June is Busting out all Over!

June is Busting out all Over!

Happy first full week of June.  I spent my weekend working in my garden. The weather was stunning, the sky was blue, there was a delicious breeze, and I got a lot done. I write this email on Tuesdays in the Natureworks office. As I grabbed my briefcase and lunch bag and started to leave on Tuesday morning, I was drawn into my back yard and just had to sit and admire it for 5 minutes. Breathtaking…purple and yellow irises, a giant pink beauty bush, blue cranesbill geraniums billowing out of the beds, a border of blooming chives covered with bees, early roses in bloom… My cat Buddy felt the vibe and jumped up on my lap for an unexpected 5 minutes of bliss. Then off to work I went, totally inspired by it all. 

So many new and unusual plants have arrived. This is Prunella, also called “heal-all”, a new variety of a native ground cover.  I use it to edge the front of a garden.

Once I got to Natureworks, I still couldn’t go inside. I had to walk through all the

The Campanulas are in flower on our benches this week. Campanula percisifolia makes a really long lasting cut flower

gardens and admire the irises, peonies, Alliums, Baptisias, and all the other perennials in bloom right now. Then I wandered up and down the aisles of the nursery yard. So many new plants have arrived since last week! Everything looks so happy and healthy. 

Everything also looks very tall and a bit overgrown. All the rain, then the sun, and the continuing cool has made our gardens explode. On Sunday, I started chopping back all kinds of perennials, specifically goldenrod, asters, and Montauk daisies. This Saturday I was supposed to do a 

News flash! Pruning perennials is now going to be a video taken in my home garden. 

workshop on pruning perennials. We were changing things up, limiting the class size, because it was so difficult to show people exactly how to do this with the busy road and 30+ people trying to see. Today we found out that the class signup page on our website wasn’t allowing certain transactions. So, instead of holding the workshop I am doing something totally new. I am bringing Facebook Live on Thursday night to MY yard where I will show you how to pinch and prune your perennials to double your color and prevent staking. This is based on a book that totally changed the way I garden- The Well Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy Disabato-Aust. When I first studied this book, my mind was blown. I ended up requiring all of my maintenance staff to take a course in which I taught these techniques. Now our summer and fall gardens are so much nicer. Diane St. John, my retail store manager, told me that she took this class and it totally changed HER gardening techniques too. It’s that important. So, tune in and watch the video. Then, come in anytime on Saturday between 9 and 11 and tell me what you learned. I will be working my Saturday shift in the retail yard and gardens. If you can prove to me that you understand the concepts, I will give you a copy of Tracy’s book for $5 off! 

Sign up for our Plant a Shade Container workshop coming up this Sunday and bring home this beautiful container. Call to register 203-484-2748

We hope to get the class registration of our website up and running in plenty of time for you to sign up for the many other exciting June workshops we are offering. This Sunday, June 9th Natureworker Jess will teach a class on planting up a beautiful container for shade. Jess used to work at Terrain and knows the funky, cool plants that we carry at Natureworks very well. You will go home with a gorgeous addition to your shady porch or patio. The following week I am offering an important pruning workshop two times in one day. We are limiting participation in each workshop this year so that participants can really see (and perhaps try their hand at) specific pruning techniques for shrubs that bloom on last year’s wood. 

‘Cinco de Mayo’ rose is a stunner. The flowers morph from orange to rich coral. It is an excellent repeat bloomer.
Rose ‘All Ablaze’ is a constant bloomer of the purest red. This is the second year that I have been blown away by this rose’s flower power. You must see it in person!

So it’s ROSE WEEK and PEONY WEEK at Natureworks. These two classic garden flowers are simply stunning right now. The longer I garden, the more I realize that the old fashioned plants really do make up the bones of the garden. 

If you want to pick out your peonies IN BLOOM, this is the week to shop! I am eyeing a few more for my home gardens such as pure white ‘Alan Rogers’, deep red single ‘Sword Dance’, and the beautiful pink variety shown above. 

It’s also the month when we celebrate the official arrival of the monarch butterflies to CT. Yes, we have seen a couple of monarchs, collected eggs, and have about 12 baby caterpillars in our nursery. But NOW is when they really start making their way to our state and we are ready. Are you? Our gardens are stuffed with common milkweed, butterfly weed, and all the other species of Asclepias. Our benches are overflowing with Asclepias plants, with lots of back-up stock behind the fence. 

Of course, our Asclepias is grown without poisons which would kill the caterpillars. On the left check out an unusual species: Asclepias verticillata. The late blooming, white flowers top finely cut leaves and make a delicate display in the garden. Our goal is to teach you which Asclepias is right for YOUR yard. Some people (like me), have a lot of space and can accommodate a giant patch of common milkweed spreading throughout the back forty and my massive shrub borders. Others have a much smaller garden and prefer the well-managed, clumping forms of Asclepias such as butterfly weed. If you don’t even have a yard at all, you can still attract monarchs and collect their eggs from the tropical Asclepias curassavica which will simply grow in pots on your deck. Come see all the types and decide which one is best for you.
This is an educational display that former Natureworker Jillian made to help you choose the right Asclepias for you. We’ve updated it and have all 5 types in stock now!

I am eating like crazy from my garden this week. As I harvest the last of my early spinach, radishes, and my first round of lettuce, there’s so much room that has suddenly opened up! Plus, I am finally planting my warm season veggies. I garden with the moon phases and it’s TIME to plant my tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant seedlings as well as plant seeds of cucumbers, climbing French pole beans, summer squash, winter squashes (especially ‘Honeynut’ baby butternut squash), and melons. I spent a better portion of the weekend filling up my new raised beds, getting the old raised beds ready, and organizing this project which will take place after work all week long. I sat for quite a while with my garden journal, finalizing what goes where so I can maximize my harvest and rotate plant families. 

Monday morning I filled a giant basket with broccoli raab, lettuce, spinach, and radishes. Guess what I am going to plant next…

We are still very well stocked with everything you need to do your June planting. From organic seedlings, herbs, fertilizers, compost, seeds, and row covers, we’ve got you covered. If you have ever doubted the effectiveness of floating row covers, just check out the gorgeous spinach in my basket above and know that Diane and I have the most outrageous, perfectly clean broccoli crops forming under row covers in our home gardens. My cucumber and zucchini seeds will also be sown under row covers and will stay protected until they bloom and need to be pollinated. 

Broccoli grown under floating row covers is simply gorgeous! When it starts to form the broccoli head, scratch in 
a small handful of organic fertilizer at the base of each plant. 
Feed the plants and they will feed you! 
My eggplants and peppers are finally going into my new raised beds this week. They are 12 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 18″ deep. Imagine all the food I can grow!
Nothing gets planted in my garden without dipping it in a solution of Organic Plant Magic compost tea solution. I always mix up compost and granular organic fertilizer in each hole or row. Already established veggies get a watering with Neptune’s harvest every 2-3 weeks. This week, it was time to liquid feed the sugar snap peas in my Smart Pots. Go ahead and feed your garlic now too!

My yard is filled with beauty, buzzing with pollinators, alive with birdsong, and is my total happy place where I go to be inspired every morning and recharge each evening. Yours can be too. Be sure to make time to stop into Natureworks this week and create your own happy place.

See you soon!

Our shop has been restocked with very cool houseplants including this striking watermelon Peperomia and the ever-popular pea vine, also called string of pearls.