Hours: Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. * Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. * Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.* Closed on Mondays

1515 N. Dixie Highway in Lake Worth, FL--just south of West Palm Beach. (Click for Map) * info@ameliascapes.com * 561-540-6296

November 2016 Newsletter


Bees need our help!

Huge losses in bee populations began to happen in 2005 & 2006. The term 'Colony Collapse Disorder' was coined for this alarming situation. Worldwide researchers began to identify Neonicotinoids as the chief suspect. These are a relatively new class of nicotine based insecticides that affect the central nervous system of insects which result in paralysis and death. European countries banned their use in 2013. The United States has yet  to do so. In October of this year, seven species of yellow-faced bees native to Hawaii, were placed on the endangered species list. The Rusty-Patched (or Rusty-Faced) bumblebee of the eastern United States was also named to be added to the list. It is a main pollinator of cranberries.


This list is only a part of the fruits and vegetables that bees pollinate; avocados, apples, mangos, peaches, plums, guavas, citrus, okra, strawberries, macadamia nuts, cashews, coconuts, starfruit, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, eggplants, tomatoes, grapes, raspberries, blackberries, bell peppers, watermelon, figs, and coffee. Without bees, 30% of the world's food crops would fail. Imagine your dinner plate without 30% of your favorite foods.

What can we do? We can help by planting for the bees. We have observed the bees for years here at SmartyPlants. Here are plants you can add to your garden that we know bees love; Jatrophas, Durantas, Florida Hydrangeas, Sweet Almonds, Shrimp plants, Jasmines, Flame Vines, Heathers, Buttercups, and annual plants like Salvia and Snapdragons. Our seed packets "Save the Bees" is also a popular addition.

Lastly we can avoid using systemic insecticides in our own gardens. Systemic insecticides enter all the parts of a plant from the roots, stems, leaves, and ultimately flowers where the nectar is found. Use bee friendly methods of insect deterrents like insecticidal soaps, blasts from water from your hose, or organic sprays like neem oil or Organicide. The bees will thank us and we most certainly will thank the bees.
  Holiday Gift Ideas
   

As always at SmartyPlants, we have some unique gift items that can't be found elsewhere. Whether you need a present, an expression of appreciation, a hostess gift, or just an unusual gift we have something to fit the need. We have re-stocked our supply of creations by SmartyPlants. This includes saucers or bowls of cacti and succulents, driftwood adorned by tillandsias or bromeliads, numerous hanging baskets of assorted foliage plants, and unique containers like snail shells holding airplants and ferns. Each of these are custom made and eye-catching.

Our plants growing in mossed balls remain a favorite. Requiring only a good soaking once a week, these always get your attention. If you only need a poinsettia for the holidays, we have those, too.    

   Our Campo De Fiori line of pottery will also be on sale after Thanksgiving on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They will be 25% off!

We are closed Thanksgiving day.

Into Year Seven

Our anniversary was on November 2nd. We are now going into our seventh year at SmartyPlants! Many of you have been customers since 2010. Our customer base as well as our inventory has continued to grow proportionately each year. Paul, Marta, and the staff at SmartyPlants wish to give a big 'Thank you' to each of you. It says a lot when new first timers come in and say a friend told me to come here. 'Word-of-Mouth' is the best form of advertising. We are thankful to you all.  

October, 2016 Newsletter

Another Summer Behind Us

Hurricane Matthew's close approach to us was certainly a reminder of Mother Nature's forces. All of us in Palm Beach County dodged the proverbial 'bullet' and we all have added the term 'wobble' to our vocabulary. That slight wobble over the Bahamas turned Matthew just enough to keep the strongest bands of the eye-wall to our east. At SmartyPlants we spent two days preparing for the storm, then two days restoring after, we rescheduled plant deliveries and customer installs, but we are finally back on track. We hope you too are back on track, and we appreciate all of our customers who stopped by to see how we managed. With cooler temperatures now, after the hottest summer globally recorded and the anxiety caused by Matthew, we can be grateful to find ourselves on the other side of summer and of hurricane season practically unscathed. Our fall garden chores can now resume.

It is fertilizer time once again. Palms, trees, and shrubs need their food to help fortify them for the cooler and dryer season. Remember that trees and palms need one pound of slow-release fertilizer for every 3' of height. Woody shrubs require half that amount. We are well stocked with our Dr. Earth organic feeds as well as our Nurserymen's Sure-Gro synthetic line. Other useful additives include worm castings, fish emulsion, composted hen and cow manures, and seaweed concentrate.

For the herb and vegetable growers, adding a fresh two-inch layer of Organic Mechanics Soil or mushroom compost is an easy way to prep your beds to get young plants straight into the garden bed. This gives them a good start with a non-burning fertilizer around their roots. Otherwise, add a mild fertilizer to each plant as you dig the hole. 

