Mahoney's Garden Center | Feature
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Early Blooming Spring Perennials

Who isn’t excited by the first green shoots brave enough to poke their snouts out of the soil at winter’s end? Nothing lifts our spirits like the first blooms of spring. Imagine flowers in March, April and May while you wait for the glory of summer to come. Here are some easy care early bloomers that once planted, will delight you every spring for years to come. In addition to their flowers, these plants offer interesting foliage, bringing texture and color to the garden throughout the growing season. Get a jump start on the flowering season in your garden!

Helleborus (Hellebore)

Hellebores thrive in rich, well-drained soil in part-sun or dappled shade. The species Helleborus niger (also known as the Christmas rose) is the earliest to bloom, with flowers appearing as early as February/March. The species Helleborus orientalis, or Lenten Rose, has been used in breeding efforts, resulting in the beautiful hybrids we know today. Plants are clump forming with thick evergreen hand-shaped leaves. In late winter the flower spike tops the leaves, branching out to produce a cluster of silver-dollar sized flowers. Each flower remains in bloom for 3 months or more. We use the term “flower” loosely as the flower is actually a modified calyx and it is this feature that accounts for such a long period of bloom. But putting the botanical nomenclature to the side, it is the flower colors of the Helleborus hybrids that enthrall. They range from black-purple to red-purple, to pink, to white and even yellow. Many have speckles of different colors in the center and at the edge of the flowers. Varieties such as ‘Pink Frost’ and ‘Love Bug’ are just a few of the many choices you will find. While hellebore foliage remains evergreen, some leaves may be damaged by harsh winter conditions. We suggest waiting to remove the old foliage until just before the flowers emerge. As you are enjoying the long blooming period, the plant will push new foliage with warming temperatures. Hellebores have the added benefit of being deer resistant.

Pulmonaria (Lungwart)

Pulmonarias are a wonder in the woodland garden and can be counted on to bloom soon after the Hellebores. Flowers appear in profuse clusters that can be blue, pink or white, and frequently two or more colors will be found on a single plant. The flowers often start out one color and fade into another color as the flower ages. The whole effect is lovely. A distinctive feature of Pulmonaria is its foliage: rich green with silver spots. Recent introductions have predominantly silver leaves that shimmer in a shady setting. Plants grow approximately 9 to 12 inches tall and will spread to two feet. They perform best in shady, moist soil that is rich in organic matter. ‘Raspberry Splash’, ‘Mrs. Moon’ and ‘Trevi Fountain’ are just three varieties of this charming and hardy plant. And like the Hellebores, Pulmonarias are deer resistant.

 

Brunnera macrophylla

Brunnera is considered by many plant aficionados to be one of the most attractive plants for the shade garden. A clump forming plant, its foliage has a rich green base overlaid with a silver crackle finish. The baby blue flowers appear in early to mid-spring and resemble forget-me-nots.

Brunnera prefers moist conditions and soil that is rich in organic matter. A mature plant reaches 12 to 18 inches in height and up to 2 feet in width. Wonderful new varieties have become available in the last few years. ‘Jack Frost’ was named Perennial Plant of the Year in 2012. The leaves of ‘Looking Glass’ are almost solid silver. ‘Silver Heart’ forms a clump of very thick, heart-shaped leaves that are a shimmery silver with green edging and veining. No matter the variety, people never fail to stop and ask about Brunnera when they see it in a garden.

 

Dicentra (Bleeding Heart)

Truly a classic, old fashioned Bleeding Heart, Dicentra spectabilis remains an essential plant in any garden. Its light green foliage is deeply cut and lobed, and its stems are fleshy. Flowers appear in chains of puffy pink petals with white tips. They dangle from stems that stand above the foliage. A mature plant will be 2 to 3 feet tall and as wide. It is also available in a white flowering form, Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’. A relatively new variety, ‘Valentine’ offers the same charms as the species but with arching spikes of elegant cherry-red, heart-shaped blooms with white tips held on dark burgundy stems. Dicentra eximia (Fringed Bleeding Heart) is a shorter growing species with blue-green foliage that is deeply cut and fern-like. Flowers are rose pink to red. It is native to the eastern United States. A west coast native, Dicentra formosa is similar to Dicentra eximia. It has narrower flowers and longer, more curved outer petal tips. Dicentra formosa ‘Luxuriant’ and ‘King of Hearts’ are especially attractive cultivars.

Aquilegia (Columbine)

Aquilegia plants have an airy appearance, with small, rounded leaves and tall flower stalks that hold bellshaped blooms above the foliage. Each flower has 5 petals that flare out from the base, surrounded by a collar of 5 larger sepals. The long, nectar holding spurs arch backward out of the flowers, making the flowers popular with hummingbirds and bees. Petals and sepals come in a variety of colors and combinations, in shades of light blue, pink, purple, red, white and yellow. Aquilegias relish dappled shade and love deep, rich soil. Columbines have a reputation for going dormant in the summer but if kept watered after flowering, the elegant foliage will last into the fall. The Swan Series offers a lovely range of colored flowers with long-spurs. Some varieties in the series are solid colored, while others are bi-colored. Stunning in the garden! Here’s an interesting note: the name Aquilegia comes from the Latin word for eagle, in reference to the flower’s five spurs which purportedly resemble an eagle’s talon.

What’s In Store: April 21, 2017

Here’s a sneak peek video of what you can find in our stores now: Beautiful trees and shrubs in bud and bloom, cold tolerant annuals, fresh succulents, cool-season veggies, beautiful pottery, early-blooming perennials and much more!

Now in: Amazing Succulents and Cacti

Our best selection yet! Fresh, new succulents and cacti are now in. Grown in the warm California sun, they feature beautiful colors and textures with many unique varieties to choose from ( like ghost plant, key lime pie, chocolate soldier, and blue elf…just to name a few!) Find an array of sizes for your terrarium or tabletop designs.

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.