Mahoney's Garden Center | Feature
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Video: What’s in Store, April 14

Take a peek at what’s in store this weekend. It’s all about color! Festive Easter lilies, hydrangea, regal geraniums, hyacinth, and much more! Please note, supplies and selection will vary at Each Mahoney’s location.

Winter Moth: What You Need to Know

Originally introduced to North America from Europe, winter moths, and the devastation they bring can be found  throughout New England – especially in areas around Boston and Cape Cod. They seem to prefer apple, blueberry, cherry and crab-apple fruit trees, but they also feed on oaks, maples and ash. There is no gentle way to say this; it’s a very serious problem.

​​Adult moths emerge from soil around late November, and females lay eggs on tree trunks, house siding, and other outdoor surfaces through January. The eggs hatch before spring buds break. The young larvae (tiny inchworms caterpillars) tunnel into buds where they feed – often before the buds even open. After they eat up one bud, the larvae move to the next bud using wind and silk strands, called “ballooning”. The result is partial to significant defoliation. If a tree is defoliated 3 years in a row it’s at a high risk of death!

what you can do

To date, there is no easy solution, nonetheless it’s critical that you do as much as possible or your trees will be at risk.  Here are ways you can combat the problem: In early spring (late March or up until the leaves start to open) spray All Seasons Horticultural Oil from Bonide. It’s an all-natural oil that helps prevent winter moth eggs from hatching. Warning: if you saw adult moths last December, DON’T WAIT to look for them this spring – the larvae do an awful amount of damage as they become visible.
Once the leaves start to open, it’s too late for the Hort Oil – now it’s time to spray either Bonide’s all-natural Thuricide or all-natural Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew. Both will kill winter moth caterpillars, but Capt. Jacks will kill even when they get big. Important notes: To help a defoliated tree or shrub survive the summer, make sure to water deeply once a week. Also, even though all three Bonide products are all-natural, you’ll still want to avoid wet contact with bees. If any tree or shrub attracts bees, do not spray when it is in flower. Any other time of year, even if not in flower, minimize contact with bees by spraying either very early in the morning or after sunset – you want time for sprays to dry while bees are not active.

Our Very Own Locally Grown Pansies

Beautiful, early season color! Our very own pansies are locally grown right in our Woburn, MA greenhouses and arriving fresh daily! We grow dozens of different varieties of pansies, violas, and the popular Panola- a hybrid with the high bloom count of a viola and fantastic color of a pansy! Find any color to fit your style… beautiful purples, oranges, yellows, whites and and blues. Grown in cool temperatures to harden off the plants for New England Spring nights, our pansies are cold-tolerant and ready to go outside! With this crazy weather, it’s important to watch the forecast and cover or take in your pansies if temps dip below freezing.

AIR CLEANING HOUSEPLANTS

Airborne toxins such as formaldehyde, TCE and benzene are present in every home and office. That’s because these compounds are found in countless products used everyday: paints, varnishes, plastics, rubber, insulation and particleboard. Even permanent-pressed clothes, grocery bags and facial tissue contribute harmful toxins in the air you breath. Worse yet, symptoms from these toxins include eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, allergic dermatitis, chronic respiratory diseases and neuropsychological problems. Yikes!

Houseplants fight air pollution by absorbing these harmful contaminants. NASA researchers discovered that certain houseplants can reduce indoor pollutants by 87 percent in 24 hours. So, why not add several plants to your home and office? You’ll love the look and breathe easier, too!

1. FICUS ELASTICA – RUBBER PLANT

This beatiful plant will grow to be a dramatic feature in any home or office

A bold tree, with its large, rubbery leaves, on stems as straight as exclamation points! This variety is a winner indoors – give it as much indirect light as possible and keep away from drafts – you’ll have plently of joyful years ahead with your new houseplant. Although they enjoy humidity, they also tolerate lower humidity levels.

2. ARACEAE EPIPREMNUM – POTHOS

An easy indoor vine that anyone can grow.

While In the wild they can overwhelm a hundred foot tall tree; in your house they will simply trail nicely down a plant stand. One of the top ten clean air plants, Pothos help remove formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide from the air. When a vine gets too long, simply prune it from the top (close to the soil) to encourge new growth near the center of the plant.

3. ARACEAE SPATHIPHYLLUM – PEACE LILY

Thrives in lower light – so it’s lovely in dining and living rooms, offices, etc. Purifies the air, too.

Another one of our very popular “Easy Care” houseplants, these beautiful Peace Lilies have striking white flowers and beautiful foliage.They remove air borne toxins, too! They like water and misting more in the summer, less in the winter. They can bloom twice a year if fertilized. Try the slow release Osmocote.

4. FICUS BENJAMINA – FICUS TREE

A beautiful tree that you can grow in your house.

