“It’s FUN Growing a Habitat”

27 Jul “It’s FUN Growing a Habitat”

Over the weekend, my husband and I were sitting on the deck, having a glass of wine, and watching the life all around us. That is when he remarked to me “It’s fun growing a habitat!” He seriously is in awe of the sheer numbers of birds, butterflies, sphinx moths, bees, and hummingbirds that come right up

next to our deck and partake of the feast we have provided for them. I am too. I just never grow tired of observing the life around me. 

 
Last week on Facebook Live, I talked about how to attract hummingbirds with flowering plants. But then I said something that everyone should take to heart: 
 
YOU HAVE TO STOP AND SIT AND BE STILL IN ORDER TO SEE THEM.
 
Vervain has finally become established in my garden at home. It is abuzz with life.

That is the key to enjoying the gardens, the habitat that you have created. Stop. Turn OFF the phone. Put down the book. Just sit and watch. Breathe and be still. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Sometimes I sit on the edge of my raised bed just to watch and listen to the buzzing of the myriad pollinators on my mountain mint (Pycnanthemum muticum). In the evening, I sneak back outside after dinner and wait for the bats to appear, swooping and eating mosquitoes. I am up at the crack of dawn, and often sip my coffee watching the birds flit about. Right now, there is a catbird family starting another nest in the tree by my garage. They are using the dried pieces of the garlic I have just harvested- and thus the circle is complete once again…

I am in love with Echinacea ‘Evening Glow’. This picture was taken in our gardens. This plant has been here for three years now. The color morphs and changes as the flowers mature. And we FINALLY have this variety in stock! 
We will give you the opportunity to relax and focus in our gardens this Thursday evening. We are having our first Wine Walk from 5:30-6:30. We will supply the wine and light snacks and I will wander the gardens with you, pointing out the late July highlights. We will place chairs in prime spots, enticing you to sit and take it all in. This walk was inspired by meeting the garden writer and speaker C.L. Fornari and reading her new book The Cocktail Hour Garden. She explains how the cocktail hour is the transition from our work day to our home time. This ritual honors that transition. We will have her book available for sale- you will find it enchanting. 
Echinacea ‘Julia’- hardy and the perfect pollinator plant for bees and monarch butterflies
Prior to our Wine Walk, this week’s Facebook Live at 4 pm will feature Superior Varieties of plants. As professional gardeners and total plant nuts, we often discover specific plants that perform better than their relatives. I tend to use them in my designs and my staff tends to recommend them to you when you shop. Tune in (or attend live!) to learn all about our choices.

 

Every year I plant beans in the bed where I have harvest my garlic. I enjoy fresh beans in late September and October. They sprout SO fast in the warm July soil.
This Saturday marks the beginning of the Second Season Veggie Garden. Join me for a FREE WORKSHOP on this subject this Saturday morning at 10 am. So many folks are confused when we talk about planting veggies NOW. Get with the program! Fall crops are so worth it and you will be eating from the garden well into November, possibly beyond. As I harvest my garlic this week,

I am harvesting my garlic this week. Make room for the Second Season veggies!

I will make room for new crops that will thrive in late summer and fall. We have completely restocked our seed racks AND we are getting in our first shipment of organic veggie seedlings such as broccoli and Brussel sprouts (these should go in immediately, don’t delay), kale, celery, escarole, lettuce, and more. I actually have a bunch of space available right now, not just the garlic bed. I am planting SEEDS of zucchini, beans,

 

carrots, and beets. As August progresses I will add lettuce and escarole plants AND seeds. That is how I do it- starter plants are harvested first, and by then, the seeds are coming along, prolonging the harvest for another month with a single planting. CLICK HERE to download our handout Vegetable Crop Timing. Then come to the walk this Saturday and let us help you get organized. By the way, the moon phase is ideal for more planting this week. And don’t forget to continue planting dill, cilantro, and basil seeds. Keep on planting, you will be thrilled by the results!

Escarole plants surrounded by sprouting escarole seeds. Do this with all kinds of lettuce too. One planting yields months of harvesting!
Along with fall veggies, we are also starting mixed packs of microgreens. Jillian hatched this idea; she has combined four types of microgreens which you can start eating right away: sweet and savory mix, beet greens, fiery radish greens, and sunflower greens. We also restocked our microgreen seeds when we restocked our lettuces, kale, and other leafy veggie seeds. Just in: cover crop seeds! If you harvest a crop and don’t want to plant yet (say you are waiting for cool September days to plant radish seeds), plant cover crops. Then, you can work them into the soil for added nutrients. That is why we call them green manure. 
Jillian is feeding our veggies with Neptune’s Harvest Veg Fertilizer

 

This Saturday is also Kid’s Day at Natureworks! We will be setting up activity

stations and myself and my staff will be working with kids on all sorts of fun nature events. We will be painting rocks to look like bugs, exploring plants that feel fuzzy or smell good, and learning how to plant flowers- among other things! This will be ongoing between 12 and 3. It is a free event but please register in advance so we can plan for the number of kids that will be coming. Details on this and all our events can be found below. 

Bring your kids to Natureworks this Saturdaybetween 12-3 and celebrate Kid’s Day! It’s free, but we ask that you register so we know how many kids to expect. 
Working in the retail store on Saturdays keeps me in touch with the questions and issues facing my customers. This week we have been fielding questions about disease spots starting to appear on tomatoes and other plants. We also have been finding many different insect pests attacking edibles and ornamentals. Please refer to the article below to learn about some of the best organic solutions to the problems bugging you this week. 

 
Our monarch nursery is continuing to grow, with over 116 monarch eggs and numerous caterpillars. When they are born, we release them in the afternoon after they have dried their wings. We collect eggs and caterpillars from our

We collect eggs from the flower buds of Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed. During Kids’ Day this Saturday, we expect the children to spot lots of eggs and caterpillars. Ah, to have young eyes again…

own milkweed and Asclepias plants every day. We now have TONS of Asclepias in stock, including butterfly weed, tropical milkweed, and the nicest common milkweed plants we have ever had.  There is an Asclepias for everyone, not matter what size property you have. 

 
What a summer! The rain was welcome on Monday, as was the blast of cooler air, taking the edge off of working in extreme heat and humidity for a brief while for my crews and staff. It certainly has given me renewed energy to do the staking, deadheading, and feeding I want to get done in July so I can kick back and really enjoy the August garden and the fruits of my labors. I hope you feel the same way and that you will be inspired by this email to stop in for a visit and perhaps attend one of our fun events coming up this week. 
See you soon… 
  
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