Keeping the critters out of your garden!

It’s the time of year when the sight of a rabbit, deer, or chipmunk in the yard can awaken your inner Elmer Fudd. Rabbits and deer nibbling at your leafy annuals and perennials, chipmunks and squirrels munching on your tomatoes – it’s a scene all too common these days…. even in the most urban of yards! Our favorite products to treat the problem are made by Bonide. Repels All, Go Away! Deer and Rabbit Repellent, and Rat Magic (don’t be fooled by the name, it’s great for chipmunks and squirrels) are our go-to solutions  for the weary gardener who feels helpless against the army of critters.

 

GO AWAY™ Deer & Rabbit Repellent

An outstanding repellent, specifically for deer and rabbits. Protects gardens and valuable landscaping. One application can last up to 2 months! Effective in all seasons. Made with natural ingredients including white pepper, putrescent egg solids, garlic and cloves. Does not harm plants or animals.

 

Repels-All®

The unique blend of ingredients like putrescent egg solids, cloves, and garlic is offensive to an animals sense of smell without harm! Lasts up to 2 months. When they come in contact, it causes a natural instinct to escape and avoid the area. Available in a concentrate, granules and ready to spray.

 

Rat Magic® Rodent Repellent

Designed for outdoor use to repel rodents such as rats, chipmunks and squirrels. This unique combination of essential oils is people and pet safe, and biodegradable. Naturally drives rodents from around homes, garages, gardens, sheds, patios, wood piles, and more. With active ingredients like cedar, castor, clove and peppermint oils– rodents won’t want to be anywhere nearby! 5lbs. treats up to 1000 sq. ft. or a 2ft. barrier that’s 500 ft. long.

 

Using Ornamental Grasses in the Landscape

Twenty-five years ago, ornamental grasses were rarely seen in the landscape. As their virtues – low maintenance, drought tolerance, a long season of interest – became more widely known, gardeners began to integrate them into their landscapes. Today they are recognized for bringing qualities of light, line, motion and sound to the garden. They are durable, graceful and versatile. No matter the size or variety, ornamental grass foliage has a unique architectural quality. Strongly linear, yet at the same time pliant and sinuous, grasses add a wonderful sense of motion to the garden. They sway in even the slightest breeze and add a sense of drama in heavy winds. There is a special luminous quality to the foliage and inflorescences (ie. flowers) when the low angle of the autumn and winter sun shines through from behind. Whether you garden in a container, have a small urban lot, a sizeable suburban yard, or a country property, ornamental grasses can help define your space. They can be used as groundcover, as edging along a pathway, as a privacy screen, and as part of mixed perennial and shrub borders. Some are low and clumping, some are arching, and others are more upright. While some bloom in spring, others start blooming in August, and their plumes subtly change color as they age. Grasses can be left in place all winter. Their straw-like colors and interesting textures are attractive to look at and provide food and shelter for birds.

 
Grasses respond and start to grow based upon temperature. Some grasses will start to grow in early spring when temperatures are still cool and others will wait until the soil is warm and temperatures are more stable. Cool season grass will start to grow early in the spring and may even remain semi- evergreen over the winter. Warm season grasses do not begin to show growth until the weather becomes stable and the soils warm. The previous season’s growth of warm season grasses requires cutting back to 4-6” in the spring. Here are some top performing ornamental grasses in the New England area:

 

Calamagrostis (Feather Reed Grass)

^ Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Overdam’ has creamy white and green stripes along the length of its leaves. The foliage grows to 18” but its seed heads reach a majestic 5-6’.

Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Eldorado’ has distinctive golden and green variegated foliage that grows in a neat clump and reaches a height of 3-5’. The stems have an attractive honey-colored hue. Plumes appear in summer and add a vertical element to a height of 6’. Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ was named Perennial Plant of the Year is 2001, the first ornamental grass to be so honored. The green foliage grows in a neat, upright 2’ clump. In early spring, stalks rise to 6’, capped with elongated wheat-colored seed heads. It is undemanding and will tolerate clay and compacted soil conditions. Good looks, long-lasting plumes and undemanding growing requirements – no wonder it is an award winner!

 

 

Carex

Many varieties of Carex make effective ground covers. They also sparkle in containers and mixed plantings. While most ornamental grasses prefer sunny conditions, Carex thrives in shade. It flowers in late spring.

^ Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’ has fine blades with narrow green margins and a broad yellow center.

Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’ grows to a height of 12” in a gently arching form. Its narrow blades are deep- green and have a white striped edge that will brighten a shady area. It spreads slowly via rhizomes.

Carex morrowii ‘Ice Ballet’ is a sport of ‘Ice Dance’ and has wider, creamy-white margins on the blade.

 

 

Festuca

^ Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ has gorgeous blue foliage that grows in a tight clump. It maintains its color throughout winter. It forms spiky mounds that are 10” in height. It thrives in sunny situations and flowers in early summer. It makes a lovely edging along a stone pathway and brings a beautiful blue tone to the garden when planted in groups in the perennial border. Prune any winter damaged foliage, but otherwise do not cut back.

 

Hakonechloa (Hakone Grass)

Hakonechloa adds interesting form and texture to the garden with its graceful, arching habit. It tolerates sun but prefers a shady location to keep its tips from scorching. It is semi-evergreen and will only require cutting back any winter damaged or spent blades. With age, it develops an interesting mounding and cascading shape that seems to flow like a waterfall. It is magical when it sways and rustles in the wind. All in all, a beautiful, elegant grass for the garden.

^ Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’ has bright golden foliage. It grows 18-24” tall and spreads slowly by rhizomes to form a ground cover.
Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ is a variegated form whose golden leaves have intermittent green lines that are most pronounced in shade.
Hakonechloa macra ‘Beni Kaze’ has thin, rich green blades that start to develop red tips in late summer and gradually become increasingly red. When autumn is in full in swing, this grass is a bright blend of deep red, burnt orange and deep gold.

 

Helictotrichon (Blue Oat Grass)

Helictotrichon sempervirens ‘Sapphire’ has deep blue foliage that grows in a rounded clump to a height of 2’. Its graceful stems emerge in late spring and are topped with tan, oat-like seed heads. It prefers full sun and is a great small grass for containers.

 

Miscanthus

Miscanthus is perhaps the most recognizable group of ornamental grasses. Miscanthus varieties vary in heights, textures and habit but are often recognized by their upright plumes in late summer and autumn. Many varieties can be used to create privacy screens, given their generally tall, dense nature.

^ Miscanthus sinensis ‘Strictus’ is an upright and colorful grass known for horizontal yellow bands on its foliage. In autumn, reddish, fan-shaped seed heads extend above the 7’ tall foliage. It grows in a strongly upright fashion. It makes a beautiful and unique statement in the garden.

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Adagio’ has fine textured, narrow leaves and grows in a compact, rounded shape. Fan-shaped, rose colored flowers rise above the foliage. The leaves turn a beautiful burgundy hue in autumn. At 4’ in height (reaching 5’ with blooms), it is suitable for small spaces, borders and massed plantings.
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’ is known for its elegant form and narrow, silver-veined foliage that grows in a pleasing symmetrical vase shape. Long stems produce fan-like, reddish plumes held high above the leaves. Flowers turn silvery-white as they mature and the foliage becomes auburn-gold after the first frost. It keeps its shape well into the winter. It grows to a height of 6’, reaching 7’ with its flowers.
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ is one of the most popular in its genus with finely textured, slender foliage that has a well-defined white variegation along the leaf margin. It grows in a neat, upright, arching form to a height of 4’, reaching 6’ when in bloom. It is an interesting option for those looking to create a “white garden”. It looks good in a mass planting or standing alone as a specimen.
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Variegatus’ is considered a classic among ornamental grasses. It features beautiful wide leaves with cream-colored stripes running the length of the deep green blades. It grows in an arching shape to 5’ in height and has red-tinted blooms.
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’ is similar to ‘Strictus’ with deep green foliage marked by yellow horizontal bands in random patterns. Some leaves may have more stripes than others. Copper-colored flowers appear at the end of tall stalks. It grows in an arching shape, in contrast to the more erect ‘Strictus’. The foliage of ‘Zebrinus’ will reach a height of 7’ and with its blooms, it will reach 8’.

 

Muhlenbergia (Pink Muhly grass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris is a North American native. It can stop traffic when in bloom! It grows in a mound of semi-erect, blue-green foliage to a height of 3’. In fall, billowing pink seed heads form a cotton candy crown. It needs full sun and should be planted at least one month before first frost to allow sufficient time to establish.

