Winchester Farmstand Now Open!

Don’t miss our Winchester farmstand’s fresh makeover! Stop in to find local fruits and veggies, an incredible selection of Stonewall Kitchen products, and more!

Fall Annuals Are Here!

With the summer coming to a close, we yearn for warm colors and rich textures around the home. Refresh your outdoors too! Update your annual beds, container gardens or window boxes with the palette of autumn. Choose from a great selection of cold-tolerant mums, cabbage, kale, grasses and premium annuals to take you through the fall season.

FALL IS FOR PLANTING

.. Maybe Even the best time for planting…

It happens every year, people from towns near and far make their spring pilgrimage to Mahoney’s. They come filled with anticipation of new perennials, lush lawns, and flowering shrubs. Simply put, it’s spring, and they want to plant something. No question of course, that spring is a great time to plant, but what many people don’t realize is that fall is not only an equally good time to plant, in many ways it’s better.

To understand why, it’s good to remember that plants do not think like people. While we lament the end of summer, plants – especially newly planted plants – find the cooler days far less stressful. We may dig in our closets for a sweater, but for plants the soil feels warm, which boosts root growth. And while fall rains seem gloomy to us, plants much prefer it to the hot dry summer. And this is true for a whole host of plants: trees, shrubs, perennials, roses, ornamental grasses and even your lawn. Practically anything planted now will have extra time to establish, so when it’s time to grow and flower next year, it will give you a great show at your house, not at the garden center.

HOW LATE INTO THE FALL CAN YOU PLANT?

Fact is, if the ground isn’t frozen and you can still dig the hole, you can still plant. Planting in September and October however allows that much more time for plants to become established, so sooner is better.

There are other reasons fall is a great time for planting. Unlike a lot of garden centers that wind down for the year, Mahoney’s brings in lots of fresh new plants every fall, especially shrubs. Check out our new shipments arriving daily. Planting them now will allow you to enjoy the foliage throughout all seasons, including color changes this fall.

Fall is also the unofficial “hide your neighbor” season. Why, we’re not sure, but a lot of people plant hedges in the fall. We’ll have fresh arborvitae, boxwood and other hedging evergreens as well as privet, hydrangeas, ninebark, spirea, weigela and many more deciduous shrubs. (Social note: for neighbors that need immediate hiding, we carry large and fast growing hedge shrubs. The ‘Green Giant’ arborvitae is especially popular)

Also very popular in the fall are miniature evergreens for urns, containers and window boxes. They add a festive touch for the holidays, and with a little protective care they will survive in a container through the winter. If you want to be greeted with tulips, daffodils and other flowers next spring, you have to plant the bulbs in fall.

Perennials especially benefit from the extra time in the ground before next spring. We bring in a lot of fresh perennials in the fall – especially the fall blooming varieties. We also have a wide selection of ornamental grasses – great for landscapes or containers.

Speaking of grasses, fall is the very best time to pay attention to your lawn. Not only do most lawns need a serious pick-me-up after the summer heat and dry spells, the warm fall soil encourages quick germination and cool air temperatures reduce stress.

A MUST READ: Watering Wisdom

With the lack of rain this season, our gardens (especially newly-planted shrubs, trees and perennials) can be at risk without proper watering. Here’s what you need to know:

When we talk about the importance of newly planted trees and shrubs becoming “established” in the garden, we are referring to the development of a healthy root system. This root system is the basis for the plant’s top growth and long term health. And water is the key ingredient in developing that root system.  For the first two years of its life in your garden, the tree and its roots are particularly sensitive to water deficits. As the tree matures, its roots reach deeper into the ground and are able to tap water sources there. 

New shrubs and trees will require supplemental watering throughout the first growing season, right up to the onset of winter, and again in the second growing season. Water needs to be applied in the form of a gentle and deep soaking, down to the bottom and around the entire circumference of the root ball. Importantly, plants will require this watering at least once a week, and oftentimes twice a week in order to prevent any part of the root system from drying out.  

How much water a plant needs depends on its size. A small shrub will need 2-3 gallons of water each time it is watered. A larger shrub, 3-5 gallons. A small tree will need 5-8 gallons.  Mid-sized and larger trees, correspondingly more.   

