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.

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!

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.

 

Now In Bloom: Weigelia

Weigela are easily grown deciduous shrubs. They offer prolific, trumpet-shaped flowers on gracefully arching branches. In addition to their beauty, Weigela are adored by hummingbirds, and fortunately, are not a favorite of deer.

The Sonic Bloom® Series boasts the strongest reblooming ever seen in Weigela. Loads of flowers in May are followed by waves of flowers until frost. Deadheading is not required to get rebloom. The vibrant flowers of the Sonic Bloom series, held on arching branches, add season-long drama to the garden. Available in three colors – lipstick red, hot pink and pearl white – they will grow to a height and width of 4 feet. Foliage is an attractive bright green. These irresistible, low maintenance shrubs are sure to become a favorite in your garden.

Another series of Weigela is notable for its rich, dark foliage color and deep pink spring flowers. The foliage’s similarity to the color of fine burgundy wine inspired ‘Wine’ to be part of each variety’s name. A slight shearing will encourage re-bloom through the summer. ‘Fine Wine’ has a compact mounded habit, reaching 2-4’ high and 3’ wide. It is a refined plant with excellent texture, and is great in perennial borders or as a low foundation plant. ‘Wine & Roses’ is now a landscape standard, thanks to its dark burgundy-purple foliage and intense rosy-pink colored flowers. It reaches a height of 4-5’ feet. ‘Midnight Wine’ is a marvelous low mounding, dwarf version of ‘Wine & Roses’. At 12” tall, it is perfect for the front of the border. ‘Spilled Wine’ has dark red, wavy leaves and a spreading habit. Its flowers are hot pink-magenta. Growing wider than tall, it is perfect for filling in spaces in a sunny border.

Dazzling Dahlias

Dazzling dahlias! Our favorite summer bloomer, dahlias add color to your outdoor spaces unlike any other flower. Perfect for patio planters, window boxes and landscape beds, dahlias love to bask in full sun. The vivid colors are hypnotizing! Available in a wide range of sizes and colors. Be sure to check out our large-bloomed dahlias too!