Volume 7, June 2017
Hello Everyone,

We have had one of the busiest springs ever this year!  With a late start after the April Fool's storm and between dodging raindrops, we did manage to get in some early pruning, planting and now mulching!  Thanks to all who have been patiently waiting for us to catch up with our rounds.

I have been lost in the world of learning a new software system for scheduling and estimating.  This cut into my newsletter writing time, unfortunately.  I am now coming out the other side of the learning curve and am back with you once again.  Hopefully, you have been referring to our newsletter archive from past seasons, always available on our website.
Plant Pick - Clematis "Betty Corning"
I happened upon this old standard in a nursery recently and bought it for myself as a treat!  One of the easiest and longest blooming clematis out there, its millions
Clematis 'Betty Corning'
of clear blue bells drape over the climbing vine in a most wonderful way.  

Site this clematis in a spot where the soil is deep and rich.  It should get at least a half day of sun to flower at its best.  Care is simple:  be there at the right time to train the vine to climb or scramble over a support such as a neighboring shrub, fence, trellis or climbing rose cane.  Cut down to at least the 3' height before winter, and renew pruning in late spring as leaves start to emerge.  Clematis appreciate a topdressing of compost yearly in the fall (when we all have more time than in spring).
Cedar-Apple Rust Is Rampant This Year!  What Is It?
Cedar apple rust on Hawthorne
You may be noticing orange spots on the leaves of your apple or crabapple tree.  What's wrong, you ask.  

In a wet, cool spring like this one, Cedar-Apple Rust is rampant.  This fungus is passed back and forth between our native cedar, Juniperus virginiana, and members of the rose family.  Fruit trees are the most prone to spotting, but we have also seen it on hawthorne and quince.  Sometimes the developing fruit will be orange, too.  This is mainly a cosmetic issue and is not fatal to the plants.  Usually the fruit falls off early.

The native cedar will develop odd brown galls that swell in wet weather to produce orange gelatinous horns that look like something from outer space.  Young boys will be very intrigued!  These lie at the tips of branches and quite literally blow the fungus over to the leaves of the apple, crabapple etc.  

What do we do about Cedar-Apple Rust?  The fruiting bodies can be cut off the cedar and bagged if seen on a dry day.  We also recommend raking up the fallen orange leaves (which will drop early) on a dry day, bagging and removing from the site.  Also remove any damaged fruit early from the trees.

Further, promote good air circulation when pruning these plants and especially when siting them at planting time.  Rust resistant varieties are available in the marketplace. We also recommend our compost tea program for these plants to build soil microbiology and help members of the rose family resist fungal diseases in general.
New Visitor Center at Walden Pond with Native Landscape
Statue of Henry David Thoreau
at Walden Pond
We often pass by Walden Pond and followed the progress of construction on the new Visitor Center these past two years.  A lovely native plant landscape was installed between the street and parking lot.  I happened by one foggy grey Saturday in April at the moment when all the Amelanchier canadensis were in full bloom (shadbush, shadblow, serviceberry or saskatoon, to mention a few common names).  This brilliant display drew me in for a visit.  Interesting understory plantings lie beneath the shadbush canopy, completely knitting together the ground layer.  Over 5,000 plants were installed!

Trees cleared from the site were salvaged for wood which has been cleverly used for indoor furniture.  There is a view directly to the pond across an outdoor deck!  Indoors, floor to ceiling triple-paned windows greet you, along with friendly park staff.  The large windows allow the building to be lit during the day by natural sunlight rather than electricity.  It is cooled by natural breezes rather than air conditioning.  A Ken Burns introductory film is shown in a side room, and there are activities galore to celebrate Henry David Thoreau's 200th birthday this year.  Worth a stop!
We Have Some New Faces on Our Crew This Season
Kyle Hagen hails from New Hampshire and has quite literally grown up in a garden with his mother, a retired extension agent specializing in horticulture.  He also has a knack for small engines and enjoys anything related to outdoor activity.  Kyle has been working on our large planting installation crew as well as maintenance.

Tessa Awalt-Conley also grew up in the garden and most recently interned on two fiber farms in southern Vermont, learning about sheep from many angles.  She loves outdoor work and will attend Barnard College this fall.  Tessa has been a real asset to our maintenance crew.

Alfred (Lee) Gadway leads night hikes, is active with the Boy Scouts, and is serious about growing food - may become a farmer!  We use Lee on our large planting installation crew and for ongoing garden maintenance.

Jimmy Finnegan just joined us to help us get through mulching season and the heavy work of this time of year.  He has experience in construction work with his father's firm but is happily learning the ropes of landscape gardening.
Tips to Reduce Ticks in your Yard
Ticks sized from easily seen to hardly visible
With the wet weather has come an abundance of ticks.  Al and Carmine are kept busy with our organic spray program which helps manage the tick population in your yard on a monthly basis.  Ticks are active any time the temperatures is above 32 degrees!

You can also help reduce the habitat they most prefer in your yard:  moist, wet environments such as around a woodpile, accumulated leaf litter in corners or at wooded edges.  Keep these areas picked up and cleaned up.  Reduce the amount of understory canopy at edges, as this is just another hiding place.  To really make your yard tick safe, create a mulched border of woodchips or gravel at the periphery as ticks do not like to cross such surfaces.

Be sure to locate play sets and seating well away from the woods edge, too.  After being outside, check yourself, your children and your pets for ticks.

Please let us know if you would like to join our tick and mosquito spray program on a monthly or special event basis by contacting Al Newman, our Plant Health Care Manager, or Doris Huxley, our Office Manager.  We will arrange for an estimate.
Priscilla's To-Do List for July
Almost blueberry time!
  • Keep up with weeding, lifting the basal leaves of perennials and lower branches of shrubs to check for more weeds
  • Begin pruning the earliest spring flowering shrubs and trees such as forsythia, lilac, azalea, and fothergilla
  • Prune rhododendrons as new growth hardens off, along with hollies and pieris, boxwoods and other broadleaf and needled evergreens
  • Deadhead peonies, iris and all the June bloomers before the July plants come on the scene
  • Water newly planted trees and shrubs regularly, also annuals, perennials and vegetables if we get less than 1" of rain per week - see Summer Watering Instructions
  • Change over containers from spring to summer look
  • Make notes about plants to divide, transplant or add in fall
  • Harvest garlic when only 5 green leaves remain on stalks, let heads dry under cover where air circulates
  • Enjoy peas, then pull spent vines and plant a succession crop such as summer squash, beans, kale or basil
  • Mulch any bare soil in all beds to control weeds and conserve moisture
  • Mow down strawberry foliage to rejuvenate and keep runners under control, then scratch in Berry Mix and remulch as needed
  • Cover blueberries with netting against birds
  • Topdress asparagus with compost
I look forward to seeing you in the garden as we make our summer rounds!  Enjoy this great weather,

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