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Get Your Landscape Ready for Spring

It’s spring…and time to plant primrose, pansies and other early spring annuals and perennials like hellebores and dianthus. Blooming perennials and annuals add early color to your garden and brighten up not only a dreary landscape but also your mood!

The nursery at Shady Brook Farm is starting to fill up with all sorts of beautiful, cold tolerant plants, with truckloads literally arriving daily. If you don’t see what you want one day, check back the next for something new.

Not sure if it’s too early to plant a certain thing? If you find it outside in our Garden Center, then it’s safe to plant. Some tender annuals, like lettuce, do need to be covered if temps fall below 30 degrees. Using a flattened cardboard box or sheets of newspaper is just the ticket.

We love spring around here and are happy to help with all of your landscaping needs. We not only have annuals & perennials, but also all sorts of lawn care products. Karen, our Nursery manager, is always on hand with helpful tips and expert advice…as are all of our Garden Center staff. Come on in!

sandwich and beer

Foodie February

Shady Brook Farm is known for its farm fresh fruits and veggies most of the year but when the weather turns cold and no crops are coming in, other food offerings come into the spotlight. We have many talented folks around here making delicious creations, one of these being Maria Valles. Maria came to Shady Brook from Mexico 19 years ago with her husband, Gabino, and six of their 11 children, and we are lucky to have her! Maria makes hundreds of pounds of fresh guacamole and pico de gallo every year using her mother’s authentic Mexican recipe. Both are super popular with our customers and are THE PERFECT things to bring to a Super Bowl party or any gathering, really. Trust us, your friends will LOVE you for it! And you’ll come back for more. 

pico and guacamole

A brand new offering from our Kitchen is WINGS! We’ve got Terrence back there and he is one good cook. He whipped up a couple batches of wings a few weeks ago and they were a hit with the customers in our Stone’s Throw pub (which you need to visit if you haven’t yet…loads of locally brewed craft beer on tap). Terrence’s wings are baked as a healthier alternative to frying and come in all kinds: 8 Oaks Whiskey BBQ, honey BBQ, Teriyaki, hot, buffalo, garlic Parmesan (scrumptious!)…he’s a really creative guy. Add those to your Super Bowl party menu and you’ll be the winner for sure!

super bowl wings

In addition to those delicious things, our Gourmet Food manager has brought in all kinds of decadent cheeses and fancy crackers to go with them. If you love cheese, you’ll love our selection. Making up a cheese plate? Add some of our homegrown honey. Bob the Beekeeper just brought in a delivery of honey made from the hives right here at Shady Brook Farm. Sooo good!

honey

Just remember that even though it’s cold outside Shady Brook Farm is OPEN and has lots of foodie finds in store!

winter berries

Winterizing Your Perennial Garden

Fall is not the time to give up and ignore your perennial garden. Proper clean-up and pruning will ensure that the garden is even better next spring. Perennials fall into several general categories regarding their pruning needs:

lavendar

Shrubby perennials like lavender, Russian sage, and caryopteris (blue spirea) should not be hard-pruned in the fall. While a gentle “tidy up” trim is permissible, leave any hard pruning to the spring, when you can assess any winter-kill, and shape the plant for the coming season. Hard-pruning encourages a plant to flush out with new growth, exactly what is not wanted in the fall., as the new growth will likely be killed in a harsh winter.

daisies

Daisies, yarrow, rudbekia, salvia, and coneflowers keep a small low tuft of leaves through the winter. While birds will enjoy the seedheads, the tidy gardener will want to cut down the dead top growth and leave the low basal growth to over-winter.

heuchera

Heucheras, liriope, pulmonaria, and several other shade perennials require no pruning, and will actually stay fairly attractive over the winter. In the spring, the dead leaves can be pruned out to make room for the new growth.

lillies

Peonies, lilies, hostas, coreopsis, and many other perennials are killed to the ground by hard freezes. After the foliage blackens, it can be cut several inches about ground level (leave stubs so you remember where the plant is!). Diseased foliage should never be composted, but discarded in the trash.