Choosing the Right Pottery for Your Home, Porch, or Yard

Pottery is an investment that can add interest to your home and show off your personal style no matter what plants you choose to put in them. But with so many styles and colors to choose from, deciding what’s right for you and your plants isn’t totally straightforward. We are here to help demystify the process with a few things to keep in mind when choosing a container for your home, porch, or yard.

Size Matters.

When it comes to pottery, size is a major factor both for your budget and for the health of the plants you place in your pots. You may be tempted to go big so that you never have to re-pot but be careful! When plants are planted into containers significantly larger than their nursery pots the root system is not robust enough to absorb all the water in the soil and that can lead to root rot. A good rule of thumb when transplanting into a new container is that the diameter of the new pot should only be about two inches wider than the plant’s current pot.

If you fall in love with a decorative container that’s too large for your plant but you know that it will eventually grow into it you can slowly acclimate it to the larger pot using inexpensive grow pots that fit inside your decorative container or by using an Ups-A-Daisy, which will reduce the amount of soil you need in the pot until your plant’s root system is ready for more.

An Ups-A-Daisy can reduce the amount of soil needed to fill your pot!

 

On the flip side, you do not want to try to cram a plant in a six-inch diameter grow pot into another six-inch diameter decorative pot, particularly if the decorative pot has a tapered bottom. Never go smaller, your plants need room to grow.

 

Drainage and Airflow are Important.

You may have noticed that when you buy plants, they usually come in plastic containers with several drainage holes along the bottom. Air is every bit as important to a healthy root system as water. Roots cannot breathe when the soil is sopping wet, all the air molecules get crowded out by water molecules. If you are planning to transplant directly into a decorative container, drainage holes are a must. It is even better if you can get air moving under your plant. Pot feet or Ups-A-Daisys are a terrific way to do this.

Pot feet create airflow under your container.

 

Some decorative indoor containers are manufactured without holes so that indoor surfaces are protected. These are called cache pots and it is best to leave your plants in their grow pots (with all those drainage holes) and pop the whole thing into the container. Check out the video below for how to use a cache pot!

 

 

Different Materials Meet Different Goals.

Now that we understand the basics of size, drainage, and airflow, it is time to choose a container made from materials that meet your specific needs.

Terra Cotta

A favorite of plants everywhere and a classic that is making its way back into chic and modern home design, terra cotta is a smart choice for even moisture distribution and healthy roots. Because terra cotta is porous, oxygen exchange is facilitated throughout the root system, not just at the bottom. Additionally, terra cotta absorbs excess moisture to prevent plant roots from staying soggy for too long. These days, terra cotta is available not just in the classic earthy orange but also in attractive “chocolate” and “vanilla” tones to seamlessly integrate into any color scheme.

Terra cotta is the hands down favorite of most plants.

Glazed Pottery

Speaking of color, nothing offers the variety of hues like glazed ceramic pottery. Additionally, you will find a broad selection of shapes and sizes and many of these pots are crafted to be frost resistant. However, keep in mind that frost-resistant does not mean it is freeze-proof. Water expands when it turns to ice so moisture in your planters can push a ceramic pot to the breaking point during a freeze. Raising your outdoor pots off the ground with pot feet can help create airflow that will melt the ice during warmer days. When in doubt, it is best to empty your ceramic pots and bring them into the garage after Christmas to protect your investment. A dolly is helpful for this!

Glazed pottery at Mahoney’s in Winchester.

Lightweight Fiber Clay

Great for indoors or out, lightweight fiber clay offers the gravitas of stone with the easy maneuverability of durable plastic. Fiber clay is freeze-tolerant, making it a good option for year-round use but keep in mind, using ice melt around them will corrode the finish. Keep them looking great by avoiding the base of the pot when using ice melt.

Lightweight fiber clay, also known as fiber cement.

Plastic

If you know you will be moving your pots around to suit your design choices or crops each season, plastic is another great and affordable choice. It’s ideal for container gardening with herbs, veggies, and annuals and available in several different colors and finishes. Do be sure to bring these inside for the winter. Plastic will easily crack if it gets too cold. Fortunately, this is easy to do since they are so lightweight!

