Shrub of the Week: Mission Arborvitae

This week’s selection is not a showy plant it is more of a functional shrub. It is use for many things in the landscape. This week’s shrub is the…

Mission Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis ‘Techny’Mission arborvitae2

The Mission Arborvitae, also known as a “Techny Arb,” has many uses around your yard. It can be planted in mass as a hedge for privacy. It can be planted on the north side of a property to cut the cold northern winds in the winter time. It can also be trimmed up some in late fall or early winter to add some fragrant greens to a wreath or table.

Mission arborvitaeIt’s a zone 3 plant that likes full sun but will do fine in partial shade as well. It can be shaped as desired but looks best in its natural state.

Mission Arbs  grow to 10-15’ with an 6-8’ spread. It’s 10-15’ height will give a nice privacy screen height with out blocking the sun out of a yard all together.

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Shrub of the Week: P.J.M. Rhododendron

Do you have a generator or maybe an unsightly propane tank in the yard that you would like to hide? This week’s shrub is the…

P.J.M. Rhododendron

 PJM RhododendronP.J.M. Rhododendron’s bloom in late April with that brilliant show of lavender. There are a few varieties of P.J.M. that have slight different shades of purple to a light pink flower. Planted in masses with some forsythia mixed in make for a great show. The winter foliage of the P.J.M. is burgundy and shows quite nicely against a snowy background.

It’s a zone 4 plant that likes full/partial sun so it will do fine with 3 plus hours of sun a day.

P.J.M. Rhododendron’s grow to 5-6’ with a 5-6’ spread. There is a compact clone available if your space is only 3’-4’.

PJM Rhododendron

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Shrub of the Week: New Hampshire Gold Forsythia

This week’s shrub is an early bright spot for everyone and it comes with a local connection to New Hampshire. This week’s shrub is the…

New Hampshire Gold Forsythia 

Forsythia ‘NH Gold’NH Gold Forsythia was originally hybridized in Claremont, NH. It’s that bright yellow spot you see early in the spring on the edge of the property. When you just can’t stand winter anymore and the ground hog says 6 more weeks, you can go out and clip 10 or 12 branches from any forsythia put them in some water in a sunny window and you will have an early spring in the house.

It’s a zone 3 plant that likes full or partial sun. It will spread quickly so the outer edge of the property works well.

NH Gold will grow to 5-6’ and spread the same. When a branch tip reaches the ground it will root to form a new plant so be careful to prune regularly.

Mt. Fire’s grow to 8-10’ with a 6-8’ spread so leave some space for it to grow, you’ll be thankful for it later on and so will it.

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Shrub of the Week: Azalea canadense ‘Rhoroda’

Azalea closeThis week’s shrub is a very early bloomer. In fact if you’re in the southern part of the state they should be waking up this week. This week’s shrub is…

Azalea canadense ‘Rhodora’

Azalea canadense ‘Rhodora’ is a deciduous azalea that blooms very early in the spring. It’s bright purple flowers are usually showing as the tulips and daffodils are poking up. It’s flowers show up before the leaves do.Azalea

It’s a zone 2 plant that likes full/partial sun so it will do fine with 3 plus hours of sun a day.

Azalea canadense ‘Rhodora’ is a vase shaped plant that grows to 3-4’ high by 3-4’ in width.

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Shrub of the Week: Witch Hazel

Although this year has been the winter that will not end, there are some shrubs that are pushing the blooms even in this cold weather. This weeks shrub of the week is…Witch Hazel close

Witch Hazel, also known as “HAMAMELIS intermedia ‘Arnold Promise.'” Witch Hazel is one of the early risers. It will bloom in late February to early March in a mild winter. The flowers are fragrant and showy since it’s usually been a while since we’ve seen flowers outside. Witch Hazel is also very showy in the fall as well,  with foliage colors from yellows to oranges to reds.

Witch Hazel

It is a zone 5 plant which means it would require some cover from a north wind and lots of sun.

Arnold Promise grows 15’-20’ high with a spread 10’-15’. There are other varieties that are slightly smaller.

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Low Maintenance Plantings for your yard

Hosta

HOSTA

Once it’s planted, this plant only requires a little water and can thrive in both sun and shade. That’s it!

Petunia

WAVE PETUNIAS

These colorful flowers requires a little fertilizer, frequent watering and very little pruning.

Primrose

PRIMROSE

Plant in either full sun or lightly shaded areas and enjoy thick, luscious and fragrant bushes.

Day Lily

DAYLILY

Once planted, just water whenever you water your lawn and enjoy the continuous, beautiful daily blooms.

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Get ready to start gardening!

Are you itching to get out and garden? Well, it’s not quite time yet but if you want to do something garden-related, try grooming your garden tools and organizing your gardening shed.

Grooming Tools – Here’s a quick how-to:

Cutting Tools: 

Grab some Arkansas sharpening stone and sharpen your pruners and shears. When you’re finished, lightly oil them with penetrating oil to prevent corrosion.

Digging Tools:

Use an 8-inch long mill file with a strong, comfortable handle to sharpen your spades, trowels and hoes. It’s easiest if you use a vise but holding it securely on a flat surface will work too. Make sure it’s at a 30 degree angle and file (away from your body) across the beveled surface of the blade. Be sure to remove any burrs on the other side, using the file. Apply a light coat of penetrating oil and wipe with a clean rag to prevent corrosion.

