ‘Brouwer’s Beauty’ is a cross between Pieris japonica and our native Pieris floribunda. The result is a beautiful shrub with purple-red winter buds which open to an abundant display of slightly fragrant white, bell-shaped flowers that are upright and slightly arching. New spring foliage is yellow-green, maturing to shiny dark green in summer and bronze in winter. The rich winter foliage complements the deep red flower buds, creating winter interest in the garden. Very hardy, it is slow growing, forming a dense shrub 5’-6’ tall and 3’-4’ wide in 10 years. This variety was a Cary Award winter in 2000, signifying its outstanding garden performance in our region.  

 

Dwarf Pieris 

While we tend to think of Andromeda as a medium sized shrub, there are several dwarf varieties which feature a compact, mounded form no more than 2’ tall and wide in 10 years. The leaves and flowers are proportionally reduced in size and appropriately scaled to the plant.  Dwarf Pieris varieties are a great option for the smaller landscape or rock gardens.  

 

 Pieris japonica ‘Bisbee Dwarf’ 

‘Bisbee Dwarf’ is a slow growing variety with small white flowers panicles that are plentiful and fragrant. Newly emergent leaves are reddish in color before maturing to a glossy dark green. This variety has a Massachusetts connection as it was introduced by Horatio Bisbee of Ware. 

 

Pieris japonica ‘Bonsai’ 

‘Bonsai’ has tiny, one inch, round, dark green leaves and a dense, upright growth habit. Panicles of white bell flowers are in perfect scale. And yes, it is perfect for bonsai! 

 

Pieris japonica ‘Pygmaea 

‘Pygmaea’ is a very unusual Andromeda. It has delicate 1” long, narrow leaves that give a feathery texture to the garden. Its growth habit is fairly upright. Extremely slow growing, it is suitable for containers, rock gardens or a small landscape. White flowers appear in spring.   

Special: Holly-Tone & Plant Tone

18lb bag: $16.50 reg. $19.98

50lb bag: $27.50 reg. $39.98

It’s time to feed your acid loving shrubs with Espoma’s HollyTone! Use it for virtually all of your evergreen shrubs. For everything else, use Espoma’s Plant-Tone. Don’t be fooled by other smaller sizes being advertised out there. Our new 50 lb. size wont be found in the big boxes stores and is a great value for the poundage.

Special: Coop Poop $9.50 & $17.50

25lb reg. $14.98 / 40lb reg. $24.98

One of Uncle Mike’s favorites! Coop Poop is 100% organic chicken manure and a great all-purpose fertilizer for many uses in the spring. It’s a great fertilizer for veggie gardens. Turn it into the soil now or as you plant. It’s also a great lawn fertilizer that’s very rich in nitrogen, phosphorous and potash. Plus, it’s rich in calcium and other micro nutrients. Can also be used on trees and shrubs.