Getting in the Spirit

Getting in the Spirit

October is in full swing and it’s time to get into the spirit of the season! Put those 

Millet with black flowers and golden foliage. Get into the spirit of the season with some creative fall decor!

pumpkins and gourds all over the place. Appreciate seedpods and dried flowers. Fall in love with the colorful foliage of your perennials and shrubs. Start noticing the brilliant berries everywhere. Pull the grapevines down and twist up a wreath or a garland. Pot up some hardy bulbs and put them in the cellar for your winter windowsills. Plant up a giant Amaryllis bulb or two (and put last year’s bulbs in the cellar for their dormant period). Plant a few more plants. Dig in a bunch of bulbs. Take care of your organic lawn. Sow some microgreens. Repot, clean up, and bring in your houseplants. Keep on harvesting your escarole and broccoli and kale and carrots. Fill your birdfeeders. We are heading into the next chapter of fall. Embrace it!

Spooky leaves of the NEW Vernonia x ‘Southern Cross’. This has narrow foliage and purple flowers. But look at it this week- wow!

I am obsessed with taking pictures of foliage and seedpods in my gardens and here at work. They simply fascinate me. Some seed pods are best to leave on like Belamcanda (blackberry lily) which has shiny, black seeds that really pop against my blue asters. Echinacea seed pods I leave alone as they make great living 

Echinacea seed pods

birdseed…UNLESS you already have too many self-sown Echinacea plants in your garden, then harvest them, bag them, and put them out in a feeder away from your beds. As I drive around, I admire the magnificent fall foliage on all of the trees. But when I get home, I admire the colors on my Clethra, evening primrose, Epimediums, and Persicarias.

Blackberry lily seed pods against a massive sea of blue Aster oblongifolius ‘Raydon’s Favorite’, the BEST perennial aster you can grow. So easy care, so long lived, such a pollinator magnet.

This weekend, I started pulling grapevines out of my shrubs. I will be getting together with my friend Suzanne Duesing this week to teach her how to make grapevine wreaths. She has a barn filled with dried flowers that were grown in the fields at Once Upon a Farm. Last Saturday, I had a very fun workshop teaching people how to decorate a grapevine wreath with dried flowers. I philosophized about how this project “completes the circle” from growing the plants, harvesting them, drying them, and then decorating with them. It is the ideal way to segue into a late October mindset. 

All of these flowers were grown for us locally and dried here at Natureworks.
Tall, fast spreading Aster tartaricus is up to the challenge of surviving in my “back forty”. It is so gorgeous against the trees in the background this week. 

Every day that I have off, I continue to do small planting projects. On Sunday I planted a few shrubs under an evergreen hedge, popped in a few lupines that had been kicking around for months in pots, and cleared out the path to the birdfeeder and put down some stepping stones. This weekend I have one more pile of plants to pop in my back gardens- I call this “the back forty” as I am planting to battle the return of bittersweet and other invasives. I have one big Aster tartaricus to add to the area as well as a ‘May Queen’ Shasta daisy. Both of these have proven themselves up to the task! Once this last batch of plants are in the ground, it’s on to BULBS! 

On Saturday, my husband mowed our front lawn and then bragged to me that he had learned from Diane to do it now to chop up the leaves that had fallen to add nutrients to the soil. Good man! The weather has been very cooperative for organic fall lawn care. The soil is still warm so the grubs are still in the upper surface layer- NOW is the time to add our 

safe, organic GrubGone to control them. Diane says drop your mower for the last few mowings as the lawn should go into the winter about 2″ high. If you have too many leaves to mow, please, don’t get rid of them. So many creatures overwinter in leaves. Make a pile somewhere to enhance your habitat next year. I LEAVE THE LEAVES in most of my beds, unless they are so thick that they are smothering the crowns of my perennials. Any I rake out immediately go onto my raised beds as soon as I have finished harvesting. I mulch my garlic bed with leaves too, and it ALWAYS comes up in the spring right through the nutritious leaf layer. No, I haven’t planted my garlic yet, I am shooting for mid-November, in synch with the moon cycle. 

Our 2020 Gardening by the Moon Calendars have arrived

LOTS of stuff is arriving daily, I am having trouble keeping up with what is new and what is going on inside the shop. You will really be thrilled when you walk thru the doors to see tons of new gifts, the first of our ornaments (yikes!), local Red Bee honey in many flavors, and our signature GIANT Amaryllis bulbs along with very cool forcing vases for them and paperwhite narcissus bulbs. Houseplants? Macrame? Pretty pots? Organic potting soil? Organic houseplant fertilizer? Succulent pumpkins? Yup, all of that and more fills the store. Seeds for breadseed poppies and wildflower meadows to sow in late fall have arrived. We even have a small bird feeding display with my favorite feeder that you can attach to a window and watch the action from inside the house. Birds are absolutely critical to a balanced ecosystem. We still have lots of shrubs you can add to your landscape for food and shelter for our feathered friends including Viburnum ‘Cardinal Candy’, golden and red berried winterberries, and don’t forget ornamental grasses, they love the seed pods.


We have winterberries with gold and red berries and we have male pollinators too!
Native grasses provide a place for bumblebees to build their winter nests and their flowering seed heads feed the birds!


It’s a wonderful time of year to share the bounty of your landscape with the creatures that inhabit it. We call it creating a Happy Habitat. Plant super early bulbs for late winter pollinators. Plant super late mums and asters for late fall pollinators. There’s still plenty of time to tackle a couple more small, easy weekend projects that will make you SO happy come the spring of 2020. 


Come into Natureworks and get inspired. I hope to see you soon… 


We are open right up until December 23rd. We are famous for our naturalistic designs for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Wait till you see what we have in store this year!


P.S. Speaking of easy, quick, weekend projects, tune in this Thursday at 4 pm when we post our Facebook Video. This week I will be renovating a small section of our front garden by the sign, dividing a peony, adding new late blooming perennials, and tucking in some special bulbs.