Archive for the ‘Billerica Farmers Market’ Category

July’s Hot Time in the Summertime – guest blogger Annette Presseau

Welcome once again to guest blogger Annette Presseau from the Billerica Garden Club.   Gardening and making our homes stand out from the rest is a year round activity….  And every once and a while take a break from your garden to enjoy the Farmer’s Markets (Billerica’s Farmer’s Market is every Monday from 3pm to 7pm Rain or Shine on the lawn of the Billerica Senior Center thru October 22nd)  Joan Parcewski  Woods Real Estate 


Summer has arrived!

As I look around my flower garden I see a lot of weeding to do and usually I do this early in the morning because it is the coolest time of the day or late in the evening when things cool off I save the afternoon to be in air-conditioning!  My flowers are coming up beautifully.  In my flower garden I’m constantly changing things around especially if they are in pots sometimes it will look better in another part of my garden instead of where it is.  That’s the beauty of having plants in pots its fun to change them around the garden!


I like to check out the Farmers Markets this time of year too they have all sorts of stuff at Farmers Markets especially fresh vegetables grown by local farmers.  Now is also a good time also to check out farms in the area it is a great time to pick blueberries.  Last year I went to Parlee Farms here in Massachusetts and picked a whole bunch of blueberries and they were great so check out the farms in your area to see what fruits are ready for picking.



If you didn’t put something in place for watering like soaker hoses you need to water your plants on a regular basis.  Water deeply and thoroughly as needed this is very important if you want beautiful plants and also water first thing in the morning or late in the evening not in the middle of the day.  One of the more damaging, and wasteful, practices of summer is watering for a few minutes every few days. Light irrigation promotes a shallow root system which can easily be injured by summer drought. Apply water slowly over a longer period of time to allow the soil to be wetted to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. This will promote a deeper, more extensive, healthy root system. Physically check the soil next time you water to find out how deep you are watering. This will also help you to water less often.


Also, this is a great time to put in a water garden or even maybe just a water fountain for effect.  I usually place a small water fountain in the front of my yard and I love to watch the birds drink from it or take a bath in it.  Use your imagination it’s surprising what you can add to a garden to give it that special effect.  You can visit some botanical gardens to get some ideas.
House Plants


This is a great time to take your house plants outside and watch them grow.  I just put out a few of my house plants yesterday.  Some house plants like being outdoors just check on your particular plant to make sure it will survive outdoors.  This is also a good time to repot your houseplants and put them into bigger pots and to fertilize them.



Container gardens and Hanging Baskets

Containers and hanging baskets dry out faster than plants in the ground and require daily watering as plants grow larger and if the weather is hot and windy.

One thing to note that frequent watering to the point where water runs out of the drain holes in containers will leach out fertilizer and plants may start to have yellow or purplish foliage and fewer flowers.  It is a good idea to use a water soluble fertilizer at ½ the label rate every week to keep container gardens and hanging basket plants growing and healthy.

Flower Gardens

Annual and perennial flower plants are available at garden centers all summer and new plants can be added to fill in bare spots or add color at any time or to even replace a plant that has died.  Add compost or peat moss to planting areas to help hold water and water new plants regularly until they are established.

Deadhead large flowered plants such as geraniums, daylilies and lilies to prevent seed formation, encourage re-bloom and keep plants more attractive


Don’t allow weeds to go to seed.  Mulch will help control weeds, keeps soil cooler and add organic matter to the soil as it breaks down.


Garden beds can be edged with a sharp spade or power edger. Grass can be prevented from creeping into gardens with a carefully applied application of Roundup herbicide. Roundup will damage any green plants and needs to be applied very carefully on a calm day.


Stake tall, floppy plants such as delphiniums, balloon flower and dahlias otherwise you will not be able to enjoy the beautiful display of flowers that the plant produces.


Monitor plants for insect pests such as aphids and control large infestations with insecticidal soap.


Don’t be afraid to cut flowers for indoor bouquets and arrangements.  Cutting flowers actually encourages re-bloom in some species.


Trees and Shrubs

July is a good month to prune maples and birch and other trees that bleed when pruned in late winter.

Both evergreen and deciduous shrubs may be shaped or informally sheared to keep plants full to the center and stay within available space. Woodchip or bark mulch will help control weeds and gradually improves the soil as it breaks down.  I often see too much mulch piled up under a tree note that you only need a few inches of mulch not 12” of it if you put too much mulch it will harm the tree and will cause the bark to rot.


Garden Centers


Check garden centers for markdowns and start planning your fall garden.  You can get some great deals on perennials for next year.