Plastic pots are easy to stack, store, and move throughout the season.

Cedar Boxes

The ultimate choice for New England, cedar boxes are classic, beautiful, and easily withstand freezing temperatures. Cedar will naturally weather to a lovely beachy grey tone, but you can preserve the original wood color by staining with a protective finish or paint to suit your color palette. Be sure to treat inside and out to prolong the life of the wood and if you are using the container for edibles, finish with non-toxic linseed oil.

Cedar boxes are the most durable choice for year round use.

Specialty Pots

Certain plants will benefit from specialized pots to live their best life. These include orchids, which are epiphytes and like their roots to be extremely well-aerated. That’s why orchid pots have holes in the sides to provide sufficient air circulation! On the other hand, African violets and ferns like to stay consistently moist and self-watering pots are great for this purpose.

The terra cotta inner pot wicks moisture up to the plant from the decorative reservoir!

 

 

 

 

 

Now in bud and bloom: Lilacs

 

SHOP LILACS ONLINE NOW

 

The fragrance of lilac is often associated with feelings of “home” or other pleasant memories. We seem able to remember the fragrance even decades later. The clusters of fragrant flowers that adorn the lilac bush in mid to late spring mean that summer is just around the corner.  

Lilac is easily grown in well-drained soil. It will bloom its best in full sun conditions. Choose a location that allows for good air circulation to minimize the potential for mildew on the leaves. Prompt removal of faded flower panicles will help increase the bloom count for the following year. This is also the best time to prune to control the size of the plant, if that is necessary. Pruning is best done by the first week in July. After this time, the plant will be setting next year’s flower buds and pruning will sacrifice next year’s flower show. 

Planting a lilac near the house means that the heady fragrance can waft through open windows. Planted as a hedge, they make an effective, not to mention fragrant, screen. As part of a mixed border planting, they mix beautifully with roses and peonies.  

As a cut flower, they are a delight. Fill a vase with cool water. Using a sharp pair of hand pruners, cut when the lilac panicle (the entire cluster of flowers) is one-quarter to one-half open. Use your pruners to split the stem a couple of inches up the center to allow the stem to take up water. It is not necessary to crush the stem. Crushing the stem will not help the lilac take up water.   

 

Syringa meyeri Palabin 

Also known as Dwarf Korean Lilac, ‘Palabin’ is smaller, denser and more rounded in its habit than traditional lilacs. It typically grows 4’-5’ feet tall and 5’-7’ wide, making it suitable for small gardens. It has very fragrant purple flowers. They are arranged in 4” clusters that are perfectly scaled to the shrub. This variety is particularly resistant to powdery mildew.  

 

Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’ 

‘Miss Kim’ is a compact, upright variety which grows 4’-7′ tall with a similar spread. It has deep purple buds that open to reveal clusters of 3” long, highly fragrant, lavender blue flowers. The flowers bloom slightly later than other lilacs, extending that heavenly season of lilac fragrance. Leaves are very resistant to powdery mildew. They are burgundy tinged in the fall, adding to this shrub’s appeal.  

 

Syringa vulgaris ’Sensation’ 

‘Sensation’ is unusual in that its flowers are bi-colored. The clusters of blooms are composed of individual purple flowers, each edged in white. They are sweetly fragrant. The effect is charming. Rich green foliage is held on upright branches. In time it reaches a height of 10’-12’ and a width of 6’. ‘Sensation’ will be a sensation in your garden.  

 

Syringa vulgaris ‘Agincourt Beauty’

‘Agincourt Beauty’ has some of the largest flowers of any lilac. Deep violet in color and sweetly fragrant, the 6-12 inch flower clusters cover the shrub with bloom. The plant has an upright form, reaching a mature height of 8-15 ft.

 

Syringa vulgaris ‘New Age Lavender’

This lilac has lovely full-sized soft lavender flowers on a 5 ft by 5 ft shrub – half the size of traditional lilacs! If you have limited space but yearn for the traditional lilac fragrance, this may be the lilac for you. An added benefit is its resistance to mildew.

