Video Look: What’s In Store December 6, 2019

The countdown to Christmas is on! This week we’re filled to the brim with all you need to make your home feel like the holidays. Ornaments and decor to trim the tree, festive lighting, our farm-fresh Christmas trees + wreaths, plus beautiful holiday plants from the greenhouse!

Choosing The Right Ice Melt

When the winter season comes knocking on your door, you have to find a way to safely get rid of that snow and ice on your driveway and walkways around your house. One of the most effective options is an ice melting product. But which one? There are hundreds of different ice melt products on the market today, all claiming a unique blend of ingredients to melt that pesky ice away more effectively. So which product is right for you?

For those looking to save money, pure rock salt (sodium chloride) will provide effective results at a fraction of the cost.  This solution will work when the temperature remains above 20 degrees which, in New England, means it’s only effective in November when temperatures hover around 30 degrees.

When temperatures begin to dip below 25 degrees, we recommend a calcium chloride based ice melt. This particular blend will melt nearly three times more ice and snow than traditional sodium blends without the harsh effects on your lawn or driveway. Calcium chloride based blends are more effective and are a safer alternative for you plants and concrete walkways.

Have pets or small children? We recommend a magnesium chloride blend which offers effective ice melting while protecting your pets and children. This pet-friendly blend will work when temperatures drop below 15 degrees without damaging your award-winning roses. Your pets and plants will thank you for using a magnesium based blend.

As with all chemical products, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on use and keep unused ice melt away from pets and children—even the pet-friendly blends. Before applying any ice melt product, be sure to remove as much snow as possible from the applied area.

So whatever your ice melt needs may be, Mahoney’s won’t leave you out in the cold.  Stop by Mahoney’s and a team member will help you choose which product is right for you.

Spotlight: Cluster Lights

Cluster lights are an abundance of densely packed mini LED lights that make a statement. Use indoors or out on trees and shrubs, around windows, or in garlands for incredible brilliance. With a minimum life of 50,000 burning hours and unbreakable bulbs, these efficient lights remain cool to the touch and save on energy costs. Available in 8 different functions for fades, twinkles and flashes.

Video Inspiration: A Fall Container with Texture

Looking for something unique and different for your planters? We’re loving the subtle color and textures of heather, cabbage and false holly. Add a pop of color with celosia and gaultheria for a fun contrast and a mini pumpkin for extra whimsy! Potted up in a classic terra cotta planter, this look will take you straight through the fall season. Stop in to shop our collection of specialty fall plants unlike anything else!

SEEDING YOUR LAWN

a message from uncle mike

When you think lawn care, spring may be the first thing that comes to mind, but the fact is now is the time to reinvigorate your lawn with new seed. I know there’s a lot of contradicting information out there about when exactly to seed- and it gets confusing about who to listen to or when to do what. Do I use a fertilizer, and if so what type? Can I do it organically? When is it too late to seed? All of these are good questions, so I wrote a check list for you to simplify the process.

 

SOIL PREP

Now’s the best time to prep your soil. Loosen your soil on the top inch or so and get the grade you want. It’s also a great time to add more top-soil or compost if needed. The better your soil is, the healthier your lawn will be.

 

So, how much soil do you need? Well that depends on your conditions. Keep in mind here that your turf success is really just a result of your soil quality. The stronger your root system is in deep, healthy soil- the better your new seed will perform. I put down up to 10 inches of compost and loam when I redid my back yard and it shows in times of summer drought. This summer, my lawn stayed green while others dried out. It is deeply rooted and healthy enough to withstand stressful conditions. Use a quality top soil or compost to amend your existing conditions. If your soil is of good quality, just till and loosen the top couple inches and rake out a good grade.

One other great product that I always recommend is Jonathan Green’s, Love Your Soil. It’s a cool organic product that stimulates microbes in the soil and helps to loosen heavy, hard packed soils, to release trapped nutrients. It’s a good preparation amendment so your soil can better stimulate root growth for your new seeding.