Other flowers


Summer blooming perennials (like mallow hibiscus) and annuals can be induced to bloom more if you will remove flowers as they fade. The plant’s energy required to ripen seed will be then be redirected to produce new flowers for your enjoyment.

Butterfly Gardens

To attract a variety of butterflies to your garden you need a mixture of spring and summer nectar producing flowers for them to feed on. Butterflies lay their eggs on plants that the newly hatched caterpillars will eat. Here are some of the plants that butterflies like.

  • Herbs: Sage, Hyssop, Thyme, Dill*,      Catnip, Lavender, Parsley*, and Common Rue*.
  • Wildflowers: Queen Anne’s Lace*, Bee Balm,      Goldenrod, Red Clover*, Milkweed*, Purple Coneflower, and Butterfly Weed*
  • Vegetables (let flower): Cabbage*, Kale*,      and Broccoli*
  • Misc.      plants: Globe thistle, Yarrow, French      Marigolds, Sunset Cosmos, Mexican Sunflowers, Phlox, and Alfalfa*.      (*especially good)

Check for bugs


Always check to see if any bugs are on your plants especially Roses and make sure you deadhead your plants for two reasons one to promote more flowers and the other is the get rid of bugs that might be on them.


Gardens to check


Get out and check out the gardens that are in your area recently while on vacation I went to see the Botanical gardens in St. Louis, Missouri and I had a great time looking at all the flowers and plants.  In Massachusetts there is a place called “Garden In the Woods” that is a awesome place to visit so get out there and take some pictures and dream about your garden next year!


By the way July is National Ice Cream month wouldn’t it be great to have some fresh blueberries with vanilla ice cream?!


Happy Gardening!


Farmers Markets Are Back

There are a few that are winters farmers markets that are indoors and open during the winter months – But now the outdoor markets either have or will shortly be opening.  Remember that farmers markets are for farms, those who make fresh food, specialty foods (eg sugar free) etc.  They are a place for socializing and buying.  Support your local farmers market – They help you eat nutritious.   For those who like to travel around to the different markets, here are the ones opening by the end of June

Andover –  Opens June 30th  Saturdays 12:30 to 3:30    at 97 Main Street

Arlington – Opened June 13th  Wednesdays 2pm to 6pm  at Russell Common in Arlington Center

Billerica – Opens June 25th   Mondays 3pm to 7pm  Billerica COA lawn in Billerica Ctr

Carlisle – Opened June 16th  Saturdays 8am to noon  Kimball Farm in Carlisle

Lexington – Opened May 29th   Tuesdays 2 – 6:30pm  corner Mass Ave/Woburn/Fletcher

Stoneham/Farm Hill Farmers Market – Opened June 14th  Tuesdays 2pm to 6pm Stoneham Town Common

Wakefield – Opens June 23rd  Saturdays 9am to 1pm  Hall Park  North Ave Lakeside

Westford – Opened June 19th   Tuesdays 2:30 to 6:30  NE Historic Town Common

Wilmington – Opened June 17th  Sundays 10:30 to 1:30  corner Middlesex Ave and School Street

Woburn Farmers Market – Opened June 10th  Sundays 10 to 2   41 Wyman St

More will open in July and a few in August – and the season will be in full swing

For more information on MA farmers markets – promoting locally grown – visit and you will find a complete list throughout the state.  It will be fun for the family – as you travel this summer – to find a local market – eat health and have some fun!


May – The Elixir of Dreams

Billerica MA is very lucky to have a busy Garden Club who maintains the area around the center and many other parts of town to make it a pleasure to drive and walk around.  They decorate the Clara Sexton House at the Holidays, work with seniors at Brightview Concord River Assisted Living in maintaining a small garden. 

They take every opportunity to brighten the landscape of Billerica and help others do the same.  Last year they became involved with starting a Farmer’s Market in Billerica Center that runs from the end of June to the end of October.  Their success translates into a return performance this year.

Many thanks to Billerica Garden Club member and guest blogger Annette Presseau. 


