Got Bulbs? We Do! It’s TIME TO PLANT!

19 Oct Got Bulbs? We Do! It’s TIME TO PLANT!

I am trying to wrap my head around the fact that it really is the middle of October, we just had a mild frost, houseplants are coming in, the last of the peppers are harvested, I am cutting things down…you know what I mean. Fall in all its glory is a beautiful thing, but it is also a bit of a let down for folks like me who truly live for the garden and being outdoors. 
I am in love with my October garden. Are you?
There is frost, and then there is a killing frost. Here at Natureworks and at home in Middletown, we had a mild frost on Monday night. That means the

I picked all kinds of mums, asters, strawflowers, and a big head of escarole on Monday evening. 

temperatures got down to around 32 and the tenderest plants were zapped. But SO MUCH more wasn’t affected. Later this week, and over the weekend, it will be back up into the seventies! And there will be flowers blooming, bees buzzing, and so much to do and enjoy. A hard killing frost usually occurs around here just after Halloween. That means temps in the 20’s and that takes out a lot more vegetation. So breathe a sigh of relief, keep on planting, keep on putting in bulbs, keep on decorating and playing with pumpkins… enjoy!

One of my fall projects last week was to bring in a lot of dried flowers that I had picked and hung up over the summer. Amber immediately grabbed the strawflowers (Helichrysum) and started adding them to our succulent pumpkins. How awesome! 

Natureworker Hayley helps a customer to the car with a special order. We LOVE custom work. Call today.

 She is hard at work crafting these beauties every day. They are flying out the door, as hostess gifts, party favors, a way to brighten up your desk at work, jazz up the bathroom, you get the picture. We are also already taking orders for custom succulent pumpkins for now through Thanksgiving. 

 
There are so many opportunities right now to get creative at Natureworks. This Saturday AND Sunday Jillian and Diane are offering a workshop: Create Your Own Fall Bushel Basket. This will be so much fun- let them guide you through the process, help you put together an exciting combination, and leave the mess here to clean up. Registration information can be found below. Sign up with a friend or two. 
October gardens are simply not complete without Aster oblongifolius ‘October Skies’ and ‘Raydon’s Favorite’. We have fresh fall blooming perennials arriving this week. Call us crazy but we are SERIOUS about making your October garden the best ever, for years to come.

 

This Saturday morning at 10 am I am leading a free garden walk and workshop on Late Fall Color. Are you in love with your October garden? I am totally, madly in love with my garden right now. Asters are everywhere, ‘October Skies’ still going, ‘Raydon’s Favorite’ just starting, and so many more. Perennial mums? My goodness, I forgot how many I added late last year and how many I already had established. What a joy. Montauk daisies, late Liatris, upright fuchsias, blue borage blossoms (yum!), tree hydranges turning rosy

Aster ‘Lady in Black’ and more FRESH COLOR is arriving this week. Why not plant a few perennials with those bulbs?

pink, and dwarf Allium ‘Ozawa’, covered every day with pollinators. PLANT NOW for next fall. That is the mantra at Natureworks. You will be amazed at how established one year old perennials can be and how they will totally transform your garden. Guess what? We are getting a shipment of fresh, fall blooming perennials in this week. Truly! What other garden center that you know not only has so many blooming plants on their benches, but is actually getting new ones in the middle of October. Call us crazy, but we are still planting tons of gardens on the landscape crews and we are totally serious about helping you LOVE your October garden by this time next year. 

 
On Sunday, I spent the afternoon renovating my daylily border, adding 10 new plants, getting out the weeds, and topdressing it with compost, then mulching with my FAVE- Sweet Peet mulch. This has been a long awaited project that I am proud to have completed. I opened up so much room for bulbs. Last spring I took photos, printed them, and wrote on them exactly where I needed more daffodils. Now I am ready to plant them! I also did a few of the rearranging tasks on the list I have been keeping all summer. Then I mixed up 3 bags of compost and a bunch of Healthy Grow Bulbs and Bloom Food and PLANTED about half of the plants left in my holding area. As I moved through the various beds, I did some weeding and cutting back, which leads me to this question…
 
To Cut or Not to Cut -That is the Question
So here was my dilemma. I want to leave up tons of seed heads for the birds BUT I don’t want a ton of Rudbeckias and Echinaceas and asters clogging up my beds. What I decided to do was to leave a few up, cut some down, and

then cut off the seedheads and place them in my birdfeeders. Genius! The same dilemma happened when I started thinking about native tunnel nesting bees. They tunnel into hollow plant stems for the winter so I want to leave as many as possible standing. Yet, in my front yard, the garden was beginning to look a bit scruffy (to say the least). My conclusion: cut them down in the front, leave them up in the back. And in the WAY back? They allremain up all year. Naturally, I strapped my garden sickle and holster onto my tool belt. I wouldn’t want to tackle the garden in October without it. Don’t have a sickle? Don’t know why we panicked a few weeks ago when we were out of them and they were on backorder? Click on THIS LINK and watch a quick video on how to use it and you will be hooked like we are. They make a great gift too. 

 
This Thursday at 4 pm on Facebook Live I am going to teach you the tricks of the trade for planting and forcing Amaryllis bulbs. Why now you ask? Because they take 6-8 weeks from the time you plant them to send up buds. If you want Amaryllis in 

bud or bloom for the holiday season, I hate to break it to you, we are talking 8-9 weeks away. Whew. Okay. I said it. But truly, when you count it down, this week and next are the perfect time to pot them up. And boy do we have some gorgeous, big amaryllis bulbs including deep burgundy red, all kinds of streaks and stripes, pure white, and of course, red. There IS a difference. Big bulbs give you more flowers and more flower stalks. Period. You don’t need to give them a fancy chill period. And we have some really pretty new containers to plant them into. 

 

Have you gotten your organic, hardneck, seed garlic yet? We have already sold out of a few varieties; we still have 3 types left in stock. BUT, when we run out, it’s gone. You don’t have to plant it yet, but you should stockpile it now. 
 
The Last Monarch

Well, the season is finally over. We released our last monarch butterfly on Tuesday, October 17th. It was a girl. We named her Carmencita and wished her a safe journey to Mexico. The final count is staggering:

Monarchs raised from eggs and caterpillars collected in our gardens and raised at Natureworks: 975
Monarchs raised by schools that we donated eggs and caterpillars to: 75
 
Grand total for 2017: 1050!!!
 
I am still collecting Eastern black swallowtail caterpillars on my fennel, carrot tops, and Queen Anne’s lace and bringing them into the shop. Their chrysalises will hang all winter and they will be born next spring, around Easter. I don’t look for them, I just see them all over my yard as I grow so many of their favorite larval food plants.
 
Enjoy this gorgeous, mild week ahead. Keep on planting perennials, shrubs, bulbs, cover crops, grass seed, you name it. Live outdoors as much as you possibly can and soak up the sunshine, the golden light, the crisp evening air. Take advantage of every nice day and be sure to stop in this week and visit us. You will find lots and LOTS of new arrivals, both inside and out. Lots and LOTS of opportunities to learn and be creative. And lots of still beautiful gardens to wander around in and enjoy and they are in fashion now.
 
See you soon… 

Milkweed and butterfly weed seed pods are bursting open. Plant the seeds in the ground NOW! Don’t store them over the winter. They need a winter chill period (stratification). 
 
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