It’s Transition Time

It’s Transition Time

It is a sparkling, sunny day outside. The foliage that didn’t fall off of the trees during Sunday’s rain storm is all aglow. We still haven’t had a hard, killing frost at Natureworks or in my home garden in Middletown. I continue to eat from the garden every day. I spent many hours planting over the weekend, and thought I was done, but found FIVE more plants hiding at home that I still have to get into the ground. Then, it’s on to planting my garlic and my bulbs. In between planting, I did quite a bit of cutting back and cleaning up.

Do you know what to do with all of these plants at this time of year? Would you cut back the hydrangea? What about the grasses or those seed pods. Find out this Saturday- come to my FREE garden walk at 10 am!

Are you wondering EXACTLY what you should be doing in your garden right now? That is the number one question on everyone’s mind. Not to worry! This Saturday morning I am giving a FREE Garden Walk
and I will walk thru the Natureworks gardens to share the process with you. As you may already know It is not something that happens in one morning…it’s gradual, cutting things back as they go dormant. Some plants are left up for the birds. Some plants hold their basal foliage all winter. Some plants already have their buds for next year. Some plants are such rampant self-seeders that I cut off the pods immediately or they will take over. 

As I do this work, I soak in every single ray of sunshine. In between the noise of the mowers and the blowers, when things get quiet, I listen to the steady hum of all of the pollinators on my late blooming flowers. The birds are active, so are the squirrels. Everyone in my little ecosystem seems to be very busy. 

This Thursday evening is Halloween. I have taken home a giant pumpkin to carve into a Jack-O-Lantern. We still have really great, big pumpkins as well as all sorts of other funky gourds, bumpy and warty pumpkins, blue and pale peach pumpkins… lots of nice stuff to make your yard look festive for Halloween and the weekend to come.

Our outdoor plants will go on half price sale starting this Wednesday.

Outdoor plants go on sale half price starting Wednesday.

We have some nice stuff left including a beautiful native fringe tree, a good sized block of variegated Japanese forest sedge grass, a good amount of various hydrangeas, assorted asters and other late blooming perennials, some really pretty coral bells, various ground covers, quite a few native ornamental grasses, many berry bushes, and assorted evergreens. The ground is still warm and very moist so planting now is totally safe and a great way to create a really great garden in 2020. 

Once I have actually finished planting, I will be putting in my bulbs. I have been squirreling them away each week, and now have a good size pile in my garage. We are selling down quickly on our bulbs so if YOU want to get some in the ground this fall, you should get in here soon. We are also selling down on the organic hardneck seed garlic. No rush to plant this, I usually put mine in November, but you should grab it now before it’s gone. Diane said to be sure to tell everyone “there’s no more in the back!”. 

As we transition from fall outdoor planting season, it’s time to bring in your last winter’s amaryllis

I am a very happy lady, surrounded by giant amaryllis bulbs and cradling our new glass bulb forcing jar…

plants that have been growing in pots outside and store them dry in the cellar for the next few months. Buy a few new Amaryllis bulbs and pot them up NOW for late December and early winter blooms. We have GIANT bulbs as you can see from this picture. I am holding a bulb forcing glass which makes it so easy. Slide the bulb down, add water to the bottom chamber, and watch your bulbs take off. I collect vintage versions of these Amaryllis forcing jars and am glad to see we are stocking clear glass ones for both large Amaryllis bulbs and small bulbs like paperwhite narcissus. The long neck keeps them from toppling over, no staking needed.

Speaking of paperwhites, they have arrived as well. We carry the biggest grade bulbs available and that really makes a difference. They take 3-4 weeks from planting to bloom at this time of year so your first flowers will open around the first weekend of December if you plant them now. Yes, the year really is going by quickly at this point!

We have been getting in lots of new houseplants and succulents this week. 

With the return of daylight savings time, our thoughts do turn inwards. We have just restocked all of our candles, both the Mole Hollow dripless tapers as well as the Bedrock Farms fir candles. I know I must light candles from November onward to bring more light into my world. I crave it. It’s also time for houseplants. All of mine are

You KNOW you need more houseplants- don’t resist, stop in this week.

finally indoors, with the exception of one ivy I have quarantined in the back garage after repotting so I can spray it with Neem for insects before adding it to my collection. Oh, and my two big Thanksgiving cactuses are still on the front porch. They are budding up nicely in the cool weather and will be brought in over next weekend.  I haven’t finished “staging” my indoor plants yet- I am still washing saucers and trying to figure out where they will all live for the winter months in my house. I do need a couple MORE plants as well! I have a vintage plant stand from my grandmother that has the place of honor in my living room and I need a very shade tolerant, large plant like a snake plant or peace lily for that rather dark, but important spot. The shop is gradually filling up with new plants and pretty pots. Believe me, this is the only way to handle this transition time- buy more plants! Surround your self with them. 

We are making our signature succulent and dried flower pumpkin arrangements constantly. They make the best gifts and will last for many months as we don’t cut the pumpkin at all. When the pumpkin is finally finished, you can gently peel off the moss layer and plant the succulents in a clay pot filled houseplant soil and voila, you have a new succulent houseplant garden! Yes, we will have them for Thanksgiving and YES you can pre-order them as gifts for any occasion. 

And yes, we have started to put out the first of our holiday merchandise. It takes forever to unpack the new items, price, and display them. Within three weeks we will start harvesting greens. Once our attention turns to that phase of the year, the inside of the shop has to be all ready. Folks seem enchanted with what we have on the shelves so far. I hear quite a bit of ooing and ahing coming from the retail shop on a regular basis. 

Are you ready to transition to November? The other day I was harvesting grapevines with my girlfriends, twisting up some wreaths, and talking about the symbolism of what we were doing. The year comes full circle right about now. The seeds we have sown, we are now collecting and saving. The vines that grew all sumer are now going to decorate our doors, embellished with flowers we grew in our gardens. The gourds and pumpkins that we decorate with, they symbolize the harvest season. When you are a gardener, it all makes perfect sense. This week’s Facebook Video is all about appreciating the colorful leaves and lingering blossoms of the understory layer of your garden- the shrubs and perennials and ground covers- as the tall trees shed their leaves and coat the ground. The traditions we create help us to fit right into the cycles of the seasons. I find it a lot easier to handle when I am comforted by this knowledge.

Make time to come and visit this week. We will 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. When you bring your houseplants inside, if you notice any tiny, annoying fungus gnats flying out of the soil, don’t despair. We have an all-natural solution for that. Bacillus thuringensis comes in a granular form. We sell them as mosquito bits for birdbaths and standing water- B.T. kills mosquito larvae without hurting anything else. It turns out, it also kills fungus gnat larvae in houseplant soil. Soak the bits in water for about 10 minutes and use the solution to water your plants. Bingo. Problem solved. The directions are on the label.