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Acer's Florist & Garden Center
Edition 15.36 Acer's Florist & Garden Center September 2015


Quotation of the Week:
"Step with care and great tact, and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act."
— Dr. Seuss

Farm Stand
Long Island's largest selection of chimineas! Keep the bugs away and roast marshmallows with the kids this summer!

One of September's most important and exciting jobs is to start buying and planting spring-flowering bulbs. Bulbs are easy plants to grow and will provide you with early spring color and bloom.

Buy Bulbs Now to Plant Later
Begin purchasing spring-flowering bulbs as soon as possible. They soon get picked over and sometimes put back in the wrong bins. A reliable local nursery is the best source of varieties that will do well in your climate zone, though some rare varieties can only be bought from catalogues or online. Choose the largest and fattest bulbs, because they produce the biggest blooms.

Among hardy bulbs some of the most popular are daffodils (Narcissus), hyacinths, Dutch irises (Iris xiphium hybrids), tulips, and crocuses.

Look for daffodils with three or more divisions. Don't pull them apart. If they're still connected, each point will produce a bloom. Feel them gently to make sure they're firm to the touch; softness means rot. Hyacinths perform best and give the most bloom if you buy large bulbs. Tulips have to be bought yearly. Don't buy "naked" tulip bulbs, ones that have lost their tunics (the brown papery skin), as they might be dried out.

Take your bulbs home but don't plant them yet. Getting them in the ground too early is a big mistake. Keep them cool and dry. Most spring flowering bulbs can be planted after the first frost - but wait longer for tulips, which may sprout if planted early.

Where To Plant
Most bulbs need full sunlight. Find an area that will provide them at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Early blooming bulbs may be planted under the canopy of deciduous trees or around deciduous shrubs (where they will get full sunlight until the leaves come in again). Combine bulbs with low growing groundcovers, or plant in the perennial border.

How To Plant
Most bulbs prefer a soil that drains well. Before you plant, we recommend working the soil deeply (or using a raised bed) and adding a good amendment to the soil. Also add a bulb fertilizer to promote root growth and spring flowering. Fertilize again in spring, just before flowering, to support foliage and increase bulb size--giving the plant more energy to produce beautiful blooms.

In general, you should plant bulbs twice as deep as their greatest diameter in a medium or heavy soil. In sandy soils, plant them about three times as deep. Put them in the soil with the pointed end up and the flat side down. To encourage root development, water them in well.

Should I use bone meal or bulb food when I plant my bulbs?

We recommend bone meal at the time of planting, then applying a balanced bulb food once the foliage appears above the soil line in late winter/early spring.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Nitrogen can burn the actual bulb, which only needs the phosphorus and potash from bone meal in order to stimulate rooting. But once the bulb is sending out a stem, it needs nitrogen to become strong so it won't bend over from the weight of the flowers that it sets. This is especially important for bulbs with large heavy flowers, such as tulips, ranunculus, and hyacinth.

It's also important to dig the holes or trenches a little deeper than the bulb needs to be, applying some bone meal below the bulb, then a little more soil so the bulb doesn't sit directly on the food but has access to the food as it sends out roots (got to give those roots some incentive to stretch).


With summer in its final throes, and autumn coming soon, garden herbs are as good as they’ll be before the cold starts to set in. Freshly harvested leaves are wonderful for cooking, but you might want to preserve some to use later in the year or to create sachets that will fill your home with wonderful scents.

There are two ways to air-dry your crop. The first is to hang it up. With large-leafed herbs such as basil, rosemary, and sage, snip off the leafy stems, then tie the cut ends together with string and hang the bundle upside down in a warm, dry place (out of direct sunlight) with good air circulation. The herbs should be dry and crisp in two to three weeks. You can then strip the leaves off the stems and store them in airtight container for later use. This method is also a great way to dry lavender.

The second way to dry herbs is to spread them out to dry. With fine-leafed herbs such as oregano and thyme, simply remove the foliage from stems and spread the leaves on a cookie sheet or piece of clean window screen and set in a warm, dry, airy place away from direct sun. Stir them up every few days to turn them over. Once the leaves feel crisp, you can store them in an airtight container for later use.


What You'll Need:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups chopped fresh plum tomatoes
  • 6 cups cooked and drained pasta (campanella, fusilli or small shells)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Step by Step:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Add minced garlic; sauté for 30 seconds.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated,
  4. stirring occasionally.
  5. Add pasta, basil, cheese, salt and pepper, tossing gently to combine.

Yield: 6 servings.


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