 

Syringa vulgaris ‘Krasavitsa Moskvy’

Syringa vulgaris ‘Krasavitsa Moskvy’ has pale pink buds that open to large, intensely fragrant double flowers in tones of white and blush pink. Growing 8-12 ft tall, this shrub makes a beautiful statement in the garden.

 

Reblooming Lilacs 

In recent years plant breeders have developed lilacs with the ability to rebloom. After the first flush of springtime bloom, these lilacs take a rest in the heat of summer before flowering again later in the summer and into the fall. The second bloom cycle is not as heavy as the first, but it is still showy. Pruning immediately after the spring bloom will create a fuller shrub with more branches and encourage more flowers. These lilacs display good mildew resistance. Their compact size allows them to fit into smaller landscapes and they make a nice addition to perennial beds, mixed borders and foundation plantings.  The Bloomerang series have large and fragrant flower clusters displayed on a dense and branching shrub which is perfectly sized for the small garden. 

 

Syringa xBloomerang Purple’ 

Clusters of lilac purple, sweetly scented flowers cover the branches in spring and continue off and on until frost. It grows 4’-5’ in height and width, making it suitable for small spaces. It is a nice addition to the mixed border and can be used to create a fragrant, low hedge. 

 

Syringa xBloomerang Dark Purple’ 

‘Bloomerang Dark Purple’ is slightly larger than others in the series, reaching 6’ in height and width. Its flower clusters are larger and more rounded in form. It has striking deep purple buds which open to classic deep lavender purple flowers. 

 

Syringa x hyacinthiflora ‘Declaration’  

Introduced by the U.S. National Arboretum, this outstanding cultivar has large, dramatic clusters of deep reddish-purple blooms that can be 8”-12” in length. It has the wonderful fragrance of the hyacinthiflora hybrids. Maturing at 6’-8’ tall and 5’-6’ wide, it is smaller than traditional lilacs, making it perfect for growing near a patio or in a mixed bed. 

 

Syringa x hyacinthiflora ‘Mount Baker’ 

Lilac ‘Mount Baker’

‘Mt. Baker’ has intensely fragrant white blossoms in spring. Growing 10’-12’ high and wide, it retains branches close to the ground, giving it a full appearance. The foliage has strong resistance to mildew and remains attractive over a long season.  

 

Syringa x hyacinthiflora ‘Purple Glory’ 

‘Purple Glory’ has luxuriant deep purple flowers that are wonderfully fragrant. There is a heavy bloom set even on young plants. New leaves will emerge in spring with a purple blue blush, and in fall these purple highlights return. Dense foliage fills branches low to the ground. Growing 12’ tall and 8’ wide, it makes an attractive specimen plant and can also be massed in a hedge or screen. 

 

Nine Shrubs to Prune in April

“Is this a good time to prune my…?” The question of when to prune is one we often hear. The confusion is understandable since some shrubs are best pruned in spring, others in summer, and still others prefer to be shorn in the fall.

Late winter or very early spring is the best time to prune shrubs that flower on “new wood” — the growth that forms in spring. Late March to mid-April is ideal. These shrubs form their flower buds in the spring and early summer, and bloom in the summer and into the fall.

Here are our favorite new wood bloomers who would love (and reward you handsomely) for a fresh spring haircut right now:

 

Butterfly Bush

Buddleia davidii
As you may have guessed from the name, these are pollinator favorites that offer lovely fragrant blooms late in the summer. To keep this shrub a manageable size, don’t be shy about pruning it to a height of 12-18 inches. Fortunately its branches are slender and easy to prune with hand-held pruners.

Buddleia

 

Bluebeard

Caryopteris spp.
These late summer bloomers will be covered in delicate looking blue flowers that draw butterflies, bees, beneficial insects, not to mention admiring comments from your neighbors. Like Buddleia, its branches are easy to cut and should be taken back to 12-18 inches. While this early spring pruning seems drastic, the plant will quickly flush new growth.

 

Rose of Sharon

Hibiscus syriacus
Rose of Sharon is valued for its late summer blooms that cover the shrub from top to bottom. However, if left unpruned, it will develop sturdy, but bare, upward growing branches and the flowers will be above eye level. An early spring pruning each year will keep the flowers where you can most enjoy them.

