March, 2014 Newsletter

Issue No. 25March 2014
Welcome to Amelia's SmartyPlants
Monthly Newsletter
Inside This Issue
Spring at SmartyPlants
Plant of the Month
New at SmartyPlants
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Hours of Operation:
Tuesday - Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. * Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. * Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
We are closed on Mondays 

Spring at SmartyPlants      
Where does time go?  It seems like just the other day we were celebrating Christmas (can't believe it's been that long). We are now celebrating spring!   

Spring has sprung and butterflies and bees are everywhere. We've already noticed Zebra Long Wings, Monarchs, Gulf Fritillaries, Swallowtails, Julias, and Sulfur butterflies. They are all here having a grand time, and so are we watching them. If you want to draw butterflies and keep them in your yard, consider adding host plants and nectar plants to your garden. If you have host plants, please don't spray them. Their purpose is to feed the caterpillars so they have enough energy until they become butterflies. You think "duh, of course don't spray them", but this isn't always obvious to everyone, especially lawn-service crews. Keep your pesticides in the garage for now, and add nectar plants to your garden so the butterflies have something to eat when they hatch. The caterpillars will most likely decimate your plant, but watch how quickly it regrows. It's an amazing thing that Mother Nature offers us. Butterflies and bees are not the only ones making an appearance this spring, so are baby birds and many other baby creatures. Consider putting noisy collars on your outdoor cats so the birds and butterflies have a chance to flee.  

A small list of butterfly host plants includes:
Giant Milkweed 
Dutchmen's Pipe vine
Passion vines
Wild Lime
Cassia (trees and shrubs) species

A small list of butterfly nectar plants includes:
Aloysia Sweet Almond
Scorpion Tail 

Although we are out of some of the plants on the above lists, we do our best to keep them in stock - and sometimes, they are decimated by caterpillars. 

Our specials thru the end of April are:

20% off Topiaries - We have a wide selection of Eugenia globulus compacta (slow grower with tight growth variety) topiary shapes and sizes.   

30% off Bottlebrush Bush - These guys make a great fast-growing hedge that is sure to delight you with red blossoms continuously throughout the year.   

20% off 25-gal. Adonidia (Christmas) Palms. They are huge and beautiful.  

Spanish pottery continues to be on sale, but now at 20% off. Since this has been a very popular item, we decided to continue the sale through the end of April.   

If you've read our previous spring newsletters, you already know that spring is perhaps the most important fertilizer application for your garden. If you want to skip a fertilizer application, don't skip this one. Spring is when plants will grow the most if they are given what they need. Because our soils are far from nutritionally rich, plants need supplements to grow and bloom. Please use slow-release fertilizers so they last and feed your plants consistently for the intended period, e.g., 3 months. Remember that mulch "eats" nitrogen, so move the mulch out of the way before applying fertilizer, and place mulch back in its place after applying the fertilizer. This will maximize the nutrients that reach your plants and it will keep your fertilizer in place so it's not carried away with runoff. Don't forget to water in well the fertilizer.

There are fertilizers and there are fertilizers. Ours are slow-release and sulfur coated. The sulfur creates sulfuric acid when exposed to moisture, thereby  lowering the pH of the soil below it. This is beneficial because sandy soils tend to be slightly alkaline. Having a nearly neutral pH makes the nutrients soluble and available for the plants to uptake and use. 

Essential minor elements - manganese, magnesium, and iron - are a must for palms, hence the term "essential". Our fertilizers contain a nice package of these elements, but an additional application of these very important nutrients is like insurance policy that prevent nutrient deficiencies common in palms like frizzle top.

Spring is also a good time to prune dead wood in shrubs and roses. The wounds should heal quickly as every part of the plant grows more quickly in the spring than any other time of the year, provided you maintain a healthy plant.  

Spring is also a good time to remulch your beds in preparation for the warm summer months when more evaporation takes place. As we've mentioned before, pine needles are a great option to mulch, especially if the summer happens to be wet. Mulch compacts and can be susceptible to mold with heat and moisture. Pine needles allow for good air flow, thus reducing the opportunity for mold to set in and breed. Instead of "eating" nitrogen, pine needles deliver a small amount of it as they decompose, thus providing another benefit to your plants. 

Plant of the Month
The Eugenia coronata is an excellent hedge plant if you are looking for something different. Its small leaf makes it suitable for smaller spaces, and if you don't like to spend time constantly trimming your hedge, this slow grower is for you. It is also suitable as an accent plant in the garden or in a pot. It offers a small fragrant white flower on-and-off throughout the year that bees and butterflies will appreciate. We offer it in 3-gal. pots, and we have a 15-gal. plant to show you what it can become in 2-3 years.

New at SmartyPlants

One of the fun parts of our job is to continuously look for new good-quality useful products. We've added a few exciting items, i.e., an assortment of outdoor rug styles and sizes (same type as before but a different vendor); glass pieces for the home and garden including solar powered lights; another line of organic fertilizers for lawns, landscapes, and fruits and veggies; some unusual plants that we recently encountered; an incredible selection of glazed pottery; and much more. Stop by to see what's new at SmartyPlants.

We appreciate your continued support.

Marta Edwards and Paul Harding
Amelia's SmartyPlants
Your Full-Service Garden Center

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