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Acer's Florist & Garden Center
Edition . Acer's Florist & Garden Center
Acer's Farm Stand: Fri.-Sun.

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.

Herbs and Vegetables - including organic
Summer Annuals and Tropicals Arriving
Nursery Stock
8 Easy Ways to Lower Your Water Consumption (and your bill!)

Whether or not there's a dry spell, saving water can reduce your bills, as well as making for a healthier lawn and garden. Note that most water usage, and potential for reduction, is outside your home, in your yard and garden. Here are some ideas to lower your water consumption without planting your entire yard in succulents.

• Adjust your watering schedule.
Doing a monthly adjustment on your water timer can save hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water a month. You don't have to stop watering your lawn, but watering it less often for longer periods will allow the water to soak to the roots and prevent evaporation. Adding an automatic or manual rain delay will also keep you from watering during or after good rain, when your lawn doesn't need it.

• Decrease the footprint of your lawn.
Eliminating underutilized sections of your lawn will save you time, money, and tons of water. You won't have to water, mow, dethatch, or seed lawn that no longer exists. Take an honest look at your yard, and think of what else you could grow around the edges. Bushes, trees, succulents, and vegetable gardens work great around the edges of your yard, providing, shade, color, and privacy, all while helping you save water.

• Dethatch your lawn.
Dethatching removes old, dead growth, making it easier for the water to penetrate the soil, and leaves room for new growth to thrive.

• Raise your mower blades.
Letting your grass grow longer will help keep moisture in, and the sun away from the dirt, lessening evaporation. It will also help keep weeds out.

• Inspect your irrigation system.
It's very easy to have an underground leak in your irrigation system that drips water incessantly, costing you money and wasting loads of water. Check around your sprinkler and drip lines and keep an eye out for areas that are too wet, have much faster-growing vegetation, or sunken impressions in the ground. These are all signs that you have a leak. If you're not comfortable doing irrigation work, it's not a bad idea to talk to a professional, so you know it's fixed correctly.

• Trim bushes back from sprinklers.
If it's been awhile since you trimmed your bushes, you should check to ensure they are not blocking your sprinklers. If you want to let them grow bigger, you should consider either raising or relocating your sprinkler heads so they will continue to get to the lawn. If not, trimming the bushes back a bit will help make sure the water you're using gets where it needs to.

• Add a layer of mulch to your shrubs and trees.
Keeping a layer of mulch around your larger plants helps keep moisture in, keeps the weeds to a minimum, and can add a nice decorative touch to your beds.

• Use plants that need less water.
We have a large variety of plants that are either native or adapted to our climate, and will require less water than imports. Ask one of our associates for some ideas that will work for your circumstance.

Saving water is easy, and has the potential to save you some cash and make your yard, and your water bill, much more sustainable.

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Garden Primer

First of all, remove any existing calling cards from your vegetable garden. If you can identify which one of your delightfully inconsiderate neighbors allows their cat to do his business in your garden, place the calling cards in a plastic bag on their front doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run. This gives the game "doorbell ditch" a whole new perspective--especially if you weren't able to play the game as a child.

If you don't have the time or the legs to play this game, a better solution is to sneak into your neighbor's yard at night and over-seed their garden with catnip. Their cat will be in pure heaven and never want to leave.

Kidding aside, there are a number of naturally safe repellents that should make Fifi think twice about using your garden as her personal toilet. If an electric fence or chicken wire isn't your cup of tea, consider applying a commercial cat repellent. The key to using a repellent is to consistently re-apply the product until Fifi associates the desired area with the bad smell.

Home remedies like moth balls (inside coffee cans with small holes in lids) or cayenne pepper shaken around the exterior of the bed have also been known to be somewhat effective. Mulching may help, and keeping the garden soil moist. Cats like loose, dry soil to bury their doings in.

You may want to try to catch Fifi in the act and spray her with water. This will make you feel better but, unfortunately, rarely deters a persistent cat.

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Butterfly Bush

If you love to see butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden, it can help to plant something that will keep them coming back.

Buddleia, also known as Butterfly Bush, is a fast growing, deciduous flowering shrub. During the summer and fall, it will have large, fragrant flowers. Depending on the variety, its flowers can vary purple to blue or even white, and plant size can be a smaller 4-5’ shrub all the way up to 10-15'.

Butterfly Bush likes to be in full sun, with well draining soil. It's best not use fertilizer on it, but to instead use compost, as too much fertilizer will promote leaf growth over flowers. Butterfly bush can be invasive if not well maintained, so keeping it trimmed back is a good idea. Water well while it's establishing itself, and then only give supplemental water if it hasn't rained in a week.

Butterfly bush does not need winter protection. While it may die back all the way to the ground in the cold weather, it will put up new shoots when spring arrives. Even if it doesn't die back, it is generally suggested to cut it down almost to the ground in the early spring, as flowers grow on new growth. With more new growth , there will be more flowers, and with more flowers, come more butterflies!

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