 

Panicum (Switchgrass)

Panicum is native to the Prairies of North America. All varieties develop deep, fibrous root systems that help them tolerate poor soil and drought. They have an upright nature that is useful in the garden as a vertical accent to other plantings, or as a screen to enclose an area or hide equipment. Panicum virgatum ‘Dallas Blues’ has wide blue leaves and complementary rose-pink seed heads. It grows to a height of 5’ and adds another foot when in bloom.

^ Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ is appreciated for its metallic-blue foliage, strong upright habit and its pink-tinted, airy midsummer blooms. It can serve as a colorful backdrop, either as a specimen focal point or grouped in a large mass. It grows to a height of 4’, reaching 5’ when in bloom. Panicum virgatum ‘Hot Rod’ emerges blue-green and quickly shifts to deep red. In fall, the foliage becomes deep purple. Topped with red-purple seeds and graced with an upright stature, it is a wonderful and colorful addition to the landscape.
Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ has a dependable upright habit and beautiful blue-green foliage. In early fall, it produces a multitude of cream-colored panicles that reach a height of 5-6’. It makes a stunning vertical accent in the garden. When planted in a group, they add a dynamic structural element. In 2014, ‘Northwind’ became the second ornamental grass to be awarded the Perennial Plant of the Year honor.
Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ is a spectacular red Switchgrass. Its upright foliage becomes red-tinted during the growing season, ending in dazzling red in autumn. It is drought tolerant, easy to maintain, and provides food and shelter for wildlife. Foliage grows to a height of 3’ and the plant reaches 4’ when in bloom.

 

Pennisetum (Fountain Grass)

Pennisetum grow in a flowing, fountain-like shape and are easily recognized by their bottlebrush plumes. We frequently see varieties with red leaves used in decorative containers and annual beds. While they are not hardy in our winters, there are many varieties, mostly with green foliage, that are strong performers in the New England landscape. They are charming when used as specimen plants and look spectacular when used in sweeping masses.

^Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’ is a dwarf variety that grows 2’ tall. It has a lovely fountain-like shape and produces pretty bottlebrush blooms. It is a great edging plant and is also at home in the mixed border.
Pennisetum alopecuroides is a graceful 3’ tall grass with pretty blush-colored bottlebrush plumes that appear in midsummer. The flowers add another foot of height and turn a lovely almond color later in the season. They need full sun and once established, need little care. This grass a very useful in the mixed border and is equally attractive when used in a mass planting.

Even shorter is Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Little Bunny’ which forms a 1’ by 1’ clump. When planted in a group, they can serve as a ground cover. As with all Pennisetum, they remain attractive well into winter.

Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’ forms an upright clump of arching green leaves that reach 2’ tall and 3’ wide. It has bottlebrush spikes of dark purple-black flowers that turn silvery as they dry. The leaves turn bright golden-yellow to orange in the fall.
Pennisetum orientale ‘Karley Rose’ has many great qualities: quick to establish; long-lasting pink plumes; upright, deep-green foliage; drought tolerance; and real hardiness. The foliage grows 2.5’ tall with the same lovely fountain-like shape.

Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Red Head’ has 8” long red bottlebrush plumes that emerge in midsummer. The foliage is dark green and forms a rounded, arching habit. It is attractive in mixed borders and creates a dramatic wave of color when planted in large groupings.

 

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Bluestem)

Schizachyrium scoparium is a North American native. It produces a kaleidoscope of hues in summer that further change color in autumn. It grows in loose clumps that branch out at the top. Summer’s greens, blues and purples turn tones of red and orange in the autumn. Its flowers produce downy, white seeds. The foliage grows to 2’ in height and when in bloom, the plant reaches 3’. Because it develops deep roots and tolerates environments with poor soil, it is useful in covering slopes and in restoration sites. But don’t overlook its potential in the mixed border or in a meadow-inspired landscape.

^ Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’ has an upright quality that results from its sturdy, thick stems. It also has lovely color – blue with hints of greens, purples and pinks that change to shades of red and orange in the autumn. It reaches 3’ in height and adds another foot when in bloom.

