Happy Last Week of August!

Happy Last Week of August!

As I typed the words of the title for this week’s email, I shook my head in amazement. Where does the time go? How can Labor Day be this weekend? I guess the signs are all around us. I read the passage of time by the flowers in bloom and I saw my first New England aster open this week. Sweet autumn

Sedum ‘Mr. Goodbud’ is visited by a newly born beautiful monarch butterfly in the nursery.

clematis is flowering. Seven Sons trees are budding and beginning to bloom. Our benches are starting to fill up with all the classics such as perennial mums, lots of great asters, and Japanese anemones. The bulbs have started to arrive- now there’s your sign. Right now, I am encouraging everyone to plant the two beautiful fall blooming crocuses that we have on the counter because, if you plant them now, they will bloom in October! 

 
The New England asters are starting to bloom. This is ‘Alma Potschke’, a tall variety that has stood the test of time. 

This Thursday on Facebook Live I will be talking about Designing with Perennials for Constant Color. My goal is to get you thinking about what you can plant NOW for color in the next three months. Unless you are looking at your landscape and thinking “Wow! I can’t believe how amazing my fall garden is going to be…” you should tune in and check out this 15 minute mini-design lesson in succession of bloom. 

 
This coming Sunday, we kick off the monarch migration season with a workshop on Tagging Monarch Butterflies. There are still some spots left, but don’t delay, sign up soon. The class size is limited as everyone will be taught to tag and release them after learning how and why we do it. Kids are really good at this so if you have a child or grandchild who is fascinated by these beautiful butterflies and you think they are ready, sign them up too. 

Speaking of monarchs, I am raising a ton of them at home. I start with the eggs and raise them until they are large caterpillars, then I bring them into work. I have plenty of

Do you have enough Asclepias? Plant more NOW for next year.

common milkweed, but I am cutting it every day. I have only one butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) and one swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). Do you have enough Asclepias? We have plenty in stock of all kinds, including big and little plants of common milkweed as well as the unusual Asclepias verticillata that has fine, willowy leaves and white flowers. Planting more now means you will have PLENTY in 2020. 

This is probably the peak of butterfly season in our area. It is hard to stay indoors right now, my yard is so full of activity. They seek 

Our hummingbird nectar is half price till its gone. 

out nectar sources of all sorts and a yard like mine (or Natureworks) is like a giant billboard for a rest stop for them! I am also trying to sit still and really appreciate watching the hummingbirds as they will be leaving shortly to migrate south. Like the butterflies that migrate, they need to “tank up” on nectar. Besides flowers, you will probably see the hummingbirds from the north moving through CT in the next few weeks. Did you know they migrate by following the blooming of the jewelweed? Diane has put the last of our wonderful hummingbird nectar (for your feeders) on sale at half price till it’s gone. Keep those feeders clean and filled at this critical time. 

Hummingbird watching reinforces the message of this peace pole- The Power of Stillness. I am blessed with the ability to just sit for long periods of time in my garden and watch the life happen around me. That is how I restore myself after a busy day. 

We have gotten tons of questions about the gigantic Joe Pye weed in our front garden. It is the variety ‘Gateway’. This great photo shows the benefit of pinching your plants in June. Believe it or not, you are looking at the same plant in two separate forms. The big flowers which are almost past are unpinched stems with one single flower on each stalk. Surrounding it are pinched stems with 6-8 smaller flowers on each shorter stem. Most people don’t have a garden bed wide enough to handle the giant flowers. If you don’t want to have to remember to pinch in June, pick up Eupatorium ‘Baby Joe’ which is a much more compact form, suitable for every yard. 

As August begins to wane, you will see many more pretty combinations in our gardens of perennials blending with ornamental grasses.  This is what you would see in a meadow or a prairie at this time of year, but in a garden setting, you can put it together in a much more organized fashion. On the left is yellow Echinacea with Panicum seed heads. We have great starter plants of excellent grass varieties such as Pennisetum ‘Little Bunny’ and ‘Red Bunny’, the upright little bluestem Schizachyrium ‘Standing Ovation’, and so much more. Remember, grasses are probably the easiest plants you can grow. They need very little water and feeding and are not eaten by the deer. We are NOT talking about the older, floppy, weedy varieties of Miscanthus here folks, these are a carefully selected group of well-behaved, easy care ornamental grasses. 

At this time of year, we start getting in plants in quart sized pots again. Many of them can be added to containers when you replant them for fall. Take the dwarf ‘Daybreak’ Coreopsis shown above. It is from the ‘Lil Bang’ series and only grows 8-12″ tall. Do you have an area in the front of a sunny border that you keep having to weed? Put a big drift of this in there and you have instantly reduced your maintenance. If you pop them into your containers, you can then plant them in the ground in late fall and next year, you will be SO proud of yourself!

We are still busy planting food for our fall harvests. I have a cluster of Smart Pot bags in the south side of my house with a carrot planting from a few months ago and two with young carrot seedlings just starting out. What can you plant now? Lettuce is what I planted on Monday, two 6-packs of romaine. We are getting in lots more organic lettuce seedlings again this week, and have plenty of kale, Swiss chard, and other fall veggies on our benches. There MUST be holes in your gardens at this point. Don’t let the space go to waste. Pop in one more round of cool season veggies and enjoy all during the fall. If you have big empty areas, come in and pick up some organic cover crop seeds. We have winter rye as well as peas and oats. You essentially plant and grow your own organic matter. It’s inexpensive, super easy to sow, and a great way to build your soil. 

More organic fall veggie seedling arriving this week- keep planting and eating from the garden for many more months.

Diane told me that to celebrate fall food planting time, she is putting our 6′ Smart Pot Long Bag Beds AND our new favorite Coast of Maine Raised Bed Soil on sale. The coupons can be found below. 

Side 2 2019 Green Expo

Mark your calendars for some exciting events coming up on Saturday, September 8th. We are honored to have been invited to join other environmental groups under the big tent at the Green Expo in Edgerton Park. We will be bringing our monarch butterflies along and will be talking and teaching everyone about why we do this. Diane is giving a talk at 5:15- Every Yard Counts-How to Create a Monarch Butterfly Habitat at Home. This is such a fun event, with plenty for kids to learn and do as well as grownups. On the same day, we will also be bringing our monarchs to the Dudley Farm in Guilford for their Fairy and Elf Festival. Information on both of these festivals can be found below. 

One more thing to think about this week: your lawn. With the onset of cooler weather and regular rainfall, the lawns will soon be growing and greening back up again. NOW Is the time to take your soil test and have it ready to bring into us during our FREE Organic Lawns 101 workshop on Sunday, August 15th. Click Here to link right to our 2019 organic lawn care handout page that has the information about how to take a soil test and where to send it. We are restocking our custom grass seed blend and will have everything you need- seed, compost, organic fertilizer, straw- to reseed your lawn this fall. Yes, fall is the BEST time to do this, not spring. Who knew?

Carve out some time to visit during our open days this week- Wednesday thru Sunday. It is a lovely time of year, the last week of August, and it’s time to truly soak up and enjoy the bounty of our gardens before we head into September and all that has to offer. Change. Transition. Transformation. It’s all good, it’s all happening right here. Come see…

 
 
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We are constantly restocking with fresh plants that will go the distance over the next few months. I adore snapdragons as they get happier as the weather cools down. They are also a really long lasting cut flower and are beloved by bumble bees.