Garden Tools 2

Ideas for Organizing Your Garden Shed:

  • Add a pegboard! With the appropriate hooks, you can hang all your garden tools so they are off the floor and don’t keep getting knocked over.
  • Use a large hook with a steep angle to hold your garden hose and keep it from tangling and unraveling.
  • Install a sturdy tool holder on the inside of your shed/garage door for long handled tools. Keeps them accessible while leaving free space on the walls for shelves.
  • Use magnetic bars to store your metal tools such as shears and trowels. Be sure the magnet is strong enough to hold the weight of your tools.
  • Use bushel baskets for potting soil and mulch.
  • Add a potting bench so you have space to plant or re-pot your container plants, even when the weather is bad! Learn how to make your own potting bench here: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/tools/make-your-own-potting-bench/
  • Assemble a basket of frequently used tools so you can just grab and go when you’re ready to garden.
  • Hang a calendar so you can keep track of when you planted seeds, fertilized, etc. Use one of those half-whiteboard/half-corkboard ones. Wiping off the whiteboard is easy and you can pin seed packets or other things on the cork board.

Happy Garden Prepping!

Garden Tools

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Tasker Tree of the Week: Red Sunset Maple

Red Sunset Maple Tree – a great tree to add vibrant color to your landscape!

00 red sunset maple fall color2

The Red Sunset Maple boast brilliant reds during both the spring and fall. In spring, before the leaves bloom, the red buds appear and open into tight clusters of red flowers and then two-winged samara develop, which initially have a reddish hue. In the fall, a spectacular display of red and orange will dazzle your yard.

Plant this tree as a focal point in your yard. It’s a fast growing tree – up to 60 feet and is also a great shade tree.

Recognized by the U.S. Forest service as the most common variety of tree in America and its adaptability to many habitats, make this type of tree a must-have for any home landscape.

Red Sunset Maple Tree

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CHOOSING THE RIGHT ICE MELTER FOR YOUR NEEDS

When it comes to selecting the right ice melter for your needs, there are many factors to take into consideration. For instance: the surface that you are treating and where the runoff will go. There are many options to choose from, varying in ingredients, uses and costs. So how do you know you’re choosing the right product?Ice-Melt-300x150

Things to take into consideration when choosing an ice melter:

  • What type of surface are you treating? Concrete sidewalks? Wood deck? Just as different surfaces hold ice and snow differently, chemicals react differently as well.
  • What are the runoff or tracking possibilities? Will the runoff go into a stream or wetland, causing environmental issues? Or will it be tracked in on shoes into the home and ruin the carpets?
  • What is your budget? Like with many things, cost can vary.

Here is a breakdown of the five most common deicers:

  1. Sodium Chloride (NaCI) AKA “Rock Salt,” a very abundant compound. It’s the most popular option because it’s inexpensive, readily available and found all over the world. It performs best in 20-30 degree weather but can still be effective down to 16 degrees.
  2. Magnesium Chloride (MgCI2) A very effective deicer that is also found throughout the world. More expensive than Sodium Chloride, but it’s gentle on most surfaces and vegetation. It’s also safe for animals and the environment and doesn’t track so your rugs are safe too! Effectively melts snow and ice down to -13 degrees.
  3. Calcium Chloride (CaCI2) More expensive than the previous two, but has been used in the US for over 100 years and can melt ice in temperatures as low as -25 degrees. However, the toxicity is the highest of all chloride deicers, can bit a little rough on surfaces and messy when it’s tracked.
  4. Potassium Chloride (KCI) Most commonly used as a fertilizer, it’s not widely used as a deicer. It’s not a very effective deicer because it won’t melt below 25 degrees, but it is preferred for being so environmentally friendly.
  5. Acetates Come in three forms: sodium acetate, calcium magnesium acetate and potassium acetate. These are not chloride (salt) based so they protect surfaces from chloride damage and they break down easily in the environment, leaving little adverse impact. However, these types of deicers can be very expensive, as the ingredients are in short supply and therefore very expensive.

Still not sure? Ask your supplier or give us a call, we are happy to help!

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SELECTING THE RIGHT ROSES FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

Selecting the right gifts for Valentine’s Day can be very stressful. Let us help by providing guidance in selecting the right flowers to show your significant other just how much you love them.

red_roses_flowers_floraROSES

How to choose the right ones: Not all rose buds are alike. Classic roses open by unraveling one petal at a time in a spiral. The flower bud should feel firm. If it’s too soft, it means that the rose has been kept in refrigeration for too long. If it’s too hard, it could have been picked too early by the grower and alas, it won’t open. Look for firm roses that are unraveling on the tip of the rosebud and with good looking foliage.

Be colorful: Consider a bouquet with multiple colors. Different colored roses often have more fragrance than red roses and it will also be less expensive.

Does size matter? When it comes to the stems, the longer stems are more expensive. Select shorter stems, there is no difference in the quality.

Care for the roses: Be sure to have them wrapped properly when leaving the florist and don’t expose them to freezing temperatures! (We all know what February is like in NH!) Prior to placing the roses in the vase, remove the leaves from the stems. If the leaves are immersed in water, they will rot and affect the life span. Roses are best kept in a cool place, so display them somewhere away from heat and sunny spaces. Adding an ice cube to the vase each day will cool the plant down and extend the flowering period.

Looking for a non-traditional alternative to roses?

Gerber Daisies have vibrant 3-inch wide blooms and are sure to make a bold statement.

gerbera

Tulips come in many colors and are a sign that spring is on its way, which many of us need this time of year.

tulips_tulip_bed

Lilies are a beautiful alternative and the Oriental ones have a lovely fragrance.

august_lilies_195154

Alstroemeria comes in many colors and will last a long time. They are a great option for warm homes or offices.

alstroemeria

P.S. Don’t forget the chocolate!

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