SOIL TEST

If there’s ever a time to test your soil- it’s now. Even if you are only testing the pH. You can get an extensive test through our own lawn-care service, Safe Lawns, or the UMass Extension (for a fee). Or you can do a basic, at-home test yourself.

The soil test will tell you your lawns pH, nutrients and soil structure. I find the most important right now is to test pH levels. You see, if your soil has a low pH– your fertilizers won’t work as well. The best way to explain this is if your soil is too acidic you can’t derive the iron and magnesium naturally occurring in your soil so your lawn will never get to that dark green color everyone wants. To adjust your pH into the desired neutral area, add Jonathan Green’s MAGI-I-CAL or lime.

SEED

Now you want to add the seed. Make sure you pick a seed that’s good for your sun requirements and make sure you have a good quality seed.

Your grass seed is more important than most people think. Cheap grass seed is just that, cheap and we can’t in good faith carry it. You see, varieties of grass seed get old and are replaced as better seeds become available. This makes the older seed cheaper than the newer, better performing ones. Another way to get cheap seed is to add annual blue grass to the mix. Annual blue grass is an inexpensive filler, but it doesn’t come back the next year making it a turf that comes up well initially, but then your lawn comes in very thin next spring. Cheap grass seed is like a cheap beer only that headache you get is going to last for years.

 
It’s also important to pick the right seed for your sun requirements. You don’t want to take a full sun blend and put it in the heavy shade areas. Use the right seed for the right sun. Jonathan Greens dense shade will do great under those trees down to about 3 hours of sun. Don’t forget grass seed does need about 3 hrs of sun to grow or it will just slowly fade away. Sometimes shrubs and perennials do better for those heavy shade areas.

Fertilizer

Yes fertilizer. It makes a huge difference and it seems like everyone wants to either skip this step or add it later. Whether organic or synthetic, add fertilizer when you seed.

Fertilizers are meant to release phosphorus into the soil at time of germination and then add nitrogen in a slow release fashion thereafter to continue feeding. Don’t mix seed and fertilizer. It doesn’t matter which one goes first or second but add one and then put the other down and water.

 

 

WATER

The rest is up to you! Be sure to keep your new seed evenly moist in the beginning because if you let grass seed dry out too much, it may prolong the germination or even worse– kill the seed during germination. This first week is very important, after that you can back down to a deep water every 2- 4 days depending on the weather forecast.

Why seed now?

I know there’s a lot of contradiction on when is the best time to seed, the fact is you can seed anytime you want to or when you may have to. Spring and fall are often seen as a good times because they typically have lots of natural rainfall and cooler temps, but as long as you can keep the seed moist– you can seed whenever you want.

Just remember a few things when seeding. Any crabgrass preventers or other herbicides may prevent the grass seed from germinating in early spring. Sometimes seeding too late results in an inability to get the seed to germinate, also called dormant seeding. This is when you throw seed down without expecting it to germinate until spring. Most people have pretty good results doing it this way and you get germination first thing in the spring. However, we often suggest you seed in early fall or even late summer because you can take advantage of warm soil temps coming out of summer and there’s still plenty of time to get good germination and even a mowing or two to harden off the grass for winter.

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.

 

Now in: Hardy Hibiscus

You may hear of ‘hibiscus’ often in the home and yard, but it’s important to recognize that hibiscus is a large genus that covers shrubs, perennials and tropical plants. At the end of a hot New England Summer, the hardy perennial hibiscus begins to emerge in the garden.  Not to be confused with its tropical cousins, the perennial hibiscus has a beautiful show of blooms in late-summer only, coming back year after year. It differs from it’s shrub counterpart- Rose of Sharon that blooms around the same time, but with smaller flowers. With bigger blooms  up to 12″ across, the perennial hibiscus stuns in the home landscape unlike anything else. With many hardy to zone 4, they are a must-have in every perennial landscape.

