WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/936516

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Page 59 of 227

Besides running help lines — for phone, email, and walk-ins — at Elm Bank and Tower Hill Botanic Garden, the Master Gardeners volunteer at horticultural sites, help establish school and community gardens, staff booths at fairs and farmers' markets, and give lectures and symposiums. The Master Gardeners pro- gram exists nationwide, sort of a suburban counterpart to the rural agricultural farm agent. In most states, the groups are attached to a university; the local association is independent, although affiliated with Mass Hort, Tower Hill, the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts, and the New England Wildflower Society. The fatalities Skinner and her fellow Master Gardeners investigate tend to be of the botanical, rather than the homicidal variety. But the plant world does have its share of lethal characters. Take the daffodil, a flora fatale if there ever was one. Don't place them in a vase with mixed flowers or intersperse their bulbs with other types in a garden bed. But since daffodils are toxic to animals as well, they serve as a natu- ral barrier to keep hungry deer, chipmunks, and other critters out of your garden. That's just one piece of gardening advice I picked up as I sat in at the Elm Bank hotline last fall. I also learned that tulips like a splash a vodka and that if you want to stagger when your bulbs emerge, plant some of them with the roots to the side rather than straight down. F O L I O I M A G E S Now that it's spring, you may be wondering why squirrels are fran- tically scratching about your garden. They're looking for the acorns they hid last fall. "They have no idea where they buried them," said Skinner, who works professionally as an educational consultant while volunteering as coordinator of the Master Gardeners' continuing edu- cation program. No calls came in that mid-November morning, but emails did. A Cape Cod resident wondered why two of the eight Emerald Green arborvitae lining a stockade fence had died. The homeowner had been assured by the landscaper who planted the bushes that they'd fine so long as they didn't touch the fence. Joan Parker, the help line coordinator and a Master Gardener from Medford, pounced on the holes in the mystery: "They don't tell us about the exposure, sun or shade; how they maintain shrubs; whether they're 58 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 8 Master Gardeners

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