THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – FriDAy, MAy 17, 2024 Page 13 Saugus Gardens in the Spring Here’s what’s blooming in town this week to make your walks more enjoyable By Laura Eisener T he weather is becoming much nicer for walks any time of day or evening. Flowers are blooming everywhere, so it is easy to see why May’s full moon, which we will see next Thursday, May 23, is known as the flower moon. As you are enjoying the beautiful weather on your walks around town, remember to inhale! The fragrance of lilacs is in every neighborhood, and frequently the scent of new mown lawns. Both scents mean spring is in full swing. We are still seeing many tulips and some daffodil varieties, but there are quite a few perennials that are not grown from bulbs that are now blooming as well as trees and shrubs. Annuals, mostly tropical and tender plants that bloom all summer long, are out in the nurseries, but we are still not beyond the danger of frost. We may be lucky and not have another chilly night, but it is still a good idea to keep any annuals in pots that you can easily bring in for a night or two if necessary. Mine are grouped together on the porch or at least near a door where they can be gathered up at short notice or covered with a sheet or blanket. Little relatives of petunias often known as million bells (Calibrachoa hybrids) are popular annuals that can be found in a wide range of colors and double-blooming forms. One very intriguing variety is ‘Superbells Double Vintage Coral,’ which has multi-toned blossoms, including raspberry and corA glorious American elm at the intersection of Route 1 and Main Street is becoming greener every day. (Photo courtesy of Laura Eisener) al shades. But everyone plant shopping at this time of year is bound to come up with their own favorites. Lilacs were traditionally planted at the corners of homes in the 18th and 19th century and are still among the most popular shrubs despite the fact that there are many others that bloom more weeks in the year or have interest in other seasons, such as fall foliage color, evergreen leaves or attractive fruit or bark color. The traditional common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) is still the most popular, but other species have distinctive merits, including the variety ‘Lilac Sunday,’ which is loaded with flowers despite being planted in my garden just for years ago. This variety of Chinese lilac (Syringa chinensis) was named after the Arnold Arboretum’s Among the less common annuals available this spring are several double flowering superbells. (Photo courtesy of Laura Eisener) longtime spring event held each year when the lilac collection there is expected to be at its peak bloom. Frequently the date coincides with Mother’s Day, as it did this year. Because of the lilac’s fragrance, I usually cut a few branches to enjoy indoors. Our stairway has two landings, so I have put bouquets on each one to greet family members as we come downstairs in the mornings. One little arrangement includes the lilac branch, a coral-colored Iceland poppy (Papaver nudicaule), a few stems of evergreen candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) with its lacey white blossoms, a single violet from the lawn and a few sprigs of feathery fennel (Foeniculum vulgaris) foliage to add some green. All of these things are currently in bloom in my garden. The other landing has a clusOur “stairway flower show” currently has a trio of blooming waxed amaryllis bulbs. (Photo courtesy of Laura Eisener) ter of three waxed amaryllis bulbs, bought for Easter, which flowered a little later than expected, and are showing off their second stems now. They have been moved around the house for the past few weeks, as first one stem bloomed then a second one on each bulb. These waxed bulbs are a very low maintenance way to enjoy the flowers, though they are more difficult to keep from year to year than those that are planted in soil. They are a great plant for a spot where you don’t want any spilled water (since they don’t need watering) or a gift for someone who wants to do no maintenance at all. Trees and shrubs are leafing out all around. Maples and oaks have recognizable leaves at this point, while other woody plants like rose of Sharon (HiThe fragrance of lilacs is in the air. (Photo courtesy of Laura Eisener) Another display on the stairway landing is a small bouquet of flowers picked from the garden. (Photo courtesy of Laura Eisener) biscus syriacus) and buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) are barely showing any green at this point, let alone a recognizable leaf shape. The big American elm on Main Street near the high school, a vestige of the elms that once lined many streets in Saugus, is rapidly getting its full canopy of foliage. This one has survived for many years although Dutch elm disease destroyed many of its companions. Editor’s Note: Laura Eisener is a landscape design consultant who helps homeowners with landscape design, plant selection and placement of trees and shrubs, as well as perennials. She is a member of the Saugus Garden Club and offered to write a series of articles about “what’s blooming in town” shortly after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was inspired after seeing so many people taking up walking.

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