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New England Nurseries’ Monthly Garden Guide: June

It was a tough wait for us New England Gardeners, but we’ve arrived. We are officially past the “last frost date.” Let the planting and transplanting commence! Hold on to your stylish gardening hats – here’s your to-do list for this

Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around your trees, but avoid the mulch volcano. Mulch volcanoes occur when mulch is applied vertically up the trunk of the tree. Some homeowners find this aesthetically pleasing, and in other circumstances, mulch is added year after year on top of existing mulch creating the volcano effect. This will lead to the death of the tree by suffocation. Tree roots breath and when they are suffocated by large piles of mulch, they send out secondary root systems that grow up and around the base of the tree in search of air. The small roots get burnt in the summer and winter and can girdle the tree. Below is a great image by depicting the do and don’t of mulching. If you want to learn more, watch this:


Planting: All veggies should be planted in the ground, or beds, now. Sow additional carrots, beans, and lettuce for continual harvest. If you are working with plants that you have grown from seed, be sure to thin them appropriately, as listed on seed package, for proper growth and a better harvest. Plant your summer-blooming flower bulbs now. It’s a great time to increase your curb appeal and beautify your backyard sanctuary with fresh new annuals, perennials, and native plants.

Fertilizing: In Massachusetts, June is a good time to fertilize several types of plants and trees to support their growth and health. Here are some recommendations:

Trees and Shrubs

  • Deciduous Trees: Fertilize trees like maples, oaks, and elms. Use a balanced fertilizer or one higher in nitrogen to promote leafy growth.
  • Evergreens: Conifers such as pines, spruces, and firs benefit from a fertilizer formulated specifically for evergreens, which often have a higher acid content.
  • Flowering Shrubs: Shrubs like hydrangeas, roses, and azaleas benefit from a balanced fertilizer. For azaleas and rhododendrons, use an acid-loving plant fertilizer.


  • Grass: Lawns typically receive a spring fertilization, but a lighter application in June can help maintain growth and green color. Use a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer to avoid excessive growth.

Flowering Plants

  • Annuals: Fertilize annual flowers like petunias, marigolds, and impatiens every few weeks with a water- soluble fertilizer to support continuous blooming.
  • Perennials: Established perennials, such as daylilies, hostas, and coneflowers, benefit from a balanced fertilizer applied in June to support summer growth.

Vegetable Garden

  • Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplants: Use a balanced fertilizer or one higher in phosphorus to support fruiting.
  • Leafy Greens (lettuce, spinach, kale): Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to promote leaf growth.
  • Root Crops (carrots, beets, radishes): A balanced fertilizer is suitable to support root development.

Fruit Trees and Berries

  • Apple and Pear Trees: Use a balanced or nitrogen-rich fertilizer to support growth.
  • Stone Fruits (peaches, plums, cherries): These trees can also benefit from a balanced fertilizer.
  • Berry Bushes (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries): Blueberries prefer acidic soil, so use a fertilizer for acid-loving plants. Raspberries and strawberries can benefit from a balanced fertilizer.

Tips for Fertilizing

  • Soil Test: Conduct a soil test to determine nutrient deficiencies and pH levels. This will help you choose the right type of fertilizer.
  • Watering: Water thoroughly before and after applying fertilizer to help it penetrate the soil and reach the roots.
  • Avoid Over-fertilization: Follow the recommended application rates to avoid damaging plants and trees.
  • Ask a New England Nurseries staff member for recommendations. We carry a vast array of fertilizer options.

Watering: In regards to container planters, you’ll want to make sure they have adequate drainage and check them more frequently during hot spells. Container gardens and hanging plants could require watering a couple of times per day on really hot and dry days. As for you garden beds, shrubs, and trees, it is better to water thoroughly a few times per week over small bursts of water daily. To establish a deep and healthy root system, you want to water slowly and deeply and let the soil dry slightly between waterings. Make sure you don’t overwater.

Pruning and dead-heading: Dead-heading is essentially removing dead or spent blooms from flowering plants. This can encourage new growth in plants. So, deadhead any perennials that have retained spent blooms from last year. After Rhododendrons bloom, remove their dead flowering stalks. Watch out for any new buds. You don’t want to accidentally remove those. And, check your basil plants daily for flower buds. Remove buds immediately and you’ll have nice full basil plants with a continuous supply of tasty leaves.

If you’ve not yet pruned your dogwood, forsythia, or lilacs make sure you do that as soon as possible. Next year’s blooms develop on this year’s growth, and you don’t want to later prune off next year’s buds.

Tea pot

Our Monthly Top 10

This month is Perennial Month, so we’ll be talking about sun and heat-loving perennials. As a bonus, the plants listed below are easy-care, attractive, loved by pollinators, and most are drought-tolerant.

