Halloween has come and gone and November is upon us. We are experiencing another brief interlude of Indian Summer, with temperatures heading into the 70’s and bulbs to get in the ground, so much to do in our client’s gardens. We even have some brand new gardens to install in the next few weeks. What a year!
The hard frosts in the morning haven’t phased our late blooming perennials. ‘Rustic Glow’ Global Warming mums are blooming like crazy and are covered with bees every day. They are just so pretty, such a bright light on fall days. Late asters are also flowering profusely. In my own gardens, I have monkshood, calendulas, ‘First Light’ sunflowers, and Allium ‘Ozowa’ all abuzz with activity. I am still eating from the garden- escarole, arugula, carrots, baby turnips are on the menu this week. I spent Sunday and part of Mondayweeding, mulching, planting, and rearranging. I also harvested lots of seed pods from asters, ironweed, and ‘Lemon Queen’ sunflowers and tossed them onto my wild back hillside. This passive seed sowing project seems to be working out, as long as I have a few years of patience to allow the process to evolve.
Remember I told you that my husband renovated our front lawn this fall? It’s looking really good. He now considers Diane St. John his “lawn guru”. It doesn’t matter what I tell him, if DIANE says it, he does it. Last week I told him about mowing the light dropping of leaves into the lawn as fertilizer. He did it and made sure to tell me to “let Diane know.” This weekend, he RAKED a heavier coating of leaves into tarps and we dragged them to a stash pile in the
back yard where I will use them to mulch my veggie beds as they are emptied. He protested (“why can’t I just pile them along the street like everyone else?”) but I insisted that leaves were garden gold and we needed to keep them all. He was the only person on our street rakinginstead of using a noisy leaf blower. Here at the store, we have been fielding lots of questions about leaves. Besides endlessly explaining why leaves should not be thrown away, everyone is worried that oak leaves and pine needles will make the soil more acidic. According to expert Dawn Petinelli, assistant extension educator at the University of CT, research has proven that is not the case. As these organic mulches decompose, biological activity converts them to compost with a relatively neutral pH.
Speaking of lawns, last year we encouraged our customers to do dormant seeding of grass seed in November and December, encouraged by Bill Ross of Safe Lawns of Salem (Diane’s lawn guru). It worked really well! Here is what Bill says:
“Dormant seeding, especially when done in conjunction with core aeration and compost topdressing is an excellent method to reinvigorate a lawn that is thin or stressed from the recent fall drought. Seeding now allows for better seed to soil contact, which is the critical factor in a successful germination process. There is less competition from existing turf growth and other weeds that take hold in the bare areas of the lawn. The freeze/thaw cycle also helps to create small cracks and voids in the soil surface which allow seed to penetrate resulting in more seed to soil contact. If you topdress with compost, in addition to better seed to soil contact, you increase organic matter while suppressing annual weeds like crabgrass. Another advantage to late fall seeding is that you have access to sites that may otherwise be wet and muddy during the spring thaw and rains. It allows you to do a more complete and thorough job. The goal is not to germinate the seed now, but in spring as the soil warms up.”
The very last of our monarch butterflies were born and released last week. The final count is over 700 monarchs raised at Natureworks in 2016. To read all about it, link to my friend Frau Zinnie’s excellent blog post.
This week we are having our final clearance sale on outdoor plants. They are now all HALF PRICE.
You have ONE WEEK to take advantage of these bargains. After that, we clear the decks and start preparing for the arrival of greens and other holiday items. Our Coast of Maine compost is also on sale, as are many wonderful organic pest control products and fertilizers. We are using one bag of compost per rose to hill up our roses to protect them for the winter. In the spring, the compost is spread around the ground under the rose bush and any part of the plant that was covered will be alive, even if the tops have died back. This is a really good thing to do to newly planted roses as well as those that have suffered badly in last year’s open winter and previous years 12 degrees below zero temperatures.
Kassie is shown here setting up our End of the Year Stock Up Sale. Voila! As long as you keep the powders dry and the liquids above freezing (the cellar works great) these products will be perfectly good in the spring of 2017. Come in, stock up, and save 40% NOW on products you KNOW you will use next year.
In our retail store, my staff is undertaking a giant transformation as we sell down on the bulbs and outdoor planting products and start stocking up on new
gift items, succulents, and all kinds of cool stuff that will enchant you during the upcoming holiday season. Amber started making succulent pumpkin cornucopia arrangements last week and all of us were oohing and ahing. We are taking orders for these as well as succulent pumpkins of all sizes for the next month. What a fabulous way to decorate your house AND what a thoughtful, unusual hostess gift if you are invited to someone’s house for dinner or a party.
Amber is seen here posing with a succulent pumpkin centerpiece collection
we are having a Terrarium Making Party
in our greenhouse. Jillian will teach you how to make a beautiful terrarium that you can then bring home or give as a gift. In fact, once you see how easy and fun it is to create a terrarium, you might just decide to make a bunch of them for holiday gifts. Everyone loves a hand made gift and terrariums are so easy to personalize.
On Sunday we are having our only Succulent Pumpkin Centerpiece
Workshop of the fall season. Kassie will teach you how to cover the top of your uncut pumpkin with moss and then glue on a wide assortment of succulents. What’s so neat about this project is that all you have to do is mist the succulents once a week and they will last for months. Because the pumpkin is not cut, but instead left whole, it holds up beautifully. When the pumpkin is finally finished, you simply peel off the moss covered layer of succulents and place it in a clay pot filled with soil. You then have a succulent garden to enjoy for the winter and years to come. Both of these workshops have limited space so call and sign up today. Why not sign up with a friend?
My staff and I are starting to make a lot of short teaching videos and putting them on our Natureworks Garden Center YouTube channel.
What? You didn’t know we had a YouTube channel? Of course we do! Last week my video showed how to layer different bulbs on top of each other when planting. This week I am demonstrating how to use the garden sickle to cut down perennials the easy way. CLICK HERE
to link to this video and then spend some time checking out the other videos we have made.
Sales, lots of new merchandise, a weekend of workshops… we have SO much in store for you at Natureworks right now. Treat yourself to a visit. Tune out the election madness for a while, stroll our gardens, listen to the hum of the bees, and relax in the present moment our our magical acre.