A Magical Week

A Magical Week

Magic is in the air at Natureworks this week. The shop is filled with monarchs in every stage of life. We are preparing for our free talk this Saturdaymorning, All About the Monarch Butterfly. Join our “crazy monarch lady” and retail manager Diane St. John along with retired kindergarten teacher Helen Stowe under our teaching tent at9:30 am. I would suggest you arrive early to get a good seat, this is going to be a very popular, WONDERFUL workshop. So far, we have raised and released 33 monarch butterflies (20 males, 13 females).


We presently have growing in the shop 27 eggs, 61 caterpillars, and 24 chrysalises. Everyone has caught monarch madness on my retail staff. When you come to visit, you will see monarchs flitting about the nursery yard, nectaring on flowers. Sometimes they even pose on milkweed plants, so you can take a picture!The kids are back to school this week. It seems a bit crazy, with Labor Day still a week and a half away. But, all of the signs are pointing to the upcoming fall season. Fairs and harvest festivals are beginning. Mums are on the benches outside the grocery store. Most of those mums are not true perennials. Instead, they have been bred to be round, with lots of buds, and look good in a pot.

2‘Lavender Daisy’ Mammoth Mum

3A Mammoth Mum in my home garden. This plant is four years old. Look at all those buds!

Here at Natureworks, we specialize in PERENNIAL mums. One of the earliest varieties to bloom are Mammoth Mums. I discovered these quite a few years ago. They are totally hardy (bred in Minnesota) and within one year, will form a low mound covered with hundreds of buds. As the weeks go by, we will continue to get in other perennial mums in all colors and flower forms. We grew our own ‘Mei Kyo’, a lavender button variety that is one of the very last to bloom, in late October well into November. Stay tuned to our ever-changing benches for a great selection.

I have also seen garlic for sale at a few retail stores. It is too early to plant garlic in late August. Wait. We carry organic hardneck seed garlic. I grew much of it myself; it is drying in the rafters of my back garage and I will start bringing it into the shop in mid-September. More will arrive in October from other organic suppliers. Remember, you want to grow hardneck garlic as it does the best in our climate. And, of course, you should plant organic root crops. One clove becomes one head of garlic. It is so easy to grow. If you want to get a courtesty call when the garlic arrives, let us know. We will be having a free workshop on Growing Organic Garlic on Saturday, September 19th.

Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’

Do you know Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’? She is our cover girl photo at the top of the email this week. This variety is the star of my perennial border at home right now. The large panicles of lilac flowers are unique in the world of garden phloxes- the individual florets are small and dainty and have a completely different look in the garden. We presently have some big, bushy plants in stock. I planted a few in my garden to take up the space left when I cut down a giant old fashioned bleeding heart. I am so glad I did that. The zinnias surrounding it also add to the glorious display.

Another quite amazing native perennial that I am in love with this week is Eryngium yuccifolium, whose common name is rattlesnakemaster. This plant was all over the High Line gardens and everyone asked me about it. The flowers are very architectural and offer a unique flower form. The common name comes from the fact that Native Americans used it’s root as an antidote to rattlesnake bites. It has a deep taproot and is very drought tolerant. The foliage resembles a thin, green Yucca leaf.


As you can see, there’s never a dull moment here at Natureworks. I look forward to coming to work each day to see what’s new, take pictures, get inspired, and check on our monarch babies. I hope to see you this week. Make some time to stop by for a visit and stroll the gardens. The monarchs will be here to greet you.