This Ficus tree is a classic in office lobbies and atriums It tolerates some full sun but is best in filtered sun. Do not overwater; allow the soil to dry and inch or two below the surface. What it like best is to be keep in one spot; moving it from one environment to another can cause it to drop leaves. Allow it to acclimate if you are dramatically changing its home.

5. DRACAENA FRAGRANS “MASSANGEANA” – CORN PLANT

A houseplant that thrives in either bright or low light!

One of our most popular “Easy Care” houseplants, this low maintenance miracle resembles the leaves of corn stalks. Although it tolerates neglect, be sure to not over-water or over-fertilize, and never place your corn plant in a draft or direct sun. This slow-growing houseplant will give you visual pleasure for years to come!

6. AGLAONEMA – CHINESE EVERGREEN

One of the easiest houseplants to grow – now available in exciting new hybrids.

Aglaonema are popular at home, dorms and offices because they are both great looking and very dependable. Check out the hybrids for fresh new color options. In general the green varieties tolerate low light whereas the colorful varieties need brighter light (check tag). Considered a lucky plant in Asian culture, Aglaonema like to be kept moist but not soaking wet.

7. CHAMAEDOREA ERUMPENS – BAMBOO PALM

Looking for a palm that tolerates shade? Stop right here!

Beautiful, tall and graceful, this palm adapts well to a variety of different light environments. Plus it’s proven to help clean the air toxins in your home or office. Although this palm is relatively low-maintenance, it likes to be misted once in a while. An inexpensive, beautiful addition to your decor!

8. SYNGONIUM PODOPHYLLUM – ARROWHEAD VINE

Great easy care houseplant for a hanging basket or as a climber!

The arrow-shaped leaves on this easy houseplant make it a great option for places where a climber or hanger work better. Arrowhead vines will tolerate low light but will grow much better in bright, indirect light. They like to be moist at all times, but not soggy. Arrowhead vines like to be root-bound and therefore do not need to be repotted very often.

9. SCHEFFLERA ARBORICOLA – ARBORICOLA

The perfect match for anyone wanting a houseplant!

You can’t beat an Arboricola! It can tolerate a wide variety of soil types and light conditions. Depending on where you place your plant and how much light it gets, you might have different size & colored leaves, but your Arboricola will love you just the same! During the winter watch the moisture levels and mist as needed. One tip is to place the pot on a tray of river rocks.

FRESHEN UP WITH GREEN & GLASS

Nothing can make you feel like it’s a fresh new year more than cleaning out the holiday clutter from your home. We use this time to introduce beautiful foliage and flowering plants that remind us of Spring throughout our interior spaces. Visit our greenhouses to find ferns, succulents and an array of tropical houseplants to get you through the doldrums of winter.  We love incorporating these plants into glass vessels and pottery that enhance your interior decor and give you a personal sense of well-being.

5 Winter Tips for Healthy Houseplants

1. AVOID OVERWATERING

It’s counterintuitive, but overwatering is the most common reason plants fail – particularly in the winter. Overwatering can cause browning of leaves, fungus, gnats, and dropping of leaves. Wait to water your houseplants until they become dry.  Test the soil with your finger. When the top inch is dry, then add water.
Nice Idea: Use the same watering vessel each time, so you know to add the same amount whenever you water.
Neat Idea: place a cork pad under your plant’s saucer. This will eliminate water stains on your carpet or hardwood floors.

2. CLEAN THE GREEN

Keep your leaves free of dust and grime this will keep your plants healthier – plus they’ll look better.  Take a half of a lemon and squeeze it into a quart of water using a soft cloth. Wet it with the lemon mix and wipe gently. Support the foliage using your other hand so you won’t bend or break the leaf.  Unless you live in a dust bowl, you’ll probably only have to do this once every six months or so.

3. FEEDING

Your houseplants need food during the winter, but less is more.  If your directions say 1 tablespoon or 1 scoop we recommend cutting that in half. Feed only once a month until spring. Personally I believe organic fertilizers are better for plants.
Who knew: Using filtered or bottled water will help eliminate dead ends. The minerals in tap water will settle to the ends of the leaves and cause the dead ends.

4. CHECK FOR PESTS

Keep an eye out for pests.  They usually will attack the new growth and also hide on the underside of the leaves and along the stem.  They are not harmful to humans and are easily able to control.  If you do discover pests grab yourself an organic insect spray. Lay out some plastic under the pot and start spraying at the bottom of the plant.
Spray the foliage on the underside and then on top, working your way up. Your treatments may take several applications 7 – 10 days apart.  The sooner you discover those pests, the easier it is to get under control, so check your plants often.

5. WAIT TO REPOT

If you feel your plant needs to be repotted into a bigger container, it’s best to wait to late winter or early spring. Longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures are more conducive to root expansion.  Choose a container that is 4 – 6 inches larger than the existing pot.  When choosing a pot the saucer is important. You want at least 2″ of space between the saucer edge and the bottom of the pot.

