I see buds on our trees and flowers poking though the earth and I'm soooo excited!!! Spring is here and when the time is right, (usually anytime after Mother’s Day) you can start planting those flowers! I’ve been told that I’m a flower whisperer so I want to share my tricks for bigger buds with you! Keep in mind I'm so obsessed with flowers I actually have a flower budget...yes, I save all year to go nuts in the Spring. Every spot a flower could go I will plant it. My husband thinks I'm nuts but I'm never stopping the flower power!  These are my roses from last year...

I LOVE to plant flowers and to garden. It’s my form of meditation. I get such peace from it as well as a sense of accomplishment. I’m pretty particular too…I won’t let anyone mow my lawn because the lines have to be just so…when I plant my flowers I need those rainbow colors to POP and you’ll never see a stick or a leaf on my front lawn. I actually have a spidey-sense, a leaf falls, I sense it and run out to remove it. My kids get so embarrassed because the neighbors always honk when they drive by and say “she’s at it again!” You know that lawn decoration of just a lady’s butt bending over to garden? That’s me in real life. LOL I take it seriously and want to share what I know with you!

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The soil of the Pine Barrens and coastal plains is a bear. The sandy soil heats up fast in the spring but dries out like crazy in summer plus it doesn’t hold nutrients very well at all. So my first secret is to use the best fertilizer on the planet. It’s called Jack’s Classic Bloom Booster 10-30-20 (I buy mine on Amazon). This is not a paid endorsement, I’m literally just in love with what it does. You can’t burn your buds by over-doing it and its super easy to use. It had doubled the size of my blooms. I use it twice a week or more b/c of the sandy soil. Also, when you are done with your jar of pickles, save the juice! Pour it over your rose bed and watch it work wonders. My mother in law taught me that one and it’s a gem.

In our area raised beds or containers filled with ideal soil are a great option. Get your soil in bulk and fill in those raised beds and your good to go. Check out how well the basil, tomatoes, and mint do right on the bay!

Photo credit: Eileen Osbourne Basil Tomato Mint in Tuckerton NJ

There are other ways though:
If you are going to use your existing sandy soil, add compost, decomposed leaves, humus, peat and manure to improve sandy soil.  That will hold that awesome fertilizer I told you about more and you will be shocked at the result!   It also is crucial to pick the right plants for our environment. If you live near the ocean, you also have to deal with salt spray so we have to pick wisely. Hydrangeas are perfect for shore life…they have done wonderful things for my yard.  I especially love the blue ones...did you know they don't come that way? You MAKE them blue by adding a soil acidifier (I buy that on amazon too)! Scroll down this list to find the right trees, plants and shrubs specifically chosen for the needs of the Jersey Shore yard. I recommend my go-to...VINCAS!  They thrive in sandy soil, they spread like wildfire, have huge color and deer hate them!  My front yard is covered with them.  You can have it all…the salt air, sandy soil and your home can still be a flowery dream!  Scroll down to see what the best options are for your home!

Plants for Sandy Soils
TREES
Birch
Cedar — blue Atlas*
Cherry
Crab apple
Cypress
Elm
Ginkgo balboa
Locust
Oak — pin, white
Pine — Austrian, pitch,
red, white*
Poplar
Redbud
Red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)*
Shadblow, serviceberry (Amelanchier)
Sour gum

Spruce
Sycamore
Witch hazel
SHRUBS
Barberry*
Bayberry*
Beach plum (Prunus maritima)*
Blueberry
Broom *
Buddleia
Cotoneaster*
Cotinus
Elderberry
Holly*
Juniper*
Kerria
Mugo pine*
Potentilla
Pyracantha*
Quince
Rose of Sharon
Rugosa rose*
Sand cherry (Prunus pumila, Prunus x cistena)*
Sea buckthorn*
Spirea
Sumac
Tamarisk*
Weigela
Yew
PERENNIALS
Artemisia*
Aubretia
Basket-of-gold (Aurinia)
Butterfly weed
(Asclepias)*
Candytuft (Iberis)
Coreopsis
Coneflower
Convolvulus
Eryngium (sea holly)*

Goldenrod*
Gaillardia
Gypsophila
Hen and chicks
(Sempervirens)
Herbs (most)
Hibiscus
Hypercium (St. John’s wort)
Iris — German bearded Jerusalem sage (Phlomis)
Kniphofia*
Lamb’s ear (Stachys)*
Lavender*
Laverta
Liatris
Nepeta (catmint)
Ornamental grasses (most)
Ornamental onion (Allium)
Pinks (Dianthus)
Rock rose (Helianthemum)
Russian sage (Perovskia)
Salvia
Sea pink (Armeria maritima)
Sedum*
Soapwort (Saponaria ocymoides)
Tiarella
Trumpet vine (Campsis)
Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
Verbascum
Veronica
Yarrow (Achillea)
Yucca*
GROUND COVERS
Bearberry (Arctostaphylos)*
Thyme*
Virginia creeper
Purple wintercreeper (Euonymous fortunei) bulbs
Crocus
Daffodil
Hyacinth
Tulip
Snowdrop
Lily
* Suitable for seaside gardens
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