  1. Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) : This hardy perennial is known for its large, daisy-like flowers with prominent cone-shaped centers. It blooms from midsummer to fall and attracts butterflies and bees. Coneflowers are drought- tolerant and easy to grow in full sun.
  2. Daylily (Hemerocallis): Daylilies are renowned for their vibrant and varied flower colors. Each bloom lasts only one day, but a well-established clump can produce flowers over several weeks. They are very resilient and can withstand hot, sunny conditions.
  3. Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia): This perennial has silvery, aromatic foliage and tall spikes of small, lavender-blue flowers. Blooming from mid-summer to autumn, it adds a touch of airy elegance to gardens and thrives in hot, dry conditions.
  4. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida) : Black-eyed Susans feature bright yellow petals with dark brown centers. They bloom profusely from mid-summer to fall and are beloved for their cheerful appearance and ease of care. They are excellent for attracting pollinators.
  5. Sedum (Sedum, various): These succulent perennials come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Sedum is heat and drought-tolerant, making it ideal for sunny, dry spots.
  6. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Known for its fragrant purple flower spikes and aromatic foliage, lavender is a staple in sunny gardens. It blooms in late spring to early summer and is used in aromatherapy and culinary applications. Lavender prefers well-drained soil and full sun.
  7. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): Yarrow features flat-topped clusters of small, long-lasting flowers in shades of white, yellow, pink, and red. Its fern-like foliage is aromatic. Yarrow is highly drought-tolerant and thrives in poor soils under full sun.
  8. Bee Balm (Monarda didyma): Bee Balm is known for its vibrant red, pink, purple, or white tubular flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. It has aromatic foliage and blooms from mid to late summer.
  9. Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum): Shasta Daisies have classic white petals with yellow centers and bloom from early summer to fall. They are easy to grow, drought-tolerant, and make great cut flowers.
  10. Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii): Catmint has aromatic, gray-green foliage and produces spikes of lavender-blue flowers from late spring to early fall. It is very hardy, drought-tolerant, and attracts pollinators.

Gardening Trends

In this month’s Gardening Trends, we are looking at Edible Landscaping. Edible landscaping has emerged as a popular trend in gardening, seamlessly blending aesthetics with functionality. One person’s annuals or perennials are another person’s garnish, snack, or dinner, with this innovative approach to garden design. The idea is to incorporate fruit trees, vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers into traditional landscaping, creating a beautiful and productive environment. Moreover, this trend reflects a broader shift towards sustainability and self-sufficiency, as people seek to minimize their carbon footprint and connect more deeply with their food sources. With its unique combination of visual appeal and practicality, edible landscaping is redefining the boundaries of modern gardening, making it both a stylish and sensible choice for garden enthusiasts. Curious about trying your hand at Edible Landscaping? Check out the list below for a few ideas on where you might start.

Fruit Trees and Shrubs

  • Apple Trees: Varieties like ‘Honeycrisp’ and ‘McIntosh’ are well-suited to Massachusetts’ climate.
  • Pear Trees: Varieties like ‘Bartlett’ and ‘Bosc’ are hardy and productive.
  • Blueberries: Northern highbush varieties such as ‘Bluecrop’ and ‘Jersey’ are excellent choices.
  • Raspberries: Varieties like ‘Heritage’ and ‘Boyne’ perform well in this region.


  • Tomatoes: Heirloom varieties like ‘Brandywine’ and ‘Cherokee Purple’ can be highly productive.
  • Leafy Greens: Kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are robust and grow well in Massachusetts.
  • Squash: Both summer varieties like ‘Zucchini’ and winter varieties like ‘Butternut’ thrive here.


  • Basil: Great for summer growth, particularly varieties like ‘Genovese’.
  • Thyme: Hardy and perennial, making it a low-maintenance choice.
  • Mint: Varieties like spearmint and peppermint are vigorous and aromatic.

Edible Flowers

  • Nasturtiums: These are easy to grow and add a peppery flavor to salads.
  • Calendula: Not only are they beautiful, but their petals can be used in teas and salads.
  • Daylilies: Both the buds and flowers are edible and can be used in various dishes.

Nut Trees

  • Hazelnuts: Hardy and productive, they make an excellent addition to edible landscapes.
  • Chestnuts: These trees can thrive in Massachusetts and provide a bountiful harvest.

Did You Know? – Fun Plant Facts

Camellia sinensis, often referred to as the ‘Mother of Tea’ plants, is the versatile shrub responsible for producing a vast array of popular, and mainstream teas. Native to East Asia, particularly the regions of China and India, this evergreen plant boasts leaves that can be processed into various types of tea, depending on the methods of cultivation, harvesting, and processing. From this single species, we derive the world’s major tea varieties: white, green, oolong, black, and Pu-erh tea, each with distinct characteristics and flavor profiles. The diversity in tea types from Camellia sinensis is largely attributed to the differences in oxidation and processing. White tea, the least processed of all, involves simply withering and drying the young leaves and buds, preserving their delicate flavor and high antioxidant content. Green tea is slightly more processed, with leaves being quickly steamed or pan-fired to prevent oxidation, resulting in a fresh, grassy taste. Oolong tea strikes a balance between green and black teas, with partial oxidation giving it a complex, aromatic profile that can range from floral to fruity. Black tea undergoes full oxidation, turning the leaves dark and enhancing their robust, bold flavors. Finally, Pu-erh tea, unique for its fermentation process, yields a rich, earthy taste that matures over time. Hot, iced, sugar, milk? How do you take your tea? I like them all, and this post is making me thirsty!


Greenery or Gear: Monthly Plant or Tool Spotlight

This month’s spotlight isn’t necessarily a plant, but a product for plants: the ever-popular Espoma ‘Tone’ line of organic fertilizers. Each type of Tone Fertilizer is formulated with a particular family of plants, or needs, in mind and addresses those specific requirements. They all, however, contain beneficial Bio-tone Microbes and long-lasting organics that break down slowly. This organic line is 100% natural and organically approved, safe for people, pets, and plants. They are naturally low in salts, so they won’t burn plants. As an added benefit, they are created in a solar-powered facility, so while you’re nourishing your plants, you’re also doing your part for the planet!

We proudly carry the following Tone products: Bio-tone Starter Plus, Rose-Tone, Citrus-Tone, Berry-Tone, Iron-Tone, Tree-Tone, Holly-Tone, Bulb-Tone, Garden-Tone, Flower-Tone, Tomato-Tone, and Plant-Tone, in 4, 5, 8, 18, and 36- pound bags.


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