Tuesday, March 31, 2009


"And Spring arose on the garden fair,

Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;

And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast

rose from the dreams of its wintry rest."

- Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Sensitive Plant


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Signs of spring

Take a look at what's popping up inside the greenhouses. These little sweethearts are called

viola black magic

The plants are really enjoying the warmer temperatures.

Stay tuned. More to come.........

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In the Spotlight . . . our Plant of the Month

Hellebores (Helleborus xhybridus)

Luckily, we had a Hellebore reside in one of Woodbridge's greenhouses this winter to remind us about how much we love them. Last month, in the sun-warmed greenhouse, clusters of pale pink flowers rose above the evergreen leaves. Outdoors, these normally late-winter bloomers show color in their buds about the time their new leaves unfurl. Commonly known as Lenten Rose, these members of the buttercup family are captivating perennials with so many attributes, it's hard to know where to start.

While naturally a sun-loving plant, versatile Hellebores are ideal for your woodland or shade garden and can even thrive in very shady gardens and near black walnut trees.

You will treasure these "deer resistant" plants year-round as their evergreen clumps become the focus of your winter garden. Hellebores are drought and neglect tolerant, as long as they have decent drainage and don't get too much moisture.

As you bend close to clean out dried leaves, peak under the hood of Hellebore's shy cup-shaped flowers for a rewarding view of their bonny blooms. Available in a range of colors, you can choose from exquisite shades of pink, red, yellow, green, purple, white, and even slate black. Their petals range from single, anemone-like blooms to frilly doubles. Enjoy their blooms inside by floating flowers in a shallow bowl to create a gorgeous centerpiece for your home.

Plant some Hellebores in your garden to enjoy early-spring color from their long-lasting blooms, and you'll also have their evergreen foliage to enjoy in your winter garden.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sneak a Peek at 3 of our New and Exciting Plants for 2009

Flower Carpet AMBER is one of the new Next Generation Flower Carpet roses with 20 years extra breeding providing improved heat tolerance and disease resistance in an already brilliant class of groundcover roses. They are tough, high-performance groundcover roses. Each bush is covered in a mass explosion of soft orange yellow blooms, aging to soft pink with a blush of peach. A truly stunning plant, Flower Carpet AMBER is simple to grow and easy to maintain, requiring no spraying in the landscape. Simply cut back to 1/3rd its size once in late winter or early spring.

Endless Summer “Twist-n-Shout Hydrangea macrophylla"
Like all plants in the Endless Summer Collection, Twist-n-Shout produces abundant blooms on both old and new wood all summer long. Gorgeous blossoms of pink or periwinkle blue surround lacy deep-pink center, depending on soil type. Sturdy red stems and glossy deep green leaves turn red-burgundy in fall to offer year-round interest in the garden. Twist-n-Shout is compact enough for containers, easy to care for and hardy to Zone 4.

Lo & Behold ‘Blue Chip’ Buddleia is the first ever miniature butterfly bush to be introduced. This plant has it all, loads of fragrant long lasting blooms, easy to grow low maintenance and is deer resistant. It looks great in perennial gardens or grown in a container on the patio.
"I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become,

I will always plant a large garden in the spring.

Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy

that one gets from participating in nature's rebirth?"

- Edward Giobbi

Ready, Set, Plant!

For some gardeners the arrival of March triggers their Green Thumbs to itch to tear open seed packets. Anticipating the thrill of sprouting their own plants, it can be a difficult wait. I confess that I have jumped the gun just a few times and ended up planting leggy seedlings (deep enough, of course, to encourage roots to pop out of their too long stems). Starting seeds indoors the last week in March will give you a thirty to sixty day jump on the gardening season.

Many of the 75 million gardeners in the U.S. start their garden plants from seeds. After seeing all the resources in bookstores, the library, and on-line, it's apparent that most of them have documented their gardening experiences (myself included). That's a lot of information out there to dig into.

Every gardener, through trial and error, discovers what works best for them. The basics are simple: Seeds want to grow. It's their job. You provide them with the basics: soil, water, light, warmth; and with basic care, and your seeds will grow into healthy, strong plants.

Since you'll be caring for your plants for a few months (hopefully), you'll want to choose your crops carefully for your garden. Some plants that benefit most from an early start indoors include garden staples like tomatoes, peppers, and basil, as well as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, chives, collards, eggplant, endive, escarole, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, marigolds, onions, and petunias.

Not all seeds should be started indoors, just those that germinate slowly and need warm soil. Seeds that germinate best in cool soil should be planted directly outdoors. Avoid starting root crops indoors since they don't transplant as well. Other seeds should be planted later in the season at the time when seeds naturally fall from the parent plant, such as foxgloves, hollyhocks, and poppies.

Buying seeds can be as simple as selecting from a local store or choosing from the multitude of catalog and on-line offerings. When one company alone can carry over 800 varieties, the choices can seem endless. Try to narrow down the type of seed first: Organic, Heirloom, Hybrids to produce more fruit, Pest resistant hybrids, etc. My personal favorites are the heirloom varieties whose seeds can be collected for next years garden.

A little planning will help you avoid starting more plants than you have the room or time for. Also, don't feel compelled to plant ALL the seeds from each packet. Save some lettuce and sweetpeas to plant a few rows in the cool temperatures of autumn. Sharing seeds with friends is a great way to try something new and have a nicer variety. Remember to also “Plant a Row for the Hungry” (more info about this worthy cause coming soon).

You'll need to use seed starting mix since garden soil is too hard and may carry disease or pests that are harmful to your delicate seedlings. Be diligent about keeping the soil moist. The first tiny hair root can't be allowed to dry, or the plant won't start any leaves. Too soggy, and it will rot.

Great places to start your seeds are in a sunny window or just a sunny room. Keeping a plant/grow light hanging a few inches above the soil for 12 to 18 hours each day will produce compact, sturdy seedlings. While seed trays are handy to use, seeds can be started in pots, egg cartons or even in yogurt cups.

Come May, should you need or want to supplement your seedlings with heirloom variety plants for your garden, we will be offering a nice selection of heirloom tomatoes. Or you can show your support for the Scituate High School Agricultural program by purchasing some heirlooms from them. They will be selling heirloom plants this year at the Farmers Market (more details coming soon).

Lastly, carefully read the specific planting instructions on your seed packets. These activities should distract your Green Thumb long enough to welcome Spring.

"One of the greatest virtues of gardening

is this perpetual renewal of youth and spring,

of promise of flower and fruit

that can always be read in the open book of the garden,

by those with an eye to see,

and a mind to understand."

- E.A. Bowles