 

What’s In Store: July 28, 2017

The dog days of summer are here and it’s a great time to refresh the yard! Even though the days are hot and long, we’re still bringing in fresh annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs to add magnificent late-season color the garden.

Late Summer Bloomers

There are many ways to keep color in the garden even after the glorious days and exuberant flowering display of June. Like late-blooming teenagers, there are plants that come into their own after others have made their statement. They extend the joy of being in the garden into July, August and September, offering color and texture. And many late season bloomers are also magnets for pollinators such as butterflies and bees. Here are some perennials and shrubs that are worthy garden contributors later in the season.

 

PERENNIALS

Anemone hupehensis (Wandflower): The flowers of this perennial are suspended well above a tidy mound of rich green foliage. They wave in the wind and when backlit by the sun, make a beautiful scene. ‘September Charm’ has rose-pink flowers with yellow centers. ‘Honorine Jobert’ has ethereal white flowers.

Aster divaricatus (Wood Aster): The delicate, airy clouds of wood aster begin to bloom in late summer. Small, daisy-like flowers with yellow to red centers are carried above dark green to black stems. It grows 1.5-2.5’ tall in filtered to full shade. It is available in white, pink or purple varieties. Native to the open woods of the eastern United States, it is attractive to butterflies.

Aster novae-angliae (New England Aster): The rich colors of this aster range from blue-purple to lavender-pink, with yellow-orange centers. The blooms are large and showy. They provide a critical fall nectar source for pollinators, especially Monarch butterflies as they stock up for their fall migration to Mexico.

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Blue Plumbago): This is a beautiful spreading, low-growing groundcover that reaches just 8-12” in height. What a treat when deep blue flowers appear in late summer! And as fall approaches, its shiny green foliage turns a beautiful bronze-red color.

^^ Coreopsis grandiflora (Large Flowered Tickseed): Count on any of the Coreopsis varieties to provide warm yellow tones to the garden. There are many varieties available, all offering daisy-like flowers. They are deer resistant and attractive to pollinators. They offer a long period of bloom, beginning in midsummer and extending into the fall.

Coreopsis verticillata (Thread Leaf Coreopsis): This type of coreopsis has delicate leaves and stems and bears loads of flowers. Many varieties are available. ‘Moonbeam’ has flowers the color of chilled butter. ‘Mercury Rising’ has velvety red flowers with a bright yellow center.

^^ Echinacea (Coneflower): One of the most iconic plants in a late summer New England garden is the purple coneflower with its showy 5” daisy-like pink flowers. It blooms throughout summer on upright stems and typically grows 2-4′ tall. If left standing into the winter, the cones in the center of the flowers will be a food source for birds. Plant breeders now offer us additional color and size choices like yellow and white.

Eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed): Native to the eastern United States, this plant makes a statement in the garden. Its reddish purple flowers form large, showy heads on 5-6 foot, wine-colored stems. Flowering begins in late August, but the stems and buds are ornamental well before then. Butterflies love it.

^^ Geranium ‘Rozanne’: This hardy geranium was named Perennial Plant of the Year in 2008 – and for good reason. It is one of the longest blooming perennials. It has violet-blue flowers with a white eye that begin blooming in early June and continue without deadheading until the end of October. The foliage turns a lovely shade of bronze-red in the fall. Growing 18” tall and 2’-3’ wide, it provides color, texture and mass to a garden bed or foundation planting.

^^ Hemerocallis (Daylilly): There is nothing easier to grow than a daylily. It comes back faithfully every year with gently arching long blades of foliage. In July and August its flowers stand proudly above the foliage. And those flowers are available in a range of colors – yellow, peach, pink, red – with a central eye of contrasting color. There are single flowers, double flowers, and even some flowers whose petals have ruffled edges. A mature clump is a handsome sight.

^^ Heuchera and Heucherella: These plants are wonderful colorful additions to a shady area. While they have tiny bell-shaped flowers on wand-like stems, they are more often grown for the season-long color of their leaves. They come in varieties with unusual foliage colors ranging from yellow to caramel to raspberry red to purple and almost black. They are clump forming plants that thrive in partly sunny to shady situations. They enjoy soil that is rich in organic matter.