Our organic seeds for herbs and vegetables have arrived just in time to start your edible gardens. Wildflower seeds for attracting bees and butterflies have also arrived. Many customers requested Lemongrass, and Lemongrass plants are here. Our start herb and vegetable plants have begun to find their way to SmartyPlants, but we will not be fully stocked for 3-4 more weeks. It was such a hot summer that many growers are releasing their crops later. Currently, we already have about 5 varieties of tomatoes in one-gallon containers plus a few herbs in 4.5-inch pots. Prepare for your tomatoes and taller plants like peppers and eggplants with growing cages, wire supports, stakes, and other tying options. Many of you have asked about winter annuals - Begonias, Geraniums, Alyssum, Pansies, and other cool-weather flowering plants. They too will find their way to SmartyPlants in 2-4 weeks.


Creating Hedges With Natives 

Native Hedges
A new trend in hedging is happening using native material. These plants bring a less formal look than Ficus, Podocarpus, or Eugenias. A mix of natives can provide the same privacy but requires less pruning than a single-plant hedge row. Layered hedges are also becoming the norm as they provide depth to the landscape. Choices for the tallest layer include Seagrape, Buttonwood, Firebush, Cocoplum, and Spanish or Simpson Stopper. Mid-height plants include Maidenbush, Wild or Bahamian Coffee, and consider Pineland Croton or Horizontal Cocoplum for lower-height plants. These natives also provide a habitat and food for wildlife, especially migratory birds. The contrast in leaf size, shape, color, and texture creates a natural 'woodland' feel yet provides screening and privacy. Is it a good time to plant a new hedge? The answer is "yes". We are still enjoying free water from the sky, and extreme temperatures have subsided at last, minimizing heat stress on new plantings.


Just Arrived


To help your seasonal decorating, we have beautiful glass pumpkins and gourds in various sizes and colors. These are not Jack-O-Lanterns but exquisitely hand-crafted reminders of fall. They are appropriate for Halloween and Thanksgiving as well, and they are priced to go home with you. 




From the...


SCOTT SIMMONS / FLORIDA WEEKLY

SMARTYPLANTS

cultivates a Zen approach to plants

SCOTT SIMMONS / FLORIDA WEEKLY
Most folks grew up with the neighborhood garden center. Remember those? Local folks sold flora guaranteed to bloom where it was planted.
Season ended for many of those local garden centers in the ’80s and ’90s, as big-box retailers came to the fore, often offering plants to the public at prices less than what those local retailers were paying wholesale.
But big-box retailers aren’t for everyone, and that’s where SmartyPlants comes in.
The Lake Worth store takes a Zen approach to garden centers, courtesy of owners Paul Harding and Marta Edwards.
New Age music plays in the background as wind chimes catch the breeze. Water splashes in the fountains as customers stroll among the plants. You can design your own space, or you can call on SmartyPlants to do it — the firm designs and maintains landscapes across South Florida.
Mr. Harding and Ms. Edwards took a break to share tips.
What tips would you offer customers to begin the process of decorating with plants?
Landscaping is truly decorating with plants and it is like anything else — there is a learning curve if this is something new to you. It is important to select a landscape theme that is congruent with the style of the house to be landscaped. Drive around to get ideas or the feel you want and determine how much maintenance you are willing to undertake. Explore Florida’s native plants as alternatives and consider creating a garden that brings butterflies and birds to your yard.
What are some questions clients should ask before spending a lot of money on plants?
The old adage “right plant, right place” is so important. Are the plants you like appropriate for the exposure and conditions throughout the day? Are those plants susceptible to pests? Also, when and how to properly prune and fertilize is important to know and implement so your plants will perform and meet longterm expectations.
Is there a favorite trend in tropical plants right now?
Tropical plants have always been popular and will continue to be popular especially for people who live here seasonally. They want lush colorful gardens, and who can blame them? For Floridians, there is a definite increase in desire to create butterfly gardens. Numerous people come in asking for butterfly host and nectar plants which is wonderful. We see a less steep trend but a noticeable one to create gardens that incorporate South Florida native plants in the landscape — they require less care in the long run than their tropical counterparts. And finally, a markedly upward trend can be observed in decorating with succulents. This can be a challenge in South Florida during wet summers, but it can be done. Succulents perform especially well during hot dry summers like we have been experiencing.
Which trends are you glad to see go away?
Sod! We are seeing more and more people give up on sod after replacing patches of their grass or replacing the entire yard multiple times. People say, “I want to sod the yard because I want low maintenance…” but this is inaccurate. Sod and low maintenance in the same sentence is an oxymoron. Sod requires regular water, regular fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide applications plus weekly mowing, which is a lot more than many shrubs or ground covers need.
Also, we’d like to say goodbye to the concept of creating a monoculture hedge, which entails using one plant along the entire length for screening or decorating purposes. Trimming is required less often on a non-monoculture hedge and plants may be allowed to grow in their natural shape and size. ¦
SmartyPlants 1515 N. Dixie Highway Lake Worth (561) 540- 6296; amelias- smartyplants.com

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