Gardens Give us So Much!

Gardens Give us So Much!

Do you ever think to yourself “Why am I working so hard on this yard?” My husband worries that I overdo it all the time but I explain to him that I ADORE 

Ray Hardman from CT Public Radio took this photo last Tuesday in our interview at the Pardee-Morris house in New Haven. Click Hereto hear the piece he did about raising monarchs.
tending my gardens and it keeps me fit and feeds my soul and feeds us food and is good for the neighborhood and helps the environment… I could go on and on. Last week was a real whirlwind of activity. We had workshops at the store, I was on CT Public Radio AND on WTNH television. I gave a workshop on raising monarch butterflies to 100 people at the beautiful Pardee-Morris house in New Haven and afterwards, answered questions for an hour. We brought the monarchs to the Durham Farmer’s Market on Thursday too. The activity continues this week. So much going on!
Did you see me on tv? Click Here if you missed it!

It may be August, and we may have just been through another heat wave and had some big thunderstorms but all that does is make the plants rejoice and grow even more! What a growing season! I am starting to notice a bit more fungus among us than I would like to see and have been working on that (see

Got organic Genovese basil? We do! Now that the tomatoes are plentiful, you just can’t live without basil. 

article below on what to do in the garden this week). Everything is just gigantic.  It’s a good thing we have a good supply of sturdy stakes, we all need them. I am inundated with tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, eggplants, and beans- yum! And my fall crops are coming along nicely. We still have organic seedlings in stock and it is not too late at all to plant more lettuce varieties, different types of kale, and much more. The moon phase this week is good for root crops and my golden beets are finally going in. 

 
If you are still on the fence about fall food growing, you are in luck. Eliza is teaching a great class this Sunday on Fall Gardening Tips and Tricks. She will focus on exactly how to use row covers to not only protect your plants but to extend the season into very late fall and very early next spring. Click Here to register. 
 
It’s also prime time to hit the REFRESH button on your containers. We are constantly getting in fresh color in late August as most of us need to do a bit of “fixing up” before Labor Day weekend. 
Hit the “REFRESH” button and fix up those container gardens this week. Fresh annuals arriving regularly.
Speaking of fresh, wait until you see all of the perennials and flowering shrubs that have just arrived. You guys did a great job clearing us out during our two week sale. It was just what we needed- we had LOTS of empty benches to fill with NEW stuff! Highlights include dramatic perennial Hibiscus, Echinacea in every color, lots of natives like boneset, Joe Pye weed, 3 kinds of ironweed, Aster umbellatus… I could just go on and on. 
 
Ornamental grasses are also starting to look really good right now. I am in love with Andropogon ‘Red October’, a native big bluestem that already has a burgundy foliage cast. I am also thrilled to see that we have great starter plants of Schizachyrium ‘Standing Ovation’ which is our native little bluestem. Both of these do well in sunny, dry gardens and pair beautifully with native perennials like Heleniums, Echinaceas, and Phloxes. And don’t forget to add mountain mint to your yard somewhere. There isn’t a better pollinator plant. It is constantly covered with every kind of bee, wasp, and butterfly imaginable. 
Did you realize that there are hostas that are grown for their fragrant flowers? This is the variety ‘Avocado’ and it smells like heaven. 

I am a lover of fragrant plants, and I couldn’t pass by this Hosta without

‘Whee!’

sticking my nose in its giant tubular blossoms. August is when the fragrant varieties really shine. Hostas are the workhorses of the garden and are often overlooked but they can do double duty as foliage anchor plants and fragrant flowering plants if you choose carefully. I am delighted by the variety ‘Whee!’ as the variegated leaves are so rippled that they just make me smile. 

Kalimeris incisa ‘Blue Star’ reblooms all summer
Another often overlooked workhorse in the garden is Kalimeris incisa ‘Blue Star’. I call this a summer aster. It is compact, soft and pretty, and just keeps reblooming as long as you sheer it back and liquid feed it from time to time. Think of this reliable perennial when you have a spot that needs to look good all the time. 
Snapdragons are also a garden workhorse. Plant them in the spring, keep them deadheaded (they make really long lasting cut flowers) and they will bloom until hard frost. We have a fresh crop of snapdragons on the benches. Bumblebees adore them and I plant them all throughout my tomato beds. 
Tune in this week to Facebook Live at 4 pm on Thursday. We will have a special guest and it promises to be very fun and educational. This Saturday morning I am teaching a FREE workshop called REFRESH YOUR GARDEN! Talk about perfect timing… I will show you all the tricks and tips that my gardening crews use to make sure everyone heads into September with a simply gorgeous landscape. 
Asclepias tuberosa is called butterfly weed for a good reason. Not only is it a larval food plant for monarchs, it is also a fabulous nectar flower for all butterflies and pollinators. It is very easy to grow in full sun and doesn’t need a lot of water once established. 
Suzanne is taking our monarchs to the Wallingford Farmer’s Market this Saturday. (Details are below) So many are being born each day, it is simply amazing. I created a second tree to hang the chrysalises from on Friday as we overfilled the first tree. We will most likely be releasing monarch butterflies every afternoon. They are born in the morning and have to hang for many hours to pump up and dry their wings. If you want to join us, be sure to call first if you are coming from a distance and we will let you know the details. We are not tagging them yet, not until September. This is still the breeding generation. 
 
This is just one of two monarch chrysalis trees in the shop!

Make time to stop by during our open days which are Wednesday thru Sunday at this time of year. The gardens are lush, the benches are overflowing, the shop is packed with monarchs in all stages of life, supplies you need to raise them, and everything else you can think of to help you have a fabulous, healthy, organic yard. 

 
I hope to see you soon!
 
 
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Looking for a unique gift? Give the gift of a monarch butterfly chrysalis. Then, when it is born, the recipient can release it in their yard. Accompany it with some Asclepias and a few nectar plants. This is a present that won’t be forgotten!