^^ Monarda (Beebalm): Monarda is a long-time favorite in the perennial border. Plant breeders have introduced many new varieties that offer new colors, sizes and improved mildew resistance. Plants have sturdy stems and with time will create a nice mass in the perennial border. Showy flowers are complex in their structure and attract all manner of pollinators. And did we mention it is deer resistant?

^^ Ornamental Grasses: This large family of beautiful perennial plants adds texture, color and movement to the garden. They also provide interest in the fall and winter landscape, especially when backlit by morning or afternoon sun. When the flowers of summer are only a memory, you’ll find delight looking out on frosted ornamental grass spikes in the early light of a cold winter’s day. Cut back to the ground in early spring.

^^Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage): This is a lovely shrubby, aromatic perennial with finely dissected silver-green leaves. Interestingly, the plant’s stems are square. It becomes even more interesting in late summer through autumn when tubular pale blue flowers open. When planted in full sun its stems have a nice, upright posture and grow to a height of 3-4’. New varieties are available that have a more compact habit, growing to 2’ in height. Cut the plant back almost to the ground in late winter or very early spring. The whole effect is of a delicate, airy plant that complements everything around it. Perovskia atriplicifolia was named Perennial Plant of the Year in 1995.

^^ Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox): This upright perennial is a classic in the perennial border. It grows in a clump 2-4’ tall and 2’ wide. Its pointed green leaves are held on sturdy, upright stems. But the reason it is so beloved has to do with its fragrant, densely packed, tiered flower clusters that hold court from July into September. A large number of varieties are available in colors including, white, lavender, pink and red, and today’s varieties are resistant to powdery mildew which troubled older varieties. ‘David’ is a beautiful white variety which glows in the evening light. ‘Bright Eyes’ has lovely pink flowers with a ruby colored center. While you are enjoying the flowers, don’t be surprised to see the butterflies and even hummingbirds doing so as well!

^^ Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant): You may be familiar with the lavender flowers of Physostegia virginiana. While it may have a tendency to grow beyond its bounds, ‘Miss Manners’ forms a clump of well-behaved deep green foliage topped with fresh white flowers. It grows to a height of 18-24” and a similar spread. It adds a crisp and refreshing late-season element to the perennial border.

^^ Rudbeckia fulgida (Black Eyed Susan): One of the most frequently planted Rudbeckia is a variety called ‘Goldsturm’. It has showy dark golden-yellow flowers with black centers, and bloooms from July into mid-October. Growing 24” tall, it tolerates a wide range of conditions and if happy, will multiply readily. It was named Perennial Plant of the Year in 1999. It happens to be a favorite of goldfinches who love its seeds.

Rudbeckia nitida ‘Herbstsonne’: This is a taller growing Rudbeckia that looks fabulous at the back of the perennial border. Slender branching stems hold bright green, toothed leaves. It has bright yellow daisylike flower petals that bend down from a large green cone. Despite its height of 4-6’, it needs no staking. If left to stand for the winter, it is a good food source for birds.

^^ Sedum (Stonecrop): Whether in groundcover form or taller upright versions, every garden should have some Sedum. Perhaps most familiar is the 24” tall ‘Autumn Joy’ with its blue-green foliage and large heads of delicate bright-pink flowers that age into a beautiful copper color as fall approaches. Similar varieties include ‘Brilliant’ which has hot pink flowers, and ‘Autumn Fire’ whose flowers deepen to bronze-red. These easy and reliable plants pair well with ornamental grasses, asters and many other perennials. Also of great use in the landscape are low growing sedums which can serve as decorative ground covers, and fill crevices in rock walls or spaces between stones in a pathway. Their leaves come in a variety of colors and shapes, and their flowers are often vivid tones of yellow, pink or red.

SHRUBS

^^ Buddleia (Butterfly Bush): The colorful and fragrant flowers attract flocks of butterflies and hummingbirds. But fortunately, not deer! Arching branches bear long panicles of sweet smelling flowers in late summer. Pink, white, or purple flowered varieties are available. Whether you choose a variety that will grow 5 or more feet tall, or a more compact variety, these shrubs should be pruned back hard in spring.

Caryopteris (Bluebeard or Blue Mist): This small shrub is adored by butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects. The entire plant will quiver with their activity! The feathery blue flower clusters cover the plant in late summer and into the fall. Its silvery grey foliage is pleasantly aromatic when brushed by your hand. It should be hard pruned in early spring in order to encourage strong new growth. It will easily grow 2-3’ high in a season.

