It’s Still May!

It’s Still May!

Guess what? Memorial Day is behind us and it’s still May! And what a May it has been. We were so blessed with the sunniest Memorial Day weekend I can remember. The gardens are exploding with color. The vegetable plants I have planted already have doubled in size since last week. And there are so many more to plant! We continue to receive one or two shipments a day, chock full of color, edibles, and organic gardening supplies. I can’t stop taking pictures, everything is just so beautiful right now!
Our roses are here. It is so challenging to choose which roses to carry. I base
‘Moje Hammarberg’ rose in bloom
it on how well they do in our customer’s gardens as well as how winter hardy and disease resistant they have proven to be. A few weeks ago a regular customer came in with a special request for a rose he loves. He started to spell it for me… “Moje”… and I said I KNOW this rose! I love this rose! ‘Moje Hammarberg’ is a great rose. Let mequote from our last
‘Moje Hammarberg’ rose in bud
Natureworks Catalog in 2011- “Intenstly fragrant, violet-red flowers. A rugosa hybrid growing 4-5′, disease free and totally hardy. Very vigorous. Fast growing. Leave plenty of room for this plant and don’t be timid about pruning.” 

In fact, we also have another favorite rugosa hybrid that is the star of our garden by the telephone pole every year: ‘Linda Campbell’. She reblooms right up until November. 
We carry David Austin roses for their wonderful fragrance and romantic flowers, Oso Easy and Drift roses because they are compact workhorses in the garden, lots of wonderful climbers, and many varieties of hardy shrub roses. We have a comprehensive handout on how to grow roses organically. Because we have been doing this for over 36 years, we have many pruning and feeding tips to share with you. THIS is the week to come in and see the roses in peak bloom in containers, a bit before they peak in the gardens. 
Veronica ‘Venice Blue’ is striking color. Imagine pairing this with peonies or irises! 
Late May and early June mark the transition from our early spring flowers to a completely different palette of plants. Peonies, irises, baptisias, lupines, clematis, and so much more are opening daily. 
My goodness, do we have lovely Clematis vines right now

The monarch butterflies are definitely back in CT. We spotted our first ones two weeks ago, but now we are collecting eggs in earnest and even have baby caterpillars growing in the shop. We are well stocked with common milkweed and other forms of Asclepias for you to feed the caterpillars their larval food plants. Of course, our plants are neo-nicotinoid free. Our monarch raising supplies are on the shelves and we are here to teach you and answer your questions. 

Got milkweed? We do. Come and get it!

We continue to restock our Incredible Edible plants and are ready for another busy week of planting. At home, I have one more load of compost, Cocodelphia (coir fiber)

Gotta bring my basil home this week. 

and topsoil to bring home until my two new raised beds are ready for planting the tomato plants I snagged a week ago. This week I am bringing home my peppers and eggplants including ‘Jimmy Nardello’ sweet, long, red peppers and the long purple eggplants for grilling. I also need even MORE tomato plants, now that I have so much room! And basil, I haven’t planted my basil yet. That’s okay, remember, it’s still May!

I had a very busy weekend, but I did manage to fill all of my containers and plant about half of them. I

Evening scented Nictotiana makes sitting outside in the summer a special treat

would have done the rest but I ran out of plants! With new shipments arriving this week, I already have a very specific shopping list- ‘Hot Lips’ Salvia for my hummingbirds, evening scented nicotiana for my deck when I sit out at night, Verbena bonariensis for the butterflies and for cut flowers, loads more zinnias from Once Upon a Farm before they sell out, and lots more Cupheas and lantanas for the hummingbirds. The instant I planted the hummingbird pots by my deck, a hummingbird arrived for a visit. That made my day.

Leave it to Diane, our resident photographer, to capture this stunning photo of a hummingbird on the Agastache on her deck. 
Lots of folks ask us about how we prepare the soil for planting our veggies and flowers. We add compost and organic fertilizer to the planting hole and then we continue to feed the annuals and veggies every 3-4 weeks during the summer. This is especially important if you grow in Smart Pots or containers as you will be watering more often and leaching out the nitrogen. When you come in for a visit, you will see few different brands of organic granular fertilizer- Pro Gro, Coast of Maine, and Healthy Grow. We can help you choose which one is best for you. We also sell individual components such as alfalfa meal (a vegan fertilizer), fish/bone meal, blood meal, greensand, rock phosphate, and

azomite. We sell organic liquid fertilizers too- Organic Plant Magic compost tea powder is my go-to liquid that I dip all of my plants in before I plant them. I then mix up Neptune’s Harvest liquid fertilizer and water my plants during the summer as needed. For anyone new to Natureworks, it is interesting to watch the reaction when you realize that ALL we sell are organic fertilizers, soil amendments, and pest control products. All are tested in our own gardens and we LOVE to teach you about them! 

We saved the seed of this heirloom from Italy and have it available again this year. It makes a delicious sauce.

For us, growing a good garden is personal. We start selecting varieties that we will have contract grown for us by our organic suppliers back in the fall. This year, make note of the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants that you love the most and share that information with us so we can customize our growing to your desires in 2020. We plant small food gardens- Big Bag beds, raised beds, Smart Pots, herb spiral and keyhole stone beds- right here on our property to inspire you to plant no matter what size yard you have. We weave herbs and edibles into our perennial demonstration gardens. You never know where you will find food growing! 

We also intentionally plant food and flowers together. In fact, this Saturday morning, I am offering a talk in our teaching tent on this very subject. It is a free talk, but we are

asking that you register in advance as space is limited. My talk is called Learn Why Food and Flowers Belong Together and it was inspired by Lisa Mason Ziegler’s book Vegetables Love Flowers. She is coming to CT in Februrary of 2020 for the CT Horticultural Society’s winter conference that I am helping to plan. We have copies of her book here at the shop for sale after the talk. 

Calendulas, nasturtiums, Verbena bonariensis, ‘Lemon Gem marigolds’, zinnias, and so many more flowers weave so gracefully into our edible gardens. Herbs that flower are also a part of the picture. And I have a generous, wide perennial border around my raised beds complete with tall yarrow, primroses, phlox, daisies of all sorts, species roses… you get the picture. 
Read the articles below to learn about the exciting, new, and unusual perennials that have just arrived as well as a few helpful tips for caring for your late May garden. Then make time to get in here and see what’s new. It’s still May and you couldn’t find a better time to visit Natureworks. 
See you soon!

This week only through Tues, June 4th if you buy a peony from us, we will give you $5 off one of our heavy duty peony cages. They fold flat for storage and are really durable and easy to install! 
P.S. Tune in this week on Thursday afternoon at 4 pm for Facebook Live. I will be featuring Easy Peasy Perennials, plants that I incorporate into my designs and are quite trouble free and hardy.