Volume 6, May/June 2016
Hello Everyone!

It's been a busy spring at Pumpkin Brook.  Weird weather had us gardening on and off for a while.  We missed the stellar bloom of many magnolias, forsythia and azaleas this year, as their swelling buds were nipped by several late cold snaps.  However, these plants are now leafing out and will store energy for next spring's show.  See the attached article from our colleague, Nick Novack, about the impact on fruit trees.

So now it's full steam ahead and the show is unfurling daily:  tree peonies, late bulbs, columbines and ferns are now in their glory.  Roses, herbaceous peonies, iris and all the June flowers are waiting in the wings.  I look forward to seeing you in the garden soon!
Thinking about Planting a New Rose Where the Old One Grew?  Read this First.....
If the old rose died over the winter, or you simply want a change of color or habit, it's tempting to just dig out the old and quickly plant the new!  However, be aware that the new rose planted in soil where another rose grew recently will languish and never thrive unless all the soil that surrounded the roots of the prior occupant
(and any remaining

'Ballerina' Rose
 roots) is removed and replaced.  Digging a hole 18" deep and wide is necessary.  This soil can be reused elsewhere in the garden.

Why go to all this trouble?  There is a condition known as "soil sickness" or specific replant disease.  Rose roots secrete a substance into the soil that stunts the growth of the successor rose no matter how much care is given.  

If you'd prefer not to replace all the soil, simply wait two years before replanting another rose in the same location as the old rose.
Hydrangea Pruning Notes
'Endless Summer' Hydrangea
Hydrangeas did not escape this spring's cold either.  We have been optimistic in our pruning and have left long canes on lacecap and older mophead varieties such as 'Nikko Blue.'  We hoped for leaf out as usual.  However, many of these varieties have blasted buds and are failing to leaf out on their canes.  Unfortunately, they will not bloom this season.  You may have noticed that we have pruned them to the ground on a subsequent visit.  New canes will now shoot up but will be just leaves this year.  We hope for a "normal" winter ahead and that flower buds will set for 2017.

There has been a lot of breeding activity in the hydrangea category in the past few years.  The 'Endless Summer' collection started with a Zone 5 hardy blue mophead that blooms on either old or new wood.  Pinks, whites and purples have been added.  So if you grow any hydrangea in this series, you can be assured that even if all canes need to be cut to the ground you will still have flowers in summer.

Please let Priscilla know if you would like to replace any of your older hydrangea varieties now.  Spring is the perfect time to plant these shrubs as they are slow to root.  Fall plantings are risky.
Watering Advice
Watering Wand
Please follow our watering instructions
Is your water turned on yet?  We have been surprised at several sites recently that none of the spigots were turned on for the season.  Then we had to purchase gallon jugs of water for your new plantings!  The threat of frost has just about passed, so please turn on your spigots and set out hoses.

If you have in-ground irrigation, please be sure this is running on a spring schedule.  At the Summer Solstice (June 21 this year), go ahead and adjust to a summer schedule to accommodate the hot weather that begins about this time.

If you are hand watering, our instructions for both spring and summer watering are attached.  This is very important to follow for any plant installed within the past three years.
Winter Moth Woes
Winter Moth Damage
Some of our towns such as Concord, Carlisle and Lexington are awash in winter moth larvae.  These insects hatch around May 1 and feed on newly emerging foliage of maple and oak trees, then drop to the shrubs below such as roses, dogwoods, blueberries and shadbush.

Al and Adam are busy with spot spraying for this pest.  We use a Neem oil product combined with a pyrethrin (derived from the chrysanthemum plant).  Let Doris in our office know if you will need their services.

For your overstory trees, we recommend the services of a certified arborist.

To give your roses or other shrubs with chewed leaves a boost, we recommend a few doses of fish fertilizer to help them releaf.
Concord Museum Garden Tour Coming Up!
Concord Museum
The Concord Museum's annual garden tour will be held on June 3 and 4 this year.  Pumpkin Brook is proud to be a Sponsor of this much-anticipated annual event.  We look forward to seeing you on the tour.

Purchase your tickets in advance and pick up a tour map on the day of the tour at the Museum.

Meet Our New Staff
Kimberly Kuliesis returns to the gardening arena after a stint in the corporate world last winter.  She has planted Weston Nursery stock under contract from their Chelmsford location with her former employer in that area.  Kim has a large home garden in Groton and keeps up with two busy grade schoolers.  We welcome her energy and enthusiasm!

Steve Swett is back with us this year after trying a career in HVAC.  He prefers to be outside and is enjoying returning to many familiar sites where he worked with us during 2006-2010.

Kimberly Kuliesis
Steve Swett

Plant Pick - Woodland Natives

Now is the time to visit Garden in the Woods in Framingham, near the Sudbury line.  Significant renovation has occurred in the original woodland garden, necessitated by the removal of a stand of hemlocks that died from repeated woolly adelgid infestations.  A patch of leucothoe that leapt down the bank below has also been removed as it was smothering smaller plants!  The garden now receives much more light and is more open and interesting.  You'll be glad to know that the original azaleas remain in place.

I loved the hillside covered in blue Phlox stolonifera, paired with Tiarella cordifolia (Foamflower) and the yellow Stylophorum diphyllum (Wood Poppy).  These are all easy plants for moderately rich soil and dappled shade.
Phlox stolonifera
Tiarella cordifolia
Stylophorum diphyllum
Priscilla's To-Do List for late May/early June
There is still time to install raised garden beds
  • Harden off vegetable and annual starts by acclimating them to sun and wind gradually over several days, covering at night if temperatures drop below 45 degrees
  • Use a sterilized straw mulch for your vegetable garden to retain moisture and cut down on weeds
  • Deep water any tree planted within the last 3 to 5 years once weekly, filling the well around it completely and letting it drain out
  • Mulch any bare soil in your gardens after finishing edging, transplanting, dividing and weeding
  • Watch roses for signs of rose slug sawfly in early June, a pest that leaves a dingy brown look to the leaves, and notify us for spot spraying
  • Finish pruning hydrangeas, callicarpa, caryopteris, Rose of Sharon and other late leafing shrubs
  • Nip back the tips of any shrub or rose that have been blackened by cold since their April pruning
  • Plant additional containers with tender annuals and herbs such as basil
  • Keep all containers watered and fertilized as the warm weather comes on, replacing early spring annuals as they fade
  • Plant new trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and vegetables through the end of June
  • Take time to enjoy the show in your garden, as things change daily at this time of year
  • Mow lawns at a 3" height and leave clippings on the lawn as a free source of nitrogen fertilizer
  • Small repairs to lawns can be tackled now before the hot weather arrives, and we are happy to assess your lawn as a whole
Please call us if you haven't heard from us yet or if you have any projects in mind for 2016.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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