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

February 2017 Valentine's Greetings

Flowering Trees Show Signs of Spring
Spring is just around the corner and Dixie Highway is about to erupt with the brilliant yellow flowers on the numerous Tabebuia argenteas. Also called Yellow Tabebuia or Silver Trumpet trees, these displays of yellow flower clusters are spectacular. The trees are also distinguished by their craggy, cork-like bark and twisted trunks and branches. Though they have a short bloom period of a few weeks, there is hardly another specimen tree that creates such beauty while it lasts.

Other early-spring bloomers are Tibouchinas. Three that do well in South Florida are Tibouchina granulosa or Purple Glory tree, Tibouchina urvilleana or Princess Flower, and Tibouchina lepidota, a smaller variety that grows to four feet. This variety was developed in Australia in the 1960s. It has become very popular in South Florida given we have the same climate. Three times a year, Tibouchinas all create a display of deep, rich purple flowers. Help them to stay healthy and to bloom prolifically by fertilizing them regularly. SmartyPlants currently offers Tibouchina lepidota in tree or standard form and also a newer hybrid called Hibble Dibble. This new hybrid has showy large light-purple flowers that call on pollinators. We plan to have Purple Glory trees later in the week as well.   

Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 14th is Valentine's Day. SmartyPlants has a wide variety of "one-of-a-kind" gifts. While cut flowers and chocolates may last a week, give your special someone the gift that may last for years. Fairy Gardens, foliage dish gardens, wind chimes, bromeliads on driftwood, or tillandsias in shells are all unique choices. For the traditional rose giver, try the 'Florida Cracer' rose. It is the antique rose called Louis Philippe, which climbs to about 6 feet. Alternately, the 'Picnic Rose' is a mounding rose bush that grows to 3 to 4 feet. It resists the insects and fungus that attack hybrid roses, and it is an excellent rose for a border hedge or potted specimen. 

Lake Worth Festival of Trees

The 12th Annual Festival of Trees will be held on Saturday, February 18th, from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the Cultural Plaza at 414 Lake Ave in downtown Lake Worth. This year the festival theme is "Birds, Bees, and Trees". This event is free to the public and makes for a pleasant day. Four brief talks are also scheduled. SmartyPlants will be at their usual spot on the southwest corner across from TooJays. Stop by and see us. 


Bringing Birds to Your Garden

As we welcome the New Year, we also welcome our migratory feathered friends from the freezing north. Many bird species use South Florida as a stopover for their travels to warmer winter climates. Enjoy spotting bluejays, cardinals, or hummingbirds making their way through your garden. Jays, sparrows, and cardinals are "frugivores", eating fruits and seeds. Robins, warblers, and woodpeckers are primarily "insectivores", dining on insects. And hummingbirds are solely "nectivores", feeding on nectar. No matter the size of your home or office, any balcony, terrace, or yard can be an inviting retreat for our feathered travelers.

Planting Florida-native trees and shrubs can provide a primary food source. Natives provide fruit, seeds, insects and shelter. Adding trees like Pigeon Plum, Seagrape, or Gumbo Limbo is a great place to start. Shrub additions like Mulberry, Cocoplum, Wild Coffee, Wax Myrtle, Tetrazygia, Spicewood, Firebush, Beautyberry, Myrsine, and Necklace Pod provide seeds, nectar, and insects. Who would have thought that dead trees are the best source of insects? Instead of removing a dead tree, use it to hang orchids and bromeliads, while allowing insects to make a home. You may just turn a dead tree into the best bird restaurant ever. 

As for water sources, most people think of a conventional birdbath. While these do serve a function, the constant maintenance to provide a clean water source can make gardeners crazy. According to James A. Kushlan and Kirsten Hines (Attracting Birds to South Florida Gardens), the best place for a water feature is on or in the ground. You can place any shallow vessel like a terracotta saucer, pie pan, or garbage-can lid; and you can add some stones to provide different water depths and fill with water. This can be done on the lawn, under shrubs, or on a patio. As birds are attracted to water movement, a solar-powered pump can assist. Water-moving gadgets, like a filtration bubbler, can be found at aquarium-supply stores. Moving water also prevents mosquitoes from laying their eggs.
Do birds sleep? Why, yes they do! Taller trees or larger shrubs provide shelter from the weather and allow the birds to rest safely. Their outer leaves provide a canopy of protection by camouflage while their open inner branching acts as a sleeping perch. Weeping Podocarpus, though not a Florida native, is one of many excellent birding trees.

Following these tips to provide food, water, and shelter will bring new flying additions to your garden and help our friends on their way to warm horizons!

  Plant of the Month  
Red Firespike (Odontonema strictum) and purple Firespike (Odontonema callistachyum) are covered in flower buds and are looking awesome this winter! They are one of the main nectar sources for butterflies and hummingbirds. These plants normally grow in an upright habit to about 5 or 6 feet, which makes them a good choice for small spaces. As a bonus, they bloom off-and-on throughout the year, and they bloom in shade and sun. They are a part of the "fire-trio" along with Firebush and Firecracker that attract hummingbirds. Firespikes need moderate water and are best in part shade during the hot summer months.
20% off red and purple FIRESPIKE through January 31
Florida Native Wildflowers  
Florida native wildflowers are beautiful, hardy, and make a wonderful addition to any landscape. In the wild, at this time of year, most of these colorful plants have bloomed and died back or are otherwise now at rest. However, the bounty of seeds they left behind during their last wildflower show is now starting to work its magic on forest floors, moist prairies, and beach dunes across the peninsula. Here in South Florida, wildflower seeds start to sprout in mid-winter, and so now is the time to sow them if you want to enjoy a symphony of color next spring, summer, and fall. We just stocked up on native wildflower seeds; the selection is diverse with a full spectrum of colors for both dry and moist conditions. Sow some seeds today; the butterflies, bees, and other native pollinators will love you for it!

New Items & Oldies But Goodies
SmartyPlants is re-stocked for the New Year with some of the oldies but goodies and with many new exciting and unique quality items. New arrivals include gorgeous fountains, colorful pots, unique statuary, musical wind chimes, and authentic Talavera pottery. We have increased our selection of fairies and accessories for our fairy gardens; and we have re-stocked our glass yard ornaments with flowers, glass bloom spikes, and colorful mushrooms. Come see for yourself; we look forward to your visit.

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.  

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