HOW TO START SEEDS INDOORS

Few gardening pursuits are as rewarding as growing your flowers and vegetables from seed. For centuries, New England gardeners and farmers alike have embarked on their labor of love early on the season. The goal: to sow their seeds indoors while patiently awaiting the arrival of warm weather.

Our friends at Botanical Interests Seeds have helped us provide some indoor seed starting basics. We love the Botanical Interests seed collection. You’ll find hundreds of Non-GMO and USDA certified organic varieties.

 

Carefully tending to your plants from the beginning invokes a sense of wonder in gardeners of all ages. This is especially true in New England, as our growing season is short. Other than cool-season crops, you’ll want to wait until after the “Average Last Frost Date” to sow outside. The Farmer’s Almanac lists that as May 4th in Boston, but this is just an average, and it varies by town. Starting from seed allows you to get a jump-start on varieties that you may otherwise have to wait until May to find in the garden center. Different seed varieties require different numbers of days to sprout and grow. All Botanical Interests seed packets are labeled with their germination time. Use this information to help you find the perfect time to sow, relative to the last frost.

The other advantage of starting from seed is finding a selection that you may not otherwise find in started plants. Depending on which Mahoney’s you visit, you’ll find up to 500 seed varieties to choose from – this is especially exciting if you are looking for heirloom and hard-to-find vegetable varieties!

Perhaps the most compelling reason is that seed starting provides a wonderful sense of accomplishment – especially for kids. It connects you to nature, and makes you appreciate, and control where your food really comes from. We say it’s hard to explain – you just have to experience it!

GETTING STARTED

We should mention that many plants should be started from seed outdoors. Radishes, spinaches and carrots, for example, grow so fast that it is much easier to sow directly outdoors. There are other veggies such as salad greens that are fussy about being transplanted so planting directly into the garden produces better results. That said, let’s dig into seed starting indoors.

CHOOSE YOUR CONTAINER

Most people buy our seed-starting flats because they maximize plants per square inch, but no one says you have to go that route; you can use anything from cut-down milk cartons to elegant glazed pottery. As long as the container is not too shallow, and you have proper drainage, the plants don’t really care. Go with what you like to look at. We carry many biodegradable fiber pots and seed trays, perfect for growing! Note: If you do reuse a container, make sure to clean and sanitize first.

LIGHTEN UP

Seeds need light – lots of it! When starting your seeds indoors, place in a south-facing sunny window. If you don’t think you’ll have enough sun, stop in and talk to us for tips on artificial lighting! There are ways to use your own lighting at home to help your seedlings along!

PLANTING MIXES

If you search online you’ll find a lot of conflicting information about what’s the “best” planting soil to use. We sell several – from our organic professional potting mix to an organic seed starting media by Espoma. They’ll all work great – just remember that regular outdoor garden soil is definitely not OK. Seeds need the right amount of moisture, warmth and air to germinate. Regular garden soil is too dense and will drown the seeds and eliminate much-needed oxygen and create an environment ripe for pests and disease.

name your plants

When they’re very young a lot of seedlings look pretty much the same, so do yourself a favor and label the plants as soon as you get started. While you are at it, mark down when you first planted the seeds. Trust us, you’ll find this really helpful.

keep it cozy

Seeds need warmth – most will germinate at temperatures around 75ºF, but eggplants, peppers, and other warm-season plants like it even warmer. Again it’s good to read package instructions carefully. Once the seeds germinate, room temperatures of 70º–75º will keep most seedlings happy.

a word about water

Water the containers as needed to keep them evenly moist but not sopping wet. Misting using a spray bottle, or bottom watering (adding water to the drainage tray) are great ways to keep planting mix moist without disturbing seeds and young seedlings. Covering your containers with a clear lid or clear plastic wrap also helps increase humidity during germination. After your seedlings emerge, remove the cover.

count down

Once your seedlings have grown enough to transplant to their ultimate spot (either in the ground or in a container) it’s time to prepare your babies to withstand outdoor conditions. It called “Hardening off.” Start by placing your seedlings outdoors in a protected, shady area. Over the next 7 to 10 days, move them more and more into direct sun (for sun-loving varieties). But remember your seedling are still very “tender” – be sure to bring them in at night if temperatures drop below 45°F. Then congratulations – you’re ready to plant.

Pollinators

Bees, hummingbirds and butterflies pollinate a third or more of the food we eat. You can help simply by choosing seeds that create habitats that protect and feed pollinators. And while you’re thinking of this, plant a diversity of colors, bloom times, and heights – it will provide a better environment, and it will be prettier for you, too.

a final thought

Before you start, take a minute to appreciate the seed. They come in all sizes – some as fine as powder – but each is a remarkable living thing with a protective outer coat, an embryo, stored nutrients, and a genetic blueprint for its development. When you stop to think, it’s really quite miraculous that a tiny seed will grow into a big, beautiful plant, in just one season!