The nature tips you’ll want to know this Summer!
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The Buck Moon, Hydrangeas, and the Bees

On Wednesday, July 13th, shortly after sunset, it will be the most prominent and brightest supermoon of the year. Its name? Buck Moon. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, it is named Buck Moon because it appears at the time of year when the male deer (buck) antlers are “in full-growth mode.” Bucks shed and regrow their antlers each year. As the years pass and they age, they regrow a more impressive set each year.

July is also a beautiful month in the garden. It is the month when hydrangeas begin to bloom in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. I am often asked, “why doesn’t my hydrangea bloom? I have lots of beautiful green leaves but only one or two or no flowers at all”. The answer to this question is often due to the type of hydrangea. As we are in Western Massachusetts, a macrophylla hydrangea does not do well in Zone 5.



It does much better in zones 6-9. The lack of flowers results from the macrophylla hydrangea producing its flowers, mainly on last year's growth. Extreme temperatures during the winter or spring frost will kill the flower buds, resulting in beautiful foliage and no flowers. We have had some success with protecting the canes with straw going into the winter; however, it is not full proof.

A paniculata hydrangea is a much better choice for our climate. It is zone hardy to Zone 3, being the most cold-hardy species. It is not, however, heat or drought-tolerant and may require supplemental watering during dry spells. Depending on your variety, they are adaptable to sun and shade. The flowers are produced on new wood, and the plant can be pruned in winter or early spring. They are very hardy, the most adaptable, and challenging to kill. There are numerous varieties for you to choose from.

July is a great month to keep up with the gardening chores to keep everything looking beautiful and prepare the garden for the fall. Some things to keep in mind –

  • The foliage from daffodil bulbs has generally turned yellow by now and can be cut back. It is essential to leave the foliage in place as long as possible.
  • It is now okay to give a hard cut back to nepeta, lady’s mantle, and perennial geraniums after the spring flush of flowering concludes.
  • Removing the spent blooms on peonies is best done now, and if the stems of the plants are firm enough to stand on their own, removing all supports is a good idea.   

Many of our newsletter readers have asked how the bees are doing; here are two short videos to bring you up to date.

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"Summer has a flavor like no other. Always fresh and simmered in sunshine."
— Oprah Winfrey

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We hope to hear from you!
Geri Jones, Owner

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