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Acer's Florist & Garden Center
Edition . Acer's Florist & Garden Center

pansies and spring flowers
Do you know that Acer's offers free
computerized landscape design?
Call (631) 343-7123 or send pics to Jim@acersgardencenter.com.
Seeds and seed starting kits

Seeds and seed starter kits are here; get a jump on spring flowers and vegetables!

Nursery Stock

Long Island's largest selection of chimineas!
Keep the chill of at bay while your family and friends are over to play!

Growing Dahlias

Dahlias are one of the most popular and prolific summer bulbs, and have been winning the hearts of home gardeners for many years. So much hybridizing of new varieties has been done over the years that one can find dahlias in almost every color combination possible. Their long blooming season makes them a perfect addition to any perennial border, and their exotic looking flowers and brilliant colors will make any garden shine.

The flower shapes vary. You can find anemone-type flowers, frilly cactus-type flowers, decorative peony-type flowers, pom-pom shaped, low-growing dwarfs, mignon, water lily-shaped flowers, and even the giant dinner plate dahlias, whose flowers can reach 8"-12" inches in diameter.

A member of the daisy family, this Mexican plant thrives in sunny locations and warm temperatures. Dahlia bulbs are not winter hardy; the first good frost will make them turn black rather quickly. The best time to plant them is in spring any time after the last spring frost.

Some gardeners will try to get a jump on spring by potting up their dahlia bulbs indoors 6 weeks before they plant them outdoors. You will increase the bushiness of the plant by pinching off the main growing tips three weeks after you plant--regardless of when you plant them. This helps develop more stems and a lot more flowers throughout the growing season.

Dahlias grow best in well-drained soil that has been well amended with an organic planting mix. When planting, make sure to cover the tuber (bulb) with at least 2 inches of soil (regardless of size). Don't plant deeper than this, as it can reduce the flowering. Plant your tubers 12-18" apart, with taller varieties on the higher end of that scale and shorter varieties on the lower end.

Dahlias are long-blooming plants that can provide color from June to October. Because they bloom so heavily, it is important to make sure to feed them on a regular basis with an all-purpose flower food.

To keep your dahlias healthy and producing flowers year after year, harvest them immediately after the first frost has blackened the stems. Remove the dead foliage down to the tuber and store in a cool, dry and frost-free location. Then plant them again outdoors each spring to enjoy another season of dazzling color!

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Garden Primer

Is rainwater really better than faucet water for my plants?



Many municipal water systems put chlorine and other chemicals in the water. Chlorine is bad for soil bacteria, not to mention our air. Rainwater is oxygenated, un-chlorinated and warmer than tap water, qualities that make it a better source for plants and safer for the environment. Cold tap water can also "shock" your plants.

There is a growing movement to conserve water by collecting rainwater in plastic barrels. The water collected this way is better for plants, plus you don't have to pay for it. It also reduces energy consumption--every 1,000 gallons of tap water requires about one kilowatt hour of energy to be treated and pumped. Reducing such water use also slows the need to expand municipal water treatment and sewage plants.

If you decide to use a rain barrel, make sure it's childproof. To be safe for kids (and inquisitive animals), it should have a secure lid that can't be opened easily. You don't want anyone using your rain barrel as a swimming pool!

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