, Salem, MA


April 25, 2014

North Shore Gardener: What plants keep mosquitoes away?


Q: After the holidays were over, I put away some table linens, only to discover some large brown/orange stains on the tablecloth. The cloth was stained by a lily, but the stain simply didn’t budge. I brushed it off, then threw it in the washer — twice! How can I get the stain out? And what can I do if it ever happens again?

A: That brownish stain is from the pollen of the lily — probably your Easter lily. All lilies have these pollen sacks. The easiest thing to do to prevent stains in the future is to remove the pollen sacks very carefully by hand, or ask your garden center or florist to do it before you take it home and take it in the house. Having said this, the stain is already there, so there is not a lot you can do. Whatever you do, don’t try to brush the pollen off — you’ll just make it worse. Take it outside and shake the garment or linen as hard as you can, then wash with an enzyme stain remover added to the wash water. Examine the garment carefully. If the stain still exists, rewash it once or twice more. Whatever you do, don’t machine dry it until the stain is gone. Machine drying heat will set the stain forever.

Q: When should I add lime to my lawn? I see several neighbors out with their spreaders. How much lime should be applied to the lawn?

A: Before using any soil additive or enhancer, you must test the soil first, every three to five years or so — it will vary. Buy an inexpensive test kit at any garden center. New England soil is naturally very acidic, and much of the soil in our area requires lime every few years.

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