Gardener works miracles on semi-urban lot

Just east of Cambridge, on a half-acre lot in a peaceful development, one man has created a vegetable garden that encompasses twice as much space as his house and is well on the way to becoming a homestead. Chris Du Plessis, a self-taught gardener with only three years of trial-and-error under his belt, feeds not […]

Seasoned gardeners try something new

Many gardeners get an urge to branch out into something different from time to time, such as an unusual plant or a novel method of gardening. Personally, I’m besotted with the idea of growing a miniature lemon tree. (After how many years will it produce fruit, did the catalogue say?) Of course, if I moved […]

Plants that fertilize the soil as they grow

Imagine if gardeners could improve their soil by planting a perennial that produces spectacular cutting flowers as well as feeding bees and other pollinators. Or a tree native to our region that blooms profusely in bright pink when other trees are just starting to wake up from winter. Or tasty vegetables that will be among […]

A beautiful hedge to attract birds

The highbush cranberry, one of many native shrubs which will bring birds flocking to your yard, looks spectacular when in flower. Pollinators also love the blossom, which usually appears in May.

One of the first signs of spring are the melodious liquid notes of bird song. Open your door just before dawn and, even blindfolded, you’d know from the bird voices filling the air that cold, quiet winter had given way to the season when all living things grow and reproduce. A long time ago, I […]

An early-spring bloomer to yank out before it spreads

Fig buttercup, the early-spring flower you don’t want in your garden or anywhere near it.

Finally, early spring has arrived! Birds are calling from still bare branches, grass is turning green, a few yellow daffodils have emerged and the clumps of purple crocuses under my fig tree are expanding by the day. Amid the cheerful scene unfolding in countryside and towns, however, trouble is brewing. And it could come to […]

Curb-side gardens are pleasant to the eye

Not wanting to repeat the tired old expression “curb appeal,” I will describe two charming gardens I spotted recently from roads in Cambridge and Church Creek as curb-side gardens. Along the way, I will pass on some valuable tips that the creators of the two lovely oases shared with me on a sunny morning in […]

New way of gardening saves time and energy

By Laetitia Sands Special to Dorchester Banner Sometimes one comes across an idea that seems so simple, obvious and beneficial to the human race that one wonders why no one, including oneself, ever thought of it before. Narrow down “human race” to gardening members thereof, and I’ve a brilliant new perspective on gardening to divulge. […]

Gardening: New invasives to watch out for

I was working at a plant sale when a woman with that obsessive gleam of a plant lover in her eye came over. Our handful of volunteers from a horticultural association snapped to attention, happy to see a potential customer braving the pouring rain. “That plant’s a Tier 3 invasive,” she said, pointing to a […]

Gardening: Redesigning a hedge

A friend of mine wants to pull out her ailing Leyland cypress hedge and put in something new. She’s thinking of knockout roses, she told me, and wants to know my opinion. When designing a hedge, it’s important to take into account the surroundings. My friend lives in a town and wants privacy from her […]

Curious little galls

I first spotted the curious little structure on a willow oak growing at the edge of my yard, where the lawn merged into marshland. Except for its color, the brownish grey object resembled a battered ping-pong ball wrapped around a slender branch of the tree. Was it alive or dead? An outgrowth of the oak, […]