April / May 2021 — Volume 11, No. 4 / 5
Hello Everyone,
We’ve made it - moved our complete operations to one site in Ayer! This six-week project is now wrapping up with the construction of our new nursery stock holding yard, bin system for bulk materials, compost tea brewing center, and brush chipping area. Thank you for bearing with us during a very hectic time. We began to make our rounds on April 5th with four small crews per day.
Image of Pumpkin Brook's outdoor plant nursery
New Nursery Area
New Bins
New Wood Chip Area
However, we are still looking to hire one more crew of three to four people. Until that time, we’re doing the best we can to help each of you open gardens, handle early spring pruning, and complete spray routes. Please spread the word about our available jobs to young people in your orbit who may enjoy outdoor work with plants! Our website has the open positions listed, <pbog.biz>

Priscilla is taking over scheduling of Garden Maintenance work from Kim. You will be hearing from me about dates of scheduled work! Please contact me at <phw@seedlingspecialist.com> with your additional requests. Kim will continue to handle scheduling of projects.

Thank you for your understanding and assistance at this time of change.
Where is the New Client Portal?
We’re almost ready for opening day. We have had to meet strict security protocols to allow us to accept electronic payments and keep each client’s information confidential and safe. At this writing, we are waiting for the signal from the underwriters that all is secure and ready to open for business. A separate email notification will be sent to all clients to announce the portal’s opening.
Backyard Blowout Plant Sale - Saturday, May 8th, 8 am - 12 noon
Priscilla’s Nursery, 35 Turner Road, Townsend
Image of green sale sign
This year we made the decision to fold our nursery growing operations. I will be moving in late 2022 to Hager Homestead, a new senior cohousing community that will be built in Littleton. We’re left with odds and ends of 20 years in business: selected shrubs and many perennials.

Please peruse the attached list to see if there is a treasure here for your garden. The sale will operate on a pre-order basis. Print out the plant list HERE, make your selections, and scan/email it back to us at <www.pbog.biz>. Prepayment is by check made out to PBOG and mailed in advance to PO Box 369, Ayer, MA 01432. Your plants will be reserved and labeled for curbside pickup in Townsend. Then plan to arrive during open hours to claim your plants! I am happy to give short garden tours if you’d like to admire the spring garden together.
Celebrate Arbor Day on April 30th by Planting a Tree for Pollinators!
Arbor Day is right around the corner, always the last Friday of April in Massachusetts. Get in the swing of spring by planting a tree that will bloom and attract bees and other pollinators. Most of these species will also shelter pollinators in winter, such as oak trees with their ridged bark. Many other native trees are recommended in the attached link from the Arbor Day Foundation.

One note: The crepe myrtle and Southern magnolia trees will not be hardy in our area - instead, enjoy them when you travel to the mid-Atlantic or South.
Image of worker spreading leaf mulch in a garden
Spreading leaf mulch in woodland garden
We at Pumpkin Brook are happy to help you select the right tree for your space. Mature size and amount of light available are just two important considerations. Please contact Deanna Jayne, <deanna@pumpkinbrookorganicgardening.com> to arrange a site visit.

Plant Pick: Lily of the Valley, Convallaria majalis, for May Day
Image of small, white, bell-shaped flowers. Lily of the Valley flowers.
Lily of the Valley
May 1 is an annual public holiday in France (Labour Day) and other countries around the world. A symbol of this event is the fragrant Lily of the Valley flower, blooming around that time. In 1560, Charles IX of France was presented with Lily of the Valley flowers as a good luck token. In appreciation, he decided to present all the ladies at court with Lily of the Valley bouquets each year on “le 1er mai.” Today this tradition continues in France, with the tax-free sale of Lily of the Valley flowers by street sellers and florists.

As a child, I grew up making May baskets to deliver to my grandmother and aunt. We would cover baskets in bright crepe paper and go out to the meadow and garden to find flowers in bloom to fill it. Then the fun began: deliver the basket to the doorstep, ring the bell, run and hide, watch the door open, and hear a happy exclamation at the sight of the basket. A shout of “Happy May Day” crowned the tradition.

Lily of the Valley is one of those tough, old-fashioned plants, with running roots and a special tolerance for dry shade. Be careful where you plant it, as the roots can invade other perennials over time and become difficult to extract. This plant is probably best grown in its own bed or to encircle a tree, rock, or other landscape feature.
Another Sign of Spring - Turtles on the Move
Groton Painted Turtle Hatchling
In spring, female turtles emerge from wetlands to lay their eggs and forage for food on nearby dry land. They may have to cross a network of busy roads to do so. Please be watchful when driving. Many communities are posting warning signs at known “turtle crossings.”

For more information, visit https://www.grotonturtles.org
Priscilla’s Garden To-Do List for Late April/Early May

  • Finish planting bareroot stock such as roses, raspberries, asparagus, and fruit trees
  • Keep transplanting and dividing late summer and fall-blooming perennials
  • Plant containers with frost-resistant varieties
  • Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials
  • Finish pruning and fertilizing roses
  • Prune hydrangeas and scratch in an acid-loving fertilizer to promote bloom
  • Topdress winter damaged broad-leaved evergreens with compost and a bit of acid-loving fertilizer to promote strong new growth
  • Scratch in bulb fertilizer around bulbs as bloom fades
  • Deadhead tulips, daffodils, and grape hyacinths
  • Snowdrops and Winter Aconites can be lifted and divided while “in the green” - with foliage intact
  • Make notes about where to add more bulbs next fall
  • Weed out cool-season weeds when you spot them - do not let them go to seed
  • Plant early vegetables such as lettuce, greens, kale, chard, and herbs
  • Edge beds with a half-moon edger, creating broad curves or straight lines depending on your style
  • Begin mulching in early May when soil is starting to warm up to help preserve moisture and suppress weed seeds
  • Set up peony hoops or stakes early to keep these beautiful plants upright
  • Remove winter deer protection - fencing, garlic clips, or burlap - around May 1
We hope you can get out and enjoy your spring gardens on good weather days. We’ll plan to see you soon,

Priscilla and the PBOG Crew
Thank You for Working With Us!

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Pumpkin Brook Organic Gardening, Inc. 
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(978) 425-5531