Hibiscus

 

Panicle Hydrangea (Limelight, Quick Fire, Bobo, Strawberry Sundae, etc.)

Hydrangea paniculata
These showstoppers have cone-shaped flowers that initially appear in white and cream tones before deepening to shades of pink and red. Once they reach maturity, this type of Hydrangea can be pruned to almost any height.

Panicle Hydrangea

 

St. John’s Wort

Hypericum perforatum
St. John’s Wart has been known for its medicinal benefits for hundreds of years. In our gardens, we love its yellow buttercup type flowers and red berries that we often use for holiday decorating. Pruning to a height of 12-18 inches and watch it rebound to a height of 3 feet!

 

Winterberry

Ilex verticillata
Winterberry is prized for its heavy showing of red berries that remain on the shrub well into winter before they are sweet enough to tempt the birds. This shrub is easily pruned to a size of your choosing.

 

Cinquefoil

Potentilla spp.
This collectible shrub offers a bright spot in the landscape with flowers in tones of yellow, pink, red or white. Its delicate leaves and gently spreading structure add to its appeal. Prune gently to keep it neat and tidy.

 

Roses

Rosa spp.
As our very own rosarian Jeannette likes to say, “when the forsythia blooms in New England, it’s time to prune your roses. Watch as Jeannette takes you through her tried and true techniques for early spring rose pruning.

 

Spirea

Spiraea spp.
With its brightly colored flowers, Golden elf is a steady performer and so easy to love for its easy care and longevity. Like Potentilla, it happily accepts pruning in early spring.

 

You might be saying what about Rhododendrons and Azaleas? And our beloved Lilac and Forsythia? Don’t worry about those just yet, they are best left alone in early spring. Fear not, we’ll be sharing some information about pruning these shrubs when the time is right (Hint: after they flower!)

 

For pruning techniques and best practices read our Spring Pruning Basics for New England blog!

 

 

Now Blooming in the Nursery: Forsythia

Forsythia x intermedia ‘Lynwood Gold’

The bright yellow flowers of Forsythia are a sure sign that winter is behind us. Long a staple in gardens throughout New England, we sometimes take these familiar stalwarts for granted. But here is a variety that will inspire you to renew your acquaintance with this useful shrub.

Forsythia ‘Lynwood Gold’ offers the largest flowers of any Forsythia, creating a spectacular display. It has deep golden yellow flowers which literally cover the branches with bloom. The effect is stunning. The foliage emerges after the flowers fade and in autumn, the leaves turn a lovely butter yellow.

Upright in its growth habit, ‘Lynwood Gold’ will grow 6’-8’ in height and a similar width. It is easily pruned to maintain a desired size; however, pruning should be done immediately after flowering as flower buds for next spring will form during this summer. A mid-summer or fall pruning will remove next year’s flower show.

Forsythia performs best in full sun. It can be grown as a specimen plant or planted in a row to create an attractive deciduous hedge. And who can resist cutting a few branches of Forsythia as the blooms begin to open and bringing them indoors for a beautiful spring bouquet!

How-To: Pruning Your Roses

 

When the forsythia blooms, it’s time to prune your roses! Our very own rose expert, Jeanette, loves roses and loves to show what she knows about them. Join us as Jeanette takes us step by step through her guide to pruning roses in early Spring. Note: the roses featured are Hybrid Tea roses that will benefit from a prophylactic dose of fungicide or neem oil after pruning. Other varieties are such as Knock Out Roses or David Austin are less susceptible to such issues and you can skip that step with those!

Growing Citrus in New England – don’t be afraid to try!

When we think of citrus in the US most of us call to mind the warm and sunny climates in Florida and California where oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and kumquats can flourish outdoors. But even in New England, where our winters are not exactly conducive to growing tropical plants, we can get creative and enjoy fragrant citrus blossoms, gorgeous glossy foliage, and homegrown vitamin C! 