 

Water can be delivered in several different ways: 

  • A garden hose turned on at a slow trickle and set near the base of the tree or shrub should be moved around the tree so that the circumference is equally watered.  
  • If you enjoy the peace and quiet of the garden, holding a watering wand attached to the end of a hose is a pleasant and effective way to water plant material. Allow the water to form a large puddle under the first tree or shrub. Move to a second tree or shrub and form a puddle there. As you are working with the second tree or shrub, the first puddle will be soaking into the soil. Move back and forth between these trees and shrubs 3 or 4 times to ensure a deep soaking.  
  • Soaker hoses can be placed around the base of trees and shrubs in concentric circles to cover the root mass circumference, or wound in a serpentine pattern up and down a row of newly planted trees and shrubs. They can be set on a timer and left to run for several hours depending on the size of the plant material. 
  • Traditional sprinkler systems are intended for watering lawns or beds with annuals and perennials. They are not the best way to water new trees and shrubs because they do not allow for sufficiently deep watering. It is recommended that you supplement with any of the methods described above. It is worth noting that systems are available that utilize special drip lines and emitters that allow for longer watering cycles. 

 

Two watering strategies that will not serve your plants well: 

  • Watering frequently but lightly does not benefit the tree or shrub as it encourages root development at the surface, making the roots particularly vulnerable to drying out in times of water deficit.  
  • Keeping a plant in soaking wet conditions day after day will deplete the oxygen in the soil, not a good thing for any life form! Hence the need for deep watering followed by a period in which the soil is allowed to dry out.  

Even as night time temperatures cool and the grass is moist with dew in the morning, it is important to keep up your program of supplemental watering.  Scientific data indicates that plants need one inch of rainfall per week throughout their lifetime. While we can hope for a soaking rain every week, it is not something we can rely on, so it falls to us to be good stewards of our landscapes. 

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’.

Now in: Perennial Hibiscus

Even if you’ve never gardened before, you’ve probably heard the name Hibiscus. It’s the iconic flower of the tropics with its image splashed across Hawaiian print shirts and beach blankets everywhere. What many people don’t realize is that the name Hibiscus is used to describe many different kinds of flowers, some of which thrive in heat of the south and others which are hardy all the way north to Minnesota. Some types are grown as houseplants, while others are hardy perennials or shrubs. In this article, let’s look at perennial Hibiscus, commonly known as Rose Mallow. Look out for varieties in our stores throughout the season like:

Proven Winners Ballet Slippers
Proven Winners Berry Awesome
Brandy Punch
Cherry Coco Latte
Cinnamon Grappa
Proven Winners Cranberry Crush
Dark Mystery
Proven Winners Evening Rose
Proven Winners Holy Grail
Luna Red
Midnight Marvel
Peppermint Schnapps
Proven Winners Perfect Storm
Pinot Grigio
Proven Winners Starry Night
Summer Carnival
Summer in Paradise
*Please note supplies and selection will vary at each location

 

Water, water and more water
The most important thing rose mallow needs to survive is water, and lots of it. Some of the native species can actually grow IN water. Plant yours in a spot that can easily be watered on a regular basis. Whether your soil consists of clay, sand or something in between, do not let this plant wilt and dry out. You’ll know it is not getting enough water if it becomes scraggly looking and drops its lower leaves and flower buds.

Give me some elbow room
Rose mallow is a large perennial that takes up a lot of room. Even varieties that are considered “dwarf” grow at least three feet tall and wide, with standard-sized rose mallow growing 4-6 feet tall and wide. Find a place in your landscape where it will not be crowded by other plants, because it will quickly outcompete your other perennials for space.

Bring on the sun
The best place to plant a rose mallow is somewhere the sun shines all day long. It loves hot, humid, sunny weather and shows its best colors in full sun. You’ll have more flowers too. If your only option is a spot in part shade, rose mallow will grow there but fewer flowers will be produced and varieties with purple foliage will appear more green.

Video Look: What’s In Store June 12, 2020

We’re entering summer mode here at Mahoney’s! Our greenhouses are replenished with lush, foliage houseplants and beautiful annual color. Our perennial yards are in bloom with summer favorites and every store has a fantastic American Beauties Native Plants display so you can shop pollinator-friendly varieties! We’ve just received a shipment of summer-blooming Volcano Phlox, and fresh trees + shrubs for the weekend!