Clethra alnifolia (Summersweet): One of our native shrubs, Clethra is prized for its fragrant late summer flowers (hence its common name, Summersweet) and glossy green foliage which turns a beautiful yellow in the fall. A magnet for butterflies, it grows in full sun or part shade and will tolerate a damp site. ‘Ruby Spice’ grows 4-6’ in height and has deep reddish-pink flowers. ‘Hummingbird’ has a more dwarf, mounded habit. It grows to 3’ in height and bears white flowers.

Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon): It is hard to resist the brightly colored, exotic looking flowers of this hardy, deer resistant shrub. Flowers can be single or double and come in white, pink or blue-purple colors. Most varieties grow 8-10’ tall and 6’ wide, but can be pruned in early spring to control size and shape. Some varieties are also available in tree form.

^^ Hydrangea: No garden is complete without Hydrangea. Whether you choose Hydrangea macrophylla with its beautiful blue mop head flowers or its lace cap varieties; Hydrangea paniculata with its color changing cone-shaped flowers; Hydrangea arborescens with its shade-loving white mop head flowers; or Hydrangea serrata whose classic lace cap flowers have showy sterile florets forming an outer ring around the center of tiny fertile florets, you will be grateful for their presence in your garden.

Hypericum (St. John’s Wort): Another deer resistant shrub, Hypericum is a mounding shrub with bluegreen foliage. Growing to 3’ in height and spread, it has bright, golden yellow flowers in midsummer that are loved by butterflies. Flowers are followed by rich red berries that are often used in autumn floral arrangements. It grows in full sun to part shade.

Itea (Sweetspire): This is a lovely deer resistant native shrub that produces loads of long, white flowers that remain attractive through late summer. It is a compact, rounded shrub with gently arching branches. Its bright green leaves have wonderful fall color, turning shades of orange and red. ‘Henry’s Garnet’ grows 4’ tall while ‘Little Henry’ grows just 3’ tall.

What’s In Store: June 30, 2017

Get your patios ready for the 4th! Shop our outdoor furniture and accessories at our Winchester and Falmouth stores- now offering free local furniture delivery! We’re bringing in fresh annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs daily to dress up the yard, including larger sizes for instant color. Browse our pottery selection to create your summer container gardens in festive reds, whites and blues! Plus, don’t let the bugs ruin your cookouts. Visit our lawn and garden departments for tick and mosquito solutions to enjoy the outdoors!

The Wondrous World of Hydrangea Paniculata

Everyone loves the beautiful blue mophead hydrangeas – but maybe it’s time to expand your hydrangea horizons. Panicle hydrangeas have wonderfully large, lush pyramidal flowers that provide color and texture for an amazingly long period of time.

Panicle hydrangeas are super easy, reliable, and very hardy. You will be guaranteed flowers each and every summer because the flower buds are formed in late spring on new growth, thereby avoiding the frosts that can damage buds. They adapt to a variety of light levels, from full sun to partial shade and even the shade of a north facing garden.

Panicle hydrangeas offer a very long season of bloom beginning in June and lasting until winter sets in. Say goodbye to that feeling that there is nothing in bloom in the late summer and fall! The cone-shaped flowers are often 12” tall and sometimes taller. Another lovely feature of these hydrangeas is the flower’s ability to subtly change color over its many months of bloom. What begins as a lovely creamy white flower will morph into varying shades of pink, and, with some varieties, even deep pink-red by season’s end. They are shallow-rooted plants that benefit from a 2-3″ layer of compost or mulch. Planted in healthy, organic-rich soil, they require no fertilizer to produce lots of blooms.

They flower true to color so there is no need for soil additives. Pruning is not necessary, especially if you choose a variety whose size is appropriate to your needs. In time, if you wish to contain the plant’s size, you can prune in late winter or very early spring. Come explore the world of panicle hydrangeas. Here are some of our favorite varieties:

 

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bobo’

Considered one of the smaller paniculatas, ‘Bobo’ grows 3’ tall and 3-4’ wide. But don’t be fooled by its diminutive stature. ‘Bobo’ in full bloom is a spectacular sight. This hydrangea will be absolutely engulfed in large, bright white flowers. It can be hard to see the leaves for all its flowers! The flowers are held upright on strong stems, and continue to grow and lengthen as they bloom. By season’s end, the flowers take on a lovely soft shade of pink.