 

Hardy hibiscus are-not difficult to grow, all they ask for is full sun and decent soil. They are slow to start out each year, many often think they did not survive the winter as they die-back to the ground every year. They show growth in late spring by pushing up new stems from beneath the soil. In a few weeks you’ll have attractive foliage and following soon after:  a summer full of gorgeous, tropical-looking blooms. Here are some of our new introductions this season:

 

Bleu Brulee Hibiscus

3’w x 3’h | Zone 5

Bleu Brulee is a new introduction and part of the multi-award- winning Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus collection. This hibiscus has large flowers of smoky-steel blue with red centers. It has a natural, well-kept, compact habit with dark green foliage and flowers that bloom until the first frost.

 

Blue River II

3’w x 5’h | Zone 4

Pure white gigantic blooms will amaze and illuminate the garden at night. Stunning blue-green foliage is a lovely contrast with the snow- white blooms. By the way, the name is in honor of the Blue River in Oklahoma where the hybridizer found one of the native species used in his crosses. This is an older variety, but the pristine white flowers are a must.

Grape Sorbet

3’w x 3’h | Zone 5

This is another new introduction in the Summer Spice collection. Compact dark green foliage that is covered with ruffled blooms until the first frost. The flowers have overlapping petals of grape-blue that graduate to a red center. A truly tropical look!

Summer Bloomers

There are many ways to keep color in the garden even after the glorious days and exuberant flowering display of June. Like late-blooming teenagers, there are plants that come into their own after others have made their statement. They extend the joy of being in the garden into July, August and September, offering color and texture. And many late season bloomers are also magnets for pollinators such as butterflies and bees. Here are some perennials and shrubs that are worthy garden contributors later in the season.

 

PERENNIALS

Anemone hupehensis (Wandflower): The flowers of this perennial are suspended well above a tidy mound of rich green foliage. They wave in the wind and when backlit by the sun, make a beautiful scene. ‘September Charm’ has rose-pink flowers with yellow centers. ‘Honorine Jobert’ has ethereal white flowers.

Aster divaricatus (Wood Aster): The delicate, airy clouds of wood aster begin to bloom in late summer. Small, daisy-like flowers with yellow to red centers are carried above dark green to black stems. It grows 1.5-2.5’ tall in filtered to full shade. It is available in white, pink or purple varieties. Native to the open woods of the eastern United States, it is attractive to butterflies.

Aster novae-angliae (New England Aster): The rich colors of this aster range from blue-purple to lavender-pink, with yellow-orange centers. The blooms are large and showy. They provide a critical fall nectar source for pollinators, especially Monarch butterflies as they stock up for their fall migration to Mexico.

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Blue Plumbago): This is a beautiful spreading, low-growing groundcover that reaches just 8-12” in height. What a treat when deep blue flowers appear in late summer! And as fall approaches, its shiny green foliage turns a beautiful bronze-red color.

^^ Coreopsis grandiflora (Large Flowered Tickseed): Count on any of the Coreopsis varieties to provide warm yellow tones to the garden. There are many varieties available, all offering daisy-like flowers. They are deer resistant and attractive to pollinators. They offer a long period of bloom, beginning in midsummer and extending into the fall.

Coreopsis verticillata (Thread Leaf Coreopsis): This type of coreopsis has delicate leaves and stems and bears loads of flowers. Many varieties are available. ‘Moonbeam’ has flowers the color of chilled butter. ‘Mercury Rising’ has velvety red flowers with a bright yellow center.

^^ Echinacea (Coneflower): One of the most iconic plants in a late summer New England garden is the purple coneflower with its showy 5” daisy-like pink flowers. It blooms throughout summer on upright stems and typically grows 2-4′ tall. If left standing into the winter, the cones in the center of the flowers will be a food source for birds. Plant breeders now offer us additional color and size choices like yellow and white.

Eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed): Native to the eastern United States, this plant makes a statement in the garden. Its reddish purple flowers form large, showy heads on 5-6 foot, wine-colored stems. Flowering begins in late August, but the stems and buds are ornamental well before then. Butterflies love it.

