Gail's Garden: Picks of the Week

Each week I will provide you with my pick of plants, trees or shrubs that I find interesting, beautiful or new to the market. Stay tuned each week for my suggestions, recommendations and thoughts.

This week I’d like to focus on nostalgia. Plants loved by your parents and grandparents that never go out of style, unlike clothing!

My pick this week for a tree is the Dogwood or Cornus Florida. It’s a beautiful long - blooming native flowering tree, although it is susceptible to some diseases and pests. Try some of the newer more tolerant Rutgers hybrids.

Lilacs are blooming earlier than usual this year.  Normally they are ready for cutting around Mother’s Day but this year they are blooming very early so make sure to go out and pick some for your table or office.  This beautiful old -fashioned fragrance perfumes my entire house!  I love all the cultivars as long as they are fragrant!  

My pick for perennial this week is the Virginia Bluebells or Mertensia Virginica. This perennial has beautiful nodding bell-like flowers that begin as pink buds and turn into a bright lavender-blue above attractive blue-green foliage.  Plant in a shade to part-shade area amongst later shade perennials because the foliage will die back in early summer.


Gail Tunis is a Master Gardener and Garden Care Specialist/Manager at Borst Landscape & Design, located in Allendale, NJ.  Gail has completed certificate programs at Rutgers in Landscape Design and Tree and Shrub Identification, takes courses at New York botanical gardens, voraciously reads online gardening articles, and subscribes to at least six industry magazines in order to remain knowledgeable on new plant materials and new garden maintenance practices. Borst Landscape & Design is an award-winning, full-service landscape design/build firm specializing in large-scale residential and commercial projects throughout northern New Jersey. Founded in 1989, the company has received recognition from numerous national and industry organizations including the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association, the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) and Landscape Management magazine. Borst Landscape & Design is also the Grand Award winner of 40th Annual Environmental Improvement Awards from PLANET (Professional Landcare Network). The landscaping firm based in Allendale, New Jersey, focuses solely on "green" practices with Borst Organic®. This private-label line of organic products for lawn, tree and shrub care avoids synthetic fertilization and harsh chemicals. The holistic approach promotes optimum growing conditions and natural resistance to pests and diseases. 

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email Gail at info@borstlandscape.com or phone at 201-785-9400.

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