My Dream Garden

As I’m writing this Blog I’m sitting on my deck in 78 degree total sunshine light breeze weather and my mind is dreaming of this beautiful garden that I would love to have in my back yard.  I absolutely love this time of year and the crickets are singing along with many birds which are so beautiful to listen to.  I can also see that I need to do some cleaning up in my yard but one step at a time.  This year I want to plant something in memory of my mother she loved Azalea’s so I’m looking for a summer azalea to plant in my yard.  Memorial Day is coming up and I can get started planting all my flowers in I always wait until Memorial Day to plant most flowers because up here in New England we can get a frost in May.  Check out the website on My Dream Gardens and how they talk about a management method where you manage the amount of time you spend in your garden so that you remember to take a break it is a very interesting website:


I can be in the garden for hours and forget the time and usually forget to take a break my mother used to work with me in the garden up until she was in her 80’s and she was my time management and I would see here getting tired and then I knew it was time to take a break.  Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of butterflies around and they are so beautiful I’m amazed at them.  Check out any butterfly gardens in your area there is one here in Westford Massachusetts see the website:



Flower blooms everywhere

This year it isn’t difficult to find blooms everywhere because of the nice weather we have been having up here in New England.  When I go out somewhere and someone else is driving I look at peoples gardens as we drive by and there are some beautiful gardens out there.  Now is the time to weed out the bad and keep what is doing well and experiment and plant some new ideas.  I’ve even found plants that I thought had died growing!  I plan to have a raised garden this year with just one kind of annuals usually I plant a variety because I love having the different colors in the garden but this year I thought I would be different and see what happens who knows maybe it will become a tradition.  I just love seeing a grouping of the same annuals together it is very striking to look at.  I have 3 large Rhododendrons in my yard that are blooming profusely they are pink flowers and are just gorgeous to look at. What’s blooming in your garden?



Aerate your flower beds

A good practice is to aerate your flower beds I usually do this before I plant any flowers it helps to loosen the soil and makes better and more beautiful flowers.  You probably already did this in the fall or last month so you should be all set but if you didn’t now is a good time to check your soil and add something to it so that your flowers will become big and beautiful.



Visit a garden

Check out this website on the Blithewold gardens in Bristol, Rhode Island all I can say is “wow”  It’s great to visit different expert gardens so that one can visualize what they might want to see in their own garden.  Every time I go to these places I get some great ideas and also see different flowers blooming that possibly would look good in my flower garden.  Check out Garden in the Woods website for events it’s a really great place to visit:  it’s also a great place to see native plants sometimes we forget about planting what is native in our area and the plants can be really stunning to look at.  Also, people have garden tours at their homes so check a few out and get some great gardening ideas.  There are many places that you can visit this time of year.  You can even join a Garden Club they have many great speakers and one can learn a lot about gardening there.


Evasive Plants

When I first started gardening I always thought of evasive plants as weeds and in a sense they are weeds but are very difficult to control and there is a huge list of them which people are not supposed to sell but they do so check out the list and you will be surprised at how many are on there.  Here is a website of evasive plants in Massachusetts:

It’s interesting to check it out and see if you have any in your yard every state has a different list so check your state.  In my yard I have burning bushes four of them no less and they have been here before I moved but I’ve chopped them down and they come right back some day I will try to completely remove them.  I wasn’t even aware that burning bushes are evasive until I heard people talking about evasive plants and I checked the list out.


Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Check out this website on the 15th of every month to go out in the garden and take pictures and post to your blog?  I think it is a great idea.  I can’t wait until my Peonies start to bloom!  This is also a great way to keep a log book of what your garden looks like at different months of the year then you can plan out next year as to what you think will grow best in your garden.


Herbs in a Flower Garden

Consider adding Herbs in your flower garden they will give a nice smell they are great to look at and you can eat them.  Check this website out:  You can add rosemary, sage, mint, thymes, oregano, lavenders, lemon grass just to name a few and you can plant them in containers you don’t have to plant them in the ground.


I love the cat in the picture!  Add different ornamental stuff to accent your garden.  Ornaments in the garden add different dimensions and are eye catching.  Put a rabbit statue in one spot or maybe place a water fountain in another use your imagination and before you know it there will be something peaking out at you when you walk around your garden!


Ornamental Grasses

Don’t forget to add Ornamental Grasses for a backdrop in your flower garden they provide texture, uniqueness and beauty to your garden they are easy to grow and maintain and will evolve with the seasons.  They are a great addition to the garden because they produce full green foliage all season and then wow in the summer to fall with their interesting, feathery plumes.


Making a Rock Garden

Have you ever thought of making a rock garden?  Do you have a sloped or awkward piece of land that you are having trouble planting? Rock Gardens not only provide a low-maintenance, long-lasting solution to those hard-to-plant places, but are aesthetically pleasing by contrasting rough, jagged rocks with delicate, gorgeous blooms. They are actually quite simple to create – All you need is time, rocks (which can often be found on your property) and a few durable, low-maintenance plants. Once complete, the rewards of the Rock Garden will pay for the effort ten times over.  Check out this blog on how to make a Rock Garden for more information:


So I hope some of these ideas will get you started in the right direction I’m off now to work in my garden.


Happy Gardening!

Annette Presseau


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