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know your temperature zone before you shop for your plants

New England Gardening Advice By the Month -June

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Just about everyone in the New England area should be frost-free except for perhaps the upper levels of the Green and White Mountains in northern New England. For the rest of us, it means the season of gardening kicks into high gear and the opportunities for planting vegetables, flowers and even outdoor tropical plants is endless.

If you followed our advice last month, you have been acclimating your indoor plants (tropical or otherwise) to the strong outdoor sun and windy conditions. Your plants can now take their place full-time in their summer locations and can stay there happily until at least mid-September. Your vegetables too, now that they have been "hardened off" can take their rightful place in the garden.

azalea in the New England garden

Now is the time to go annual shopping. Flowers like impatiens and hosta (cool, shady areas), and marigolds and most other annuals (hot sunny locations with average soil moisture) can be placed all over the yard, containers/hanging pots and your garden beds. Keep in mind the growing size of these plants. A good general rule of thumb is to plant the smaller plants in the front and the next larger behind it and so on. This way you have an unobstructed view of all of your flowers and they create an attractive high border around your yard and flower beds.

It may sound a little crazy, but starting now you will want to prune any spring-flowering trees (dogwoods for example) or bushes (azaleas, rhododendrons, forsythia, lilacs). Starting now and through the end of June, these bushes will stop flowering. It is critical to prune these bushes right after they finish flowering, otherwise if you wait too long you will end up cutting off the buds for next year's flowers. Remember to take this step at the appropriate time and you will be rewarded with a healthy plant that produces vigorous blooms each and every year!

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