^^ Geranium ‘Rozanne’: This hardy geranium was named Perennial Plant of the Year in 2008 – and for good reason. It is one of the longest blooming perennials. It has violet-blue flowers with a white eye that begin blooming in early June and continue without deadheading until the end of October. The foliage turns a lovely shade of bronze-red in the fall. Growing 18” tall and 2’-3’ wide, it provides color, texture and mass to a garden bed or foundation planting.

^^ Hemerocallis (Daylilly): There is nothing easier to grow than a daylily. It comes back faithfully every year with gently arching long blades of foliage. In July and August its flowers stand proudly above the foliage. And those flowers are available in a range of colors – yellow, peach, pink, red – with a central eye of contrasting color. There are single flowers, double flowers, and even some flowers whose petals have ruffled edges. A mature clump is a handsome sight.

^^ Heuchera and Heucherella: These plants are wonderful colorful additions to a shady area. While they have tiny bell-shaped flowers on wand-like stems, they are more often grown for the season-long color of their leaves. They come in varieties with unusual foliage colors ranging from yellow to caramel to raspberry red to purple and almost black. They are clump forming plants that thrive in partly sunny to shady situations. They enjoy soil that is rich in organic matter.

^^ Monarda (Beebalm): Monarda is a long-time favorite in the perennial border. Plant breeders have introduced many new varieties that offer new colors, sizes and improved mildew resistance. Plants have sturdy stems and with time will create a nice mass in the perennial border. Showy flowers are complex in their structure and attract all manner of pollinators. And did we mention it is deer resistant?

^^ Ornamental Grasses: This large family of beautiful perennial plants adds texture, color and movement to the garden. They also provide interest in the fall and winter landscape, especially when backlit by morning or afternoon sun. When the flowers of summer are only a memory, you’ll find delight looking out on frosted ornamental grass spikes in the early light of a cold winter’s day. Cut back to the ground in early spring.

^^Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage): This is a lovely shrubby, aromatic perennial with finely dissected silver-green leaves. Interestingly, the plant’s stems are square. It becomes even more interesting in late summer through autumn when tubular pale blue flowers open. When planted in full sun its stems have a nice, upright posture and grow to a height of 3-4’. New varieties are available that have a more compact habit, growing to 2’ in height. Cut the plant back almost to the ground in late winter or very early spring. The whole effect is of a delicate, airy plant that complements everything around it. Perovskia atriplicifolia was named Perennial Plant of the Year in 1995.

^^ Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox): This upright perennial is a classic in the perennial border. It grows in a clump 2-4’ tall and 2’ wide. Its pointed green leaves are held on sturdy, upright stems. But the reason it is so beloved has to do with its fragrant, densely packed, tiered flower clusters that hold court from July into September. A large number of varieties are available in colors including, white, lavender, pink and red, and today’s varieties are resistant to powdery mildew which troubled older varieties. ‘David’ is a beautiful white variety which glows in the evening light. ‘Bright Eyes’ has lovely pink flowers with a ruby colored center. While you are enjoying the flowers, don’t be surprised to see the butterflies and even hummingbirds doing so as well!

^^ Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant): You may be familiar with the lavender flowers of Physostegia virginiana. While it may have a tendency to grow beyond its bounds, ‘Miss Manners’ forms a clump of well-behaved deep green foliage topped with fresh white flowers. It grows to a height of 18-24” and a similar spread. It adds a crisp and refreshing late-season element to the perennial border.

^^ Rudbeckia fulgida (Black Eyed Susan): One of the most frequently planted Rudbeckia is a variety called ‘Goldsturm’. It has showy dark golden-yellow flowers with black centers, and bloooms from July into mid-October. Growing 24” tall, it tolerates a wide range of conditions and if happy, will multiply readily. It was named Perennial Plant of the Year in 1999. It happens to be a favorite of goldfinches who love its seeds.