 So, if you’re a Bay Stater looking to enjoy your very own oranges or fresher than fresh lemonade, we’re here to help! Here are a few things to keep in mind when growing citrus in Massachusetts:

 

Location, location, location.  

Citrus plants are hardy in zones 8, 9, and 10 and won’t survive winters outdoors here in zone 6 so it’s important that you ensure your citrus plants have a winter residence inside your house as well as a summer home outdoors. Offer at least a few hours of direct sunlight each day all year round. What does “direct sunlight” mean indoors? Placing your citrus plant within 3-4 feet of a South-facing window with unobstructed light (be sure to check for interfering shade trees or overhangs outside) is ideal. South-facing windows offer the greatest amount of light throughout the day. A close second when it comes to bright indoor light is western exposure where you get a few hours of strong afternoon sun each day. 

 

How can you tell which direction your windows face?  

  1. pay attention to where the sun rises and sets in relation to your home (the sun rises in the east and sets in the west) 
  2. locate your home on GPS to find the cardinal direction your home faces.
  3. Use a compass, simple but highly effective. 

No south-facing windows? You may still be able to give citrus a go! Try out a grow light or start with a very small citrus plant and you may be able to help it adapt to lower light conditions! 

 

Tips for relocating your citrus when the time comes: 

  1. Choose a smaller variety that’s easier to move. Good choices include tangerines, ponderosa or Meyer lemons, and Satsuma or Calamondin oranges.
  2. If you want to use a larger variety, consider adding a plant dolly on casters to make it easy to roll in and out of the house.
  3. Remember that when you bring your citrus outside for the summer it will need to gradually acclimate to full sun. Start by placing the tree in a semi-shady location and move it little by little into full sun over two weeks.  

 

Temperature 

Citrus plants say brrrrrr when temperatures dip below 50 degrees at night. Watch the weather for a clue as to the best time of year to bring your plants indoors. Indoors, citrus plants are happiest when they are kept in temps between 65 and 70 during the day and 55 to 60 at night.  

 

Water

Citrus plants will be happiest if soil is evenly moist but not too wet. A moisture meter is something to consider when growing citrus. During the summer when your container is outdoors in full sun, give a thorough watering twice each week. Use a watering wand or watering can to separate the stream and mimic rain and water the entire surface area of the soil until you see a little water dribble out of the drainage holes. In winter, you’ll water less but you may want to consider using a humidifier to mitigate the dry indoor air. Check out our winter watering guide for more tips! 

Avoid putting your citrus plants in the same room as a wood-burning stove. This may create conditions that are far too dry for healthy citrus to thrive. 

 

Pollinating

Citrus flowers need to be pollinated to set fruit, and the most important pollinators for citrus trees are bees! So, if you want fruit you’ll need to ensure that your citrus plants spend the warm months in their summer home for plenty of playtime with their winged buzzing friends.  

If your citrus plant sets flowers during the winter months, you’ll need to manually pollinate with a paintbrush or Q-Tip. This is easy enough to do. Gently brush the pollen-covered anthers with a paintbrush and then touch your brush to the stigma in the center of the flower. Check out this video to see how easy it is! 

 

Fertilizing.  

Citrus plants are heavy micro-nutrient feeders and require a special diet to stay healthy. We recommend fertilizing with True Organic Citrus and Avocado Food or Espoma Citrus Tone every 3-4 weeks during the growing season (March – August). Avoid feeding your plant during the winter months, this is the time to avoid encouraging new growth. Let them rest. 

 

Pest management.  

Like all fragrant plants, citrus has a habit of attracting unwanted pests. To mitigate this, give your plants a good shower with a hose before bringing them inside for the winter. Let them dry then spray all the foliage and stems with Captain Jack’s Citrus, Fruit, and Nut Orchard Concentrate or neem oil.  

Growing tropical plants outside the tropics isn’t easy but it’s oh so satisfying. Remember to be patient with yourself and with your plants…when it comes to plant cultivation, there is no such thing as a green thumb or a black thumb. It’s the patient, inquisitive thumb that will find the greatest rewards.

For more information, download our printable Citrus Care Guide!

