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Acer's Florist & Garden Center
Edition 16.20 Acer's Florist & Garden Center May 19, 2016
hanging baskets


patio planters
 
Do you know that Acer's offers free
computerized landscape design?
Call (631) 343-7123 or send pics to Jim@acersgardencenter.com.
Landscape
 
Herbs and Vegetables - including organic
 
Summer Annuals and Tropicals Arriving
 
Nursery Stock
 
A Fragrance Garden: Sweet   Surroundings

Some gardens can be pretty, some can be manicured and some can look wild and woolly, but there's nothing like a fragrance garden to tickle the nose and stimulate the senses. Fragrance gardens can be created using many different garden design themes; the only requirements are using plants with flowers or foliage that is pleasingly fragrant.

You can go Cottage, Mediterranean, Victorian, Woodland or something in between, since all can benefit from the use of fragrant plants and flowers. A fragrance garden doesn't have to be just sweet and perfumed. It can also be soothingly aromatic, with both delicate and bold scents. You can even select when you want your garden to emit its fragrance, be it morning, mid-day or night time!

Plant your garden using a good quality soil amendment and feed in the summer to ensure healthy growth. Most plants get their fragrance from essential oils in various parts of the plant foliage or flowers. Foliage fragrance is often released by touch, while flowers don't need an extra nudge to share their delights. Position foliage-fragrant plants along pathways, borders, or overhead on an arbor or trellis where their aroma will be released when you brush past them.

Some flowers can be enjoyed from far away, while others might require you to get close to inhale their sweet perfume. We're sure you'll find some scents you love among our selection.

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Hornworms

Tomato hornworms are the larvae of a large sphinx moth that is about the size of a hummingbird. In spring, the moth lays eggs on the underside of tomato (and related plants like pepper and eggplant) leaves. Although the hornworms are quite small when they first emerge, they are big eaters (of leaves) and grow up quickly. Usually, you won't even see this fellow until it is large--about 2 inches long and fat! They are quite distinctive, actually handsome with their diagonal white stripes and horns on the rear. However, due to their camoflage they can be difficult to find (until they've eaten a lot of the leaves they look so much like).

Don't be afraid of the hornworms. They look more frightening than they are. They don't bite or sting, just try to look big and ferocious. You can easily handpick to remove from your plants and just throw them away. When they are younger and smaller, use Bt (bacillus thuringiensis) as an effective management technique.

Some gardeners have a different approach to the tomato hornworm. While handpicking a hornworm, look to see if you find little white cocoons attached to its back. If you do see this, that cocoon is a pupating braconid wasp, which is a garden-friend predator. Capture the hornworm and keep it (or all of them) in a container, feeding them tomato leaves. You are creating a nursery for the braconid wasps that can then be released into your garden! These wasps will help control the hornworm population.

Other natural predators are birds and the larvae of the green lacewing. Plant your gardens to create an inviting habitat for all of these natural predators, and you'll help control this voracious eater of your tomato leaves. Luckily, hornworms don't eat the tomato!

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Garden Primer

Do ladybugs really help control bad insects?

Answer:

They sure do! In fact, ladybugs are one of the most effective predatory insects around--and love to make a meal out of bad ones. But give them time to do their thing. If you get too impatient with them, they just might "fly away home." Make sure your garden friends are happy by providing them with water and shelter. Remember that good bugs are living creatures and they have feelings too.

It is best to release them in the evening or early morning, just after you have watered the garden. This will help keep them in the garden. It is also better to release them in small batches all around your garden than in one big group; otherwise, they might get all huffy and start duking it out for the territory.

Ladybugs are more likely to remain in your garden if there is a ready food supply. It is important to provide them with an alternative food source when meals of pest insects are scarce. Flowers produce nectar and pollen, which ladybugs also need to survive. Plan your garden to feed beneficial insects by choosing a variety of plants that will bloom as many months of the year as possible.

Don't be surprised if they leave after they have removed all your bad insects, though. They will only stick around for as long as there is a good food source in your garden.

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