 

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Fire Light’

This hydrangea is truly beautiful in a border or foundation planting. Its flowers open a pure white, gradually turn pink, and finish the season a rich pomegranate-red color. The 12-16” flowers are held on thick, sturdy stems. ‘Fire Light’ grows 5-6’ tall.

 

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’

When you see the creamy lime-green flower panicles begin to open, you will understand how ‘Limelight’ got its name. The lime green flowers slowly transform into a soft, antique rose pink over a long season of bloom. The shrub is upright in form and reaches a height of 7-8’. It makes a beautiful specimen plant in the border, and a hedge of ‘Limelight’ lining a driveway is a sight to behold.

 

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Lime’

 

As the name suggests, this is a compact version of ‘Limelight’. It has the same mid-summer creamy limegreen flowers on a shrub that grows 3-5’ tall.

 

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Quick Fire’

This is the earliest blooming of the panicle hydrangeas, and that is saying something! What begins as a lovely creamy white flower morphs into shades of pink – first soft pink, then medium pink, ending the season in tones of pink-red. Another interesting feature of this panicle hydrangea is its stem color. Red toned stems of summer become mahogany colored in winter, adding a rich texture to the landscape. ‘Quick Fire’ will reach 6-7’ in height.

 

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Little Quick Fire’

If your landscape can’t accommodate the size of ‘Quick Fire’ but you still want to enjoy its beauty, ‘Little Quick Fire’ is for you. Growing just 3-5’ tall, it has the same early bloom time, exquisite flowers, and great stem color. It’s all there, just in a smaller package.

 

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanilla Strawberry’

The flowers of this variety begin their colorful journey as pale green before changing to luscious creamy white and then darkening through all stages of pink into rosy-red. New blooms emerge as older blooms change color, giving the plant a multicolored effect. Growing 6-7’ feet tall, the branches will gently arch under the weight of its flowers.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Strawberry Sundae’

Growing 4-5’ tall and 3-4’ wide, this compact plant is similar to ‘Vanilla Strawberry’. The flowers are numerous and have the same multicolored effect. It brings a sense of excitement to the smaller landscape.

 

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Zinfin Doll’

The flowers of this new introduction produce an amazing multi-color display. Its dense panicles of creamy white blossoms blush pink from the base upward and gradually darken to rich raspberry pink. The deep green foliage provides a perfect backdrop for this exuberant floral display. Sturdy, upright stems will grow to a height of 6-8’.

What’s In Store: June 23, 2017

It’s National Pollinator Week! Stop in to find an incredible selection of perennials, annuals, trees and shrubs now in bloom to attract bees, birds and butterflies! Now that Summer is officially here, it’s time to get the patio ready! Shop our Winchester and Falmouth stores for outdoor dining and seating in cast aluminum, all-weather wicker, eucalyptus hardwood and more! Get free local delivery too! Plus, don’t miss our sale on 5″ geraniums – 5 for $20! Perfect for adding beautiful color to your window boxes and containers!

What’s In Store: June 16, 2017

There’s still plenty of time to beautify your outdoors! We’re bringing fresh plants into our stores daily including our 8″ and 12″ combo annual planters in beautiful colors and textures! Plant in window boxes and patio pots for instant blooms! This week we’re celebrating Dad with an array of great gift ideas including our teak benches (on special!) windspinners, statuary, Adirondack chairs and more. Visit our nursery and perennial yards for beautiful summer blooms to make your garden sing.

What’s In Store: June 8, 2017

Finally the rain is giving way to the sun! Our stores are blooming with fresh annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs! It’s not too late to get the garden started. Our hanging baskets double as instant container gardens or bedding plants. Visit our perennial yards for beautiful color and don’t forget– Father’s Day is June 18th! Visit our stores for great gift ideas for Dad including our teak benches, statuary, windspinners, adirondak and zero gravity chairs (Winchester & Falmouth only). Enjoy the beautiful weekend!

