New England

May, 2009
Regional Report

Make Space to Relax

Set up an area of your landscape where you can sit back and enjoy the results of your hard work. Too often we gardeners see all the things to be done in the garden, rather than appreciating all that we've accomplished. A hammock or comfortable lounge chair offers the perfect vantage to relax and enjoy.

Check for Iris Borers

Be on the lookout for signs of iris borers, including yellow streaks and mushy spots on the leaves of bearded iris. These are sure signs of iris borer activity. Check the rhizomes for borer holes and remove infested parts. In the future avoid covering rhizomes with mulch or soil that favors borer activity.

Prune Lilacs

After lilacs finish flowering, prune off the old blossoms. To reduce the height of the shrub, prune the old stems to the ground and allow new suckers to grow and flower. Prune all at once, or gradually taking one-third of the old stems out over a three-year period.

Divide Perennials

There's still time to divide perennials, especially late-flowering ones such as asters and chrysanthemum. Be sure to provide new transplants with plenty of water this first season, to help them establish deep root systems.

Keep Sowing Lettuce

Sow small sections of lettuce and spinach every two weeks or so. This will extend your harvest until early summer, when hot weather will cause these crops to bolt and turn bitter. Then, consider planting warm-season replacements, such as malabar spinach.

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