Rudbeckia nitida ‘Herbstsonne’: This is a taller growing Rudbeckia that looks fabulous at the back of the perennial border. Slender branching stems hold bright green, toothed leaves. It has bright yellow daisylike flower petals that bend down from a large green cone. Despite its height of 4-6’, it needs no staking. If left to stand for the winter, it is a good food source for birds.

^^ Sedum (Stonecrop): Whether in groundcover form or taller upright versions, every garden should have some Sedum. Perhaps most familiar is the 24” tall ‘Autumn Joy’ with its blue-green foliage and large heads of delicate bright-pink flowers that age into a beautiful copper color as fall approaches. Similar varieties include ‘Brilliant’ which has hot pink flowers, and ‘Autumn Fire’ whose flowers deepen to bronze-red. These easy and reliable plants pair well with ornamental grasses, asters and many other perennials. Also of great use in the landscape are low growing sedums which can serve as decorative ground covers, and fill crevices in rock walls or spaces between stones in a pathway. Their leaves come in a variety of colors and shapes, and their flowers are often vivid tones of yellow, pink or red.

SHRUBS

^^ Buddleia (Butterfly Bush): The colorful and fragrant flowers attract flocks of butterflies and hummingbirds. But fortunately, not deer! Arching branches bear long panicles of sweet smelling flowers in late summer. Pink, white, or purple flowered varieties are available. Whether you choose a variety that will grow 5 or more feet tall, or a more compact variety, these shrubs should be pruned back hard in spring.

Caryopteris (Bluebeard or Blue Mist): This small shrub is adored by butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects. The entire plant will quiver with their activity! The feathery blue flower clusters cover the plant in late summer and into the fall. Its silvery grey foliage is pleasantly aromatic when brushed by your hand. It should be hard pruned in early spring in order to encourage strong new growth. It will easily grow 2-3’ high in a season.

Clethra alnifolia (Summersweet): One of our native shrubs, Clethra is prized for its fragrant late summer flowers (hence its common name, Summersweet) and glossy green foliage which turns a beautiful yellow in the fall. A magnet for butterflies, it grows in full sun or part shade and will tolerate a damp site. ‘Ruby Spice’ grows 4-6’ in height and has deep reddish-pink flowers. ‘Hummingbird’ has a more dwarf, mounded habit. It grows to 3’ in height and bears white flowers.

Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon): It is hard to resist the brightly colored, exotic looking flowers of this hardy, deer resistant shrub. Flowers can be single or double and come in white, pink or blue-purple colors. Most varieties grow 8-10’ tall and 6’ wide, but can be pruned in early spring to control size and shape. Some varieties are also available in tree form.

^^ Hydrangea: No garden is complete without Hydrangea. Whether you choose Hydrangea macrophylla with its beautiful blue mop head flowers or its lace cap varieties; Hydrangea paniculata with its color changing cone-shaped flowers; Hydrangea arborescens with its shade-loving white mop head flowers; or Hydrangea serrata whose classic lace cap flowers have showy sterile florets forming an outer ring around the center of tiny fertile florets, you will be grateful for their presence in your garden.

Hypericum (St. John’s Wort): Another deer resistant shrub, Hypericum is a mounding shrub with bluegreen foliage. Growing to 3’ in height and spread, it has bright, golden yellow flowers in midsummer that are loved by butterflies. Flowers are followed by rich red berries that are often used in autumn floral arrangements. It grows in full sun to part shade.

Itea (Sweetspire): This is a lovely deer resistant native shrub that produces loads of long, white flowers that remain attractive through late summer. It is a compact, rounded shrub with gently arching branches. Its bright green leaves have wonderful fall color, turning shades of orange and red. ‘Henry’s Garnet’ grows 4’ tall while ‘Little Henry’ grows just 3’ tall.

50% Off Decorative Garden Stakes

Add some whimsy to your garden with our decorative garden stakes. Check out our hummingbirds, butterflies and more – many in a solar option for a nighttime glow. Sorry, not available at Mahoney’s Brighton