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Gardening in the Northeast

Baptisia australis var. minor

Baptisia australis var. minor
Photo: Ozarks Regional Herbarium

Rain fell big time on the Northeast mid-May, and reports from the Boston area are of lush green gardens. But once temperatures start to crank and gardens start to crack, the hot breath of drought will likely be felt throughout the region, and water restrictions are quite likely. Poor southern Maine! Trouble's been brewing there since last summer. Inland gardeners, be brave.

Hot Tips
Now's the time for a container garden filled with moisture-retaining polymers. Wait, it's better than it sounds. When planting big pots of annuals, grasses and perennials (sure, stuff 'em all in there), mix your potting soil with these gelatin-like crystals, and make a watering can's worth go three times as far.

Talking Plants for the Northeast
Here's a list of five strong growers hand-picked by the DoD and Horticulture Magazine's Tom Fischer. "Don't invest in any plants that can't take neglect", says Tom. Time to hold off on that new Japanese maple and make do with a few tough perennials:

Russian Sage (Perovskia species, including P. filigran)
Green Lavender Cotton (Santolina virens)
White Wild Indigo (Baptisia alba; frankly, any species will do)
Aromatic Aster (Aster oblongifolius 'October Skies')
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)

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Copyright © 2003 National Public Radio, Washington, D.C.