Stock up on flowering plants, shrubs and vines now and be ready for next season

Stock up on flowering plants, shrubs and vines now and be ready for next season

Whether you're new to your home or an experienced gardener, knowing when to buy plants and shrubs can save you money.

Now is a good time to shop, plant new trees, and climb vines and shrubs. You can put them in the ground now and they will be ready to bloom in the spring!

One of the favorite additions to lawns and gardens that you can buy now is the climbing hydrangea.

This climbing vine grows and flowers in the shade, and has beautiful white flowers in summer, yellow foliage in fall, and cinnamon-colored bark in winter.

Plan where your climbing vine will grow best, as it can reach 40 to 50 feet tall.

Climbing hydrangea grows on the north side of homes and even flowers on the north side of a house or building.

More bang for the buck: This climbing vine has four interesting seasons.

In the spring, the bright green leaves bloom and create a beautiful visual barrier on the side of a barn, garage or house.

In summer, climbing hydrangeas feature white petals that open into lace-like flowers, loved by bees and pollinators.

In the fall, the foliage turns yellow, then once all the leaves fall in the winter, this climbing vine has bark that turns cinnamon color causing it to peel.

However, climbing hydrangea is very slow to get going. If you plant now, it may take up to three years for it to become established and begin to grow and flower.

These hydrangeas also cling to aerial roots like the Virginia hydrangeas you might see on old brick buildings in New England.

Also note that if you plant it too close to your home and it starts climbing up the vinyl or wood siding on your home, it can become a problem. Eventually it can cause moisture and rot.

Instead, create a sturdy trellis structure that you can attach to your house or barn, then plant climbing hydrangeas on top of the trellis.

One cultivar, called Miranda, has variegated leaves in white and green. Another species called Firefly has yellow-green leaves. And if you really want something a little unusual, you can try Japanese climbing hydrangea with pink flowers.

Q: I grew two pumpkin plants this year to eventually turn into dried pumpkin birdhouses in a 20-gallon grow bag. The plants have done very well and I have some lovely pumpkins, almost ready to be dried. Unfortunately, powdery mildew also grew well on the plants. I have been able to control it to some extent by using neem oil spray and pruning the affected leaves. Now I'm wondering if I can reuse this grow bag and any/all of the soil? Kim in South Burlington

Mildew on squash is not unusual, especially on the leaves.

While you're harvesting those pumpkins, wipe them down with a cloth dampened with a 10% bleach solution. This will kill any mold spores or fungi that may be causing the skin to rot.

As far as soil is concerned, powdery mildew is present everywhere in the environment. You'll get it every year depending on the weather and how humid it is.

If the soil is healthy, and you have no other problems with it, keep reusing it.

Question: I'm pretty sure the largest number of earthworms showing up this year in our vegetable garden are crazy worms. It looks like some of the pictures shown online. How anxious should I be? What, if anything, can be done? -Vail, in West Lebanon, New Hampshire

Snakeworms (also called crazy worms or jumping worms) in your garden can make your soil less fertile. This is because these worms eat a large amount of all organic materials.

Ridding your garden of them will help the soil revive and there are some techniques you can try. The research and information collected by Joseph Joris at the University of Vermont contains useful information. As is the Cornell Cooperative Extension website.

One method you can try involves mustard and hot water. First, mix 1/3 cup of yellow mustard seeds in a gallon of water and sprinkle it on your lawn.

Worms don't like mustard and this will push them to the surface. Once they appear, remove them from the soil, place them in a plastic bag and leave them for a few days.

Sprinkling diatomaceous earth or biochar on the top layers of soil can also help rid your garden of caecilians.

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