April on Nantucket can still have it’s share of unpredictable weather, ranging from warm and sunny to driving rain and wind, with freezing temperatures still possible.
Rainy days are the perfect excuse to turn on the computer and check out your favorite gardening sites. UMASS Amherst has a great extension site: www.umassgreeninfo.org has loads of fact sheets to help you with specific garden and landscape questions.
If you like a more visual explanation, Fine Gardening magazine’s site boasts a whole range of informative clips at www.finegardening.com/Videos And while you are browsing the web, be sure to check out our brand new website www.surfinghydrangea.com Happy surfing!
Spring on Nantucket has a way of being mostly grey. Luckily, we have a wide selection of spring flowering trees and shrubs to brighten up the landscape. With masses of yellow flowers, Forsythia x intermedia is hard to miss in full bloom. As part of a hedgerow or boundary planting, it’s superb. It provides color in spring, and great screening in summer due to a dense habit and pleasant green leaves.
If you need something a little smaller, Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’ might be just the ticket. This three-season performer starts early. It leafs out before many other shrubs in the landscape, and soon after it’s branches are covered in white flowers. In summer its willowy, yellow-chartreuse foliage is the main attraction.
So, whether you fall back on an old standard or want to try something new, we have a plant in the yard to fit your space. And if you don’t see what you want, we would be happy to order it for you!
Digging field grown trees and shrubs is done in the spring, before buds begin to break. At this time, woody plants are the least susceptible to transplant shock; plants do not tolerate root disturbance at times of peak growth and during warmer weather. Keep in mind that any trees that tend to bud out early, like crabapples, will have the most limited time-frame of availability.
The majority of our suppliers were affected by the massive amounts of snow that were dumped onto most of the country in February and early March. For this reason, digging began a little later than in average years. However, the recent warm weather will likely bring the digging season to an early close. Should you require specific varieties, or sizes for upcoming projects, please let us know as soon as possible. Once digging has ended, selection is much more limited on large and specialty material.
Getting Hydrangeas to bloom reliably year to year requires a little bit of horticultural knowledge. Hydrangea paniculata and arborescens cultivars bloom on wood produced during the current growing season, and can handle severe pruning or winter die-back, and still flower heavily.
Generally, Hydrangea macrophylla cultivars bloom on the previous season’s woody stems. Severe pruning or winter die-back of these types will remove over-wintering flower buds, sacrificing the current season’s show.
In short, Hydrangea paniculata and arborescens can be pruned to shape and size as you desire without affecting flowers. However, avoid severe pruning on Hydrangea Macrophylla – the best cultural practice is to remove dead wood and a small portion of the oldest, least productive, stems. It is not necessary to top Hydrangea macrophylla. Leave the tips of healthy stems in tact for the maximum number of flowers. If you must top them, do not remove more than 2.5 – 3′ in height, as most flower buds are formed in the top three feet of these shrubs.
Spring clean-ups are a great time to take stock in the garden. While you tidy up beds for the spring flush of growth, why not start a list of perennial needs for the upcoming season?
We are uncovering a large inventory of fully vernalized perennials for shade and sun. These have been over-wintered here at the nursery. These plants are ready for planting as long as the soil is workable. Our vendors will be shipping a wide variety of the best quality stock to us during the upcoming weeks to further expand our selection. If you have special requests or need quantities of particular varieties, please let us know – we are always happy to order in what you need.
Ammophiila breviligulata. This is the native beach grass used to stabilize and beautify dunes and other stretches of very sandy soil. Because beach grass is usually used in large quantities, it is most often planted as either bare root (culms) or small rooted plugs.
Availability for bare root material is restricted to times when it is completely dormant; In the spring March though mid May and after mid September in the fall. The stalks are typically planted at a rate of 2 per hole with 1 foot square spacing. Rooted plugs are actively growing and make a quicker initial showing, at a slightly higher cost. They are also planted at 1 foot square spacing, at a rate of one per hole. 6 inch pots and one gallon pots are sometimes available.
Of course, any of these can be planted more densely, which is recommended in high erosion situations.
In all cases, the root zone of the grass must meet moisture to grow. Because of the sensitivity of coastal environments to over-fertilizing, no fertilizer is recommended for beach grass when planted in an area where it would be native.
Beach grass may also be inter-planted with other native species to increase beauty and biodiversity.
Signs of Spring are beginning to appear! Temperatures in the forties prevailed this week and the long range forecast looks warm and clear for the next week. The nursery is open for the season, with plenty of great plant material in stock already. Throughout the spring we will be adding to our inventory to cover all of your plant needs.
Drop in to say hello soon! During March we are open Mon-Fri 8:00 to 5:00 and by appointment on the weekend.
Check out the photos below of some stock from the yard.
Not Quite Ready For Planting?
Early spring is a great time to top dress perennial and shrub beds.
All Nantucket soils will benefit from the addition of organic matter, whether they be the sandy, lean soils on Eel Point Road or the pockets of clay found in ‘Sconset. MooDoo, composted cow manure, is an ideal source of organic matter that helps build the soil that feeds our plants. We offer it in conveniently sized bags, ready to go and easy to apply.
Check out the photos below of stock that will ship to the nursery during the upcoming months.
Late Winter/Early Spring is an ideal time to plant most trees and shrubs. At this point in the season plants are either entirely dormant or largely inactive. Early planting insures minimal transplant stress and allows time for substantial root development prior to the arrival of warm temperatures and drier soil conditions.