Happy to be Back!

Happy to be Back!

I just returned from a blessed two week vacation. I started in Vermont and traveled through MA up to the Adirondacks. All along the way, I observed so many beautiful flowers. Vermont and northern New York 

Hydrangea paniculata varieties are SO hardy. 

state are “The Land of Tree Hydrangeas.” They were EVERYWHERE, all varieties. The roadsides,trails, and fields were filled with asters. Goldenrod fields, stands of wild perennial sunflowers, ironweed… it was a horticulturalists’ delight. I returned home to a garden absolutely overflowing with food. I am pleased to report that the radish and lettuce seeds I planted a week ago popped up! My broccoli is thriving under its floating row cover but the tat soi planted in the open is being eaten by cabbage moth caterpillars. Time to get out the B.T. (Bacillus thuringiensis)

Kassie also reported damage from owlet moth caterpillars on the dahlias in the Natureworks gardens AND we found saddleback moth caterpillars (see photo on left) which really sting you if you touch them. Be careful!! 

B.T. is specifically for caterpillars and will not harm any other beneficial insects or us. 
My broccoli under floating row cover is SO perfect. My wheelbarrow garden now has escarole, celery, newly sprouted lettuce, and nasturtiums. Everything is surrounded by pollinator flowers- asters, Rudbeckia triloba, and goldenrod. Heaven. 
I traveled far and wide and visited so many lovely places, but there is nothing quite so lovely as your own garden. And I have TWO gardens to come home to- my private gardens and the Natureworks gardens. Both are lush and thriving. I did see many migrating monarchs in my travels, but back at Natureworks, they are being born at a stunning rate. Today we had FORTY monarch butterflies eclose (emerge from their chrysalis). We are headed off to the Durham Fair for four days with a giant monarch display and that should be very exciting. Here’s the count so far:
    Caterpillars: 39
    Chrysalises: 120
     40 to release when rain stops
     373 tagged and released since 8/29
                   352 released before 8/29
                        TOTAL: 931

Fall officially arrives on Friday, September 22nd. The autumn equinox is when

the day and night are once again equal. I am sure that, like me, you are noticing that there is a lot less time to get outside in the evening as the sun is setting so much earlier. With the changing seasons, it’s time to redecorate your porch for fall! Autumn is long and lingering in CT and provides us with so many opportunities to sit and enjoy the fruits of our labors. I am a firm believer in weaving perennials into my fall containers and then adding them to my gardens right before Thanksgiving. I especially love colorful foliage plants as added accents to marry with all the fall flowers- both annuals and perennials- that can take the shorter days and cooler temperatures of this time of year.

Weigela ‘Tuxedo’ is reblooming. I love the crisp contrast of the near-black foliage and white flowers.

This Thursday at 4 pmFacebook Live will focus on Plant Marriages for Fall. I will demonstrate how to combine plants together with a focus on fabulous fall foliage. If you love plants but wish you could understand design a bit better, this 15 minute lesson should be just the ticket!  Remember, if you tune in live, you can ask questions and we will answer them during the session. Otherwise, all of the Facebook Live sessions are archived on the Natureworks Facebook page. We check back for questions and comments often.  

This Saturday, I head up to the Durham Fair for the day and at 1 pm I am giving a talk on Planting for Monarch Butterflies in the Discovery Center. The fair is a great way to officially welcome fall. I think it is so cool that the town of Durham closes the schools on Friday of “Fair Week” so all of the kids can enjoy the fair. I have many employees that live in Durham and that have taught me just how much work it is for this amazing town to organize such a huge fair. Last weekend, the fair beautification 

committee came to Natureworks and shopped for new additions for the butterfly garden that is 46 feet long near the Discovery Center. Diane helped to place the plants and Natureworks donated $100 worth of plants to the effort. Now, as we tag and release the monarchs during the fair, the butterflies will have a garden to immediately begin nectaring. This is the migrating generation and they need LOTS of nectar to make it to Mexico. Do you have enough flowers for the migrating monarchs traveling past your property?    

I photographed this magnificent stand of New York ironweed (Vernonia) in the thriving rain gardens at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont. We make an annual pilgrimage each year. My husband shops, I take photos! The ironweed in my home gardens was visited by monarchs last week. 
Do you have enough flowers? 
As I write this email, it is raining, a long, steady rain that is perfect for our lawns and gardens. It’s been a bit dry and this is just what we need in order to reseed our lawns, release beneficial nematodes, dig up and rearrange perennials, and KEEP ON PLANTING. Fall is a very busy season for the Natureworks installation crews. I also plant lot of shrubs, perennials, and bulbs in October and early November in my home gardens, when I finally have the time. Right now the soil is very warm, and the air has been quite warm too. It’s perfect.
This is the second year that this Mammoth mum has been in our garden. Look at all those flowers! We have 11 varieties of our signature perennial mums on our benches right now with more to come as we restock this week. 
Enjoy these last few days of summer and embrace the changes as we head into autumn, one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. Stop by soon for a visit and don’t forget to check out the magnificent dahlias blooming in our gardens this week. Keep your eye on our Facebook page for monarch butterfly tagging time announcements.  
See you soon… 



 P.S. I arrived back from vacation to find an enchanting new Fairy Village display. We have lots of intriguing minitature shrubs, hostas, and perennials that are perfect for your teeny-tiny landscapes. Experience the magic the minute you walk in.