 

 

 

  

NOW BLOOMING IN THE NURSERY: ANDROMEDA

Pieris (Andromeda) 

One of the earliest shrubs to bloom in the spring, Pieris offers an elegant flower form that merits close inspection. Individual flowers may remind you of lily of the valley, but rather than one individual flower, they are grouped in large clusters that hang down from the tiered branches, each cluster up to 6” long. Often fragrant, they shimmer in the early spring landscape. Flowers may be white, pink or deep rose, depending on the variety. 

Native to the mountain regions of the Far East, Pieris japonica is wonderfully hardy in our area. It is a shrub with four seasons of interest. Glossy dark green leaves remain evergreen all year and for that reason alone, it merits inclusion in our gardens. But there is an added foliar element – new leaves emerge as the flowering cycle is coming to an end and are bronze to red in color. The contrast is eye-catching.  As the colorful new leaves turn dark green, buds for next year’s flowers are forming. The buds are bead-like and showy, rather like having jewelry on your shrub! The buds’ summer show continues throughout the winter, adding interest and contrast to the evergreen foliage.  

Pieris are excellent companions for Rhododendrons and Azaleas as they grow in similar conditions. They are ideal for use in foundation plantings, woodland edges and mixed borders. We are perhaps most familiar with the 3’-5’ tall, mid-sized varieties but there are excellent low growing varieties for the front of the border, and even dwarf varieties under 2’ tall which can be grown in containers. Versatile, they will grow in light conditions ranging from sun to partial shade to full shade. If grown in full sun, they will be happiest with some afternoon shade. And no matter the light conditions, they do appreciate protection from the drying effects of winter winds and sun. They like the acidic nature of our New England soils, and to look their best, they prefer that soil to be rich in organic matter.  

Deer resistant, they are also a favorite and important food source for our native pollinator, the mason bee. Here are varieties to consider for your landscape. 

 

Pieris japonica ‘Compacta’ 

As the name suggests, this variety is somewhat smaller than traditional varieties of Andromeda. It grows to a height of 4’. As well, the leaves are slightly smaller than traditional varieties. It flowers heavily with trusses of white, bell-like flowers that are lightly fragrant. After the flowers fade, new foliage emerges and is flushed with red-bronze tones. As this new foliage matures it becomes a lovely shiny, deep green.  

 

Pieris japonica ‘Dorothy Wycoff’ 

‘Dorothy Wycoff’ is a beautiful variety, admired for its year round interest. It features dark red winter flower buds which open to reveal white flowers with a soft pink tone. The foliage is glossy and dark green in summer, turning mahogany-red in winter. This shrub will reach a height of 5’ in 10 years.  

 

Pieris japonica ‘Karenoma 

‘Karenoma’ has all the virtues associated with Andromedas – showy flower buds that open to elegant, upright trusses of fragrant, white flowers, new foliage which has bronze-red tones, and glossy leaves that remain through the winter. But this variety has an added virtue –it is a particularly hardy variety.  Growing to a height of 4’-5’ and a similar width, ‘Karenoma’  is perfect for the home landscape.  

 

Pieris japonica ‘Katsura’ 

‘Katsura’ is a lovely plant with arching trusses of rich rose- pink, bell-shaped flowers that appear in early spring. A distinguishing feature of this variety is that new foliage emerges not just in spring, but into summer, offering a particularly long season to enjoy the dramatic, glossy, wine-red color of new growth. In 10 years, ‘Katsura’ will reach a height of 5’ and a similar width.  

 

Pieris japonica ‘Little Heath’ 

‘Little Heath’, as the name suggests, is smaller than many Andromedas, growing 2’-3’ high and wide at maturity. Pendulous white bell-shaped flowers appear in early spring. Unusual for Andromeda, ‘Little Heath’ has variegated foliage – each leaf is outlined in cream. New foliage emerges with bronze- red colored tones. It performs well in the ground and is also suitable for container planting. 

 

Pieris japonica ‘Mountain Fire’ 

‘Mountain Fire’ is a showy and dramatic Andromeda, noted for its spectacular brilliant red new growth which remains on display for several weeks. No muted bronze tones for this variety. ‘Mountain Fire’ has lovely clusters of fragrant white flowers. It will grow slowly to a height of 6’ and a similar width.  