Now in bud & bloom: Spirea

Spirea is a much-loved spring and summer flowering shrub. An informal hedge of the classic Bridal Wreath Spirea with its cascading branches of white flowers is a lovely sight. Today’s varieties come in different sizes and leaf colors to suit any landscape need. There are pink, red, and white flowering varieties. Leaf color ranges from mid green to yellow/gold. Many have attractive fall color. All are easy care, growing in full sun or light shade. They are useful in foundation plantings, as hedges, and blend well with other shrubs in a mixed border. A light shearing of the plant after flowering will encourage additional blooming. If you should inherit an overgrown Spirea, it will take hard pruning well and will come back to flower again. And it is important to note that Spirea attract butterflies and are deer resistant.

Spirea x bumalda ‘Anthony Waterer’ ‘Anthony Waterer’ offers interesting foliage that emerges with reddish purple coloring in spring, matures to blue-green by summer and then turns bronze-red in fall. Deep pink semi-double flower clusters appear in early summer and will rebloom later in the season if the plant is gently sheared after the first flush of bloom. It is compact in its growth habit, reaching 3 feet tall and to 3-4 feet wide.

Spirea x bumalda ‘Goldflame’ ‘Goldflame’ is a dense mounded shrub that features attractive bronze-tinged new growth in spring which matures to soft yellow-green. Its bright pink flowers bloom in early summer. Fall foliage color is brilliant coppery-orange. It grows 3 feet tall and spreads slightly wider.

Spirea x bumalda ‘Goldmound’ ‘Goldmound’ has vibrant golden spring foliage, accented by clusters of pink flowers, making it a standout in the garden. The foliage cools to a yellowish green in summer then turns a rich, yellowish orange in fall. It reaches 2 to 3 feet in height and width.

Spirea x bumalda ‘Minigold’ As the name suggest, ‘Minigold’ is a smaller version of its cousins. The leaves are quite small and delicate looking. ‘Minigold’ grows 2 feet tall and spreads 2-3 feet wide. It is slow growing and forms a tight mound of cheerful yellow foliage topped with pink flowers.

Spirea x bumalda ‘Lemon Princess’ ‘Lemon Princess’ has gorgeous yellow foliage and flat clusters of pink summer flowers. The bright leaves hold their color for a long period and turn pinkish-red in fall color. The plant grows 1.5 to 2 feet tall with a slightly larger spread, making it ideal for rock gardens and perennial beds.

Spirea nipponica ‘Snowmound’ ‘Snowmound’ has graceful, spreading branches and spectacular clusters of white flowers in mid to late spring. The narrow foliage is a distinctive dark blue-green. It reaches 3 to 4 feet in height and width. ‘Snowmound’ received the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain.

Spirea japonica ‘Double Play Gold’ ‘Double Play Gold’ is noted for its attractive golden-yellow foliage that retains good color throughout the growing season. It is a dwarf, mounded cultivar that grows just 18-24 inches tall and slightly wider. Clear pink flowers appear from late spring to mid-summer and continue with an intermittent rebloom until frost. It adds easy, season long color to gardens with very little effort.

Spirea japonica ‘Little Princess’ ‘Little Princess’ has mint green foliage topped with dainty clusters of rose-pink blooms. It grows in a neat compact form, 2-3 feet tall and somewhat wider. The oval shaped leaves are sharply toothed, and take on attractive red hues in autumn.

Spirea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’ ‘Magic Carpet’ features bright golden to lime green foliage with vibrant red leaf tips. Cluster of deep pink flowers add to the colorful display in the summer. In fall, russet red tones give a new touch of color. It grows in a neat, low mounded form that reaches 1.5 to 2 feet tall and wide. The wonderful combination of colors brightens the landscape throughout the growing season.

Spirea thunbergi Ogon (Spirea ‘Mellow Yellow’) This Spirea is noted for its very early flowering time, wispy habit, and bright golden yellow leaves. In very early spring, before its leaves have unfurled, the slender branches are covered with dazzling white flowers borne in clusters. Its leaves are unlike most Spirea as they are feathery and willow-like. They emerge gold (“ogon” means gold in Japanese) and gradually change to bright green. In autumn, the leaves turn bright orange and remain on the plant very late into the season. Its twiggy, slender branches arch and flounce, giving Ogon Spirea a uniquely soft textural quality. It grows 3-5 feet in height and width.