 

Pieris japonica ‘Red Mill’ 

‘Red Mill’ is noted for the fiery red color of its newly emerging foliage. Leaves mature to a rich dark green. Large clusters of white flowers appear in early spring and are particularly long lasting on this variety. ‘Red Mill’ grows to a height of 4’-6’. 

 

Pieris japonica ‘Scarlet O’Hara’ 

Another Andromeda with lovely bronze-red new growth, ‘Scarlet O’Hara’ is notable for its relatively early and profuse bloom. Clusters of pink buds open to fragrant white flowers. Leaves mature to glossy dark green on lovely red stems. More narrow than many Andromeda, ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ will grow to a height of 6’-8’ and a width of 4’-6’ in 10 years.  

 

Pieris japonica ‘Valley Valentine’ 

‘Valley Valentine’ has much to commend it. It has beautiful, deep red flower buds that open to deep pink blooms. The newly emergent foliage has an attractive, bronzy tint before maturing to glossy green in the summer. Winter brings bronze-red tones to the foliage. It grows slowly, reaching a height of 5’-6’ in 10 years.  

 

Pieris japonica var. yakushimanum ‘Cavatine 

This hardy, slow growing Andromeda is increasingly popular. It has small leaves and grows as a dense, compact mound only 2’ tall and a bit wider in 10 years. Trusses of white flowers open slightly later in spring than other varieties and are particularly fragrant and long lasting. This variety is well suited to the smaller garden. It can be used in a foundation planting or mixed border, and is particularly attractive when used to line a walkway. 

 

Pieris japonica var. yakushimanum ‘Prelude’  

‘Prelude’ is similar to ‘Cavatine’ with the same low, mounding shape. Flower buds are pink, opening to long lasting, delicate white blooms. Emerging foliage has a pinkish tint before maturing to rich dark green.  

 

Pieris x ‘Brouwers Beauty’ 

Developed in Connecticut, ‘Brouwer’s Beauty’ is a cross between Pieris japonica and our native Pieris floribunda. The result is a beautiful shrub with purple-red winter buds which open to an abundant display of slightly fragrant white, bell-shaped flowers that are upright and slightly arching. New spring foliage is yellow-green, maturing to shiny dark green in summer and bronze in winter. The rich winter foliage complements the deep red flower buds, creating winter interest in the garden. Very hardy, it is slow growing, forming a dense shrub 5’-6’ tall and 3’-4’ wide in 10 years. This variety was a Cary Award winter in 2000, signifying its outstanding garden performance in our region.  

 

Dwarf Pieris 

While we tend to think of Andromeda as a medium sized shrub, there are several dwarf varieties which feature a compact, mounded form no more than 2’ tall and wide in 10 years. The leaves and flowers are proportionally reduced in size and appropriately scaled to the plant.  Dwarf Pieris varieties are a great option for the smaller landscape or rock gardens.  

 

 Pieris japonica ‘Bisbee Dwarf’ 

‘Bisbee Dwarf’ is a slow growing variety with small white flowers panicles that are plentiful and fragrant. Newly emergent leaves are reddish in color before maturing to a glossy dark green. This variety has a Massachusetts connection as it was introduced by Horatio Bisbee of Ware. 

 

Pieris japonica ‘Bonsai’ 

‘Bonsai’ has tiny, one inch, round, dark green leaves and a dense, upright growth habit. Panicles of white bell flowers are in perfect scale. And yes, it is perfect for bonsai! 

 

Pieris japonica ‘Pygmaea 

‘Pygmaea’ is a very unusual Andromeda. It has delicate 1” long, narrow leaves that give a feathery texture to the garden. Its growth habit is fairly upright. Extremely slow growing, it is suitable for containers, rock gardens or a small landscape. White flowers appear in spring.   

Sprucing Up for Spring

Looking for some inspiration to dress up the house this weekend? See how Julia spruced up the front of our Winchester store with our locally-grown, cold-tolerant spring bulbs and pansies.

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.