Late Summer Loveliness

Late Summer Loveliness

It is the time of year for the boss to take a break and I (Diane) am here to write this weeks email. It definitely still is summer, however there are SO MANY new things arriving for fall. We got in one of our huge spring bulb shipments. Bulbs were a foreign notion to me when I started working at Natureworks but seeing them all pop up in the gardens my first spring here and every one since has made me love them and my yard gets many new ones added each fall. It is way too hot to plant them, but the selection is here and more are coming (possibly even this week). 
If you are a new gardener, try a few–you will fall in love with them when they pop up and flower next spring! Some easy, deer proof starter bulbs to try are Daffodils and Alliums. My favorite Allium and the one people want to buy when it is blooming here in May is Allium ‘Purple Sensation’. It is inexpensive and looks great planted in small groups scattered among the plants in the garden. If you are already addicted to bulbs, we have a selection you will find nowhere else. We choose very unusual ones because we want you to have that Wow Factor when they bloom in the spring. The employees are already drooling over several of them. 
 
Alliums are big purple balls that pop up in between other plants!  Want a pro trick? When they start to go to seed, cut the stem  close to the ground to let the energy go into making the  bulb strong, not produce seeds. Then, stick the stem right in the ground near the leaves-it looks like it is still growing! 
These make beautiful dried flowers too. 
 
Also arriving for fall and back to school are HOUSEPLANTS! We have fallen back in love with houseplants the past few years and are restocking our shop with unusual succulents and beautiful, easy foliage plants. Amber is planting away in every container she can find. If you come in and want a plant, we are happy to pot it for you in the pot of your choice-no charge for the organic soil. Add a macrame hanger and you will have instantly added a cool factor to your home and freshened the air you breathe.
 

  

                                             

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
More organic fall vegetable seedlings have arrived and guess what we got in? 
PEAS! Our veggie starter plant selection now includes 2 types of peas, chard, beets, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and kale. We have a few cedar raised beds left in stock, a few sizes of Smart Pot fabric bags and loads of organic soil and fertilizer to get you growing. My son Sam surprised me and has requested that we grow kale this fall. Finally, my teens are requesting vegetables they like and again are interested in what I am doing out in the garden! All my teaching when they were young sunk in. I was worried they lost interest, but lo and behold, the pre-teen stage is over and they now find it fun again to grow in the garden. 
 
Lettuce varieties include ‘Yankee Hardy Blend’, ‘Queen of Crunch’, ‘Gourmet Baby Greens’, and ‘Oak Leaf Blend’.
New this fall, we have 2 types of peas. ‘Little Crunch’ is a snap pea and ‘Oregon Sugar’ is a snow pea. Both are dwarf plants, perfect for containers or beds.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
No, this isn’t a ghost. This is a Smart Pot planted with kale covered with a floating row cover on metal hoops to prevent caterpillars on the kale.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Last week, Nancy and our newest employee Noah shot a video on how to use row covers in your fall garden. Row covers have become a staple in my organic growing
arsenal. They prevent the insects from getting to your plants, so there is no need to spray. Check out the video HERE — We stock row covers and the wire hoops. Many customers came in this summer for warm season veggies and showed me pictures of how well their spring crops grew under the row covers. So many of them were skeptical, and maybe you are too. They are easy and they work! Buy them once, and reuse for seasons to come. Having produced perfect, huuuuge broccoli years ago convinced me!
 
The temperature continues to stay hot. Tomatoes keep growing and we keep watering! Be sure to FEED your food plants, so they can feed YOU! Trim off any spotted or yellow leavesand toss them in the trash.Tomatoes grow with surprisingly little leaves on them at all! Use liquid Neptune’s Harvest made for vegetables. Neptune’s Harvest stores well over winter if needed! 
A tomato plant that has been trimmed and regularly fed this summer.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We are still deep in the heart of raising monarch butterflies and everyone who visits is enchanted and inspired by the Monarch Exhibit inside the store. I am so, so proud of this project. We started raising a few butterflies years ago to show customers what the caterpillars looked like. This included the black swallowtail which many of our customers had munching away on their dill and parsley. With the help of a couple of great customers named Merilyn and Helen, we started teaching about butterflies and now have joined with hundreds of customers and their families and friends in planting milkweed all over Connecticut and are helping raise the numbers of not only monarchs, but so many other pollinators in backyard organic gardens across the state. Together we have started a movement! Every day I am in awe of how our customers are raising monarchs at home and spreading the word to others. We are giving away caterpillars to teachers through mid September. If you are a teacher and have access to clean, pesticide free milkweed, we would love to give you caterpillars to raise in your class. We can help you with the details of how to do it. When children watch this lifecycle happen, a love of nature grows inside them. It is magical. View our monarchs web page to start learning about the process, Click Here.
 
 
 
As of today, in our store we have 
95 eggs, 
170 caterpillars, 
190 chrysalises, and have released 
476 monarch butterflies! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We are now tagging the butterflies daily and invite you to help. Read the article below in this email on How and Why We Tag Monarchs to see the dates and information. All of you are welcome to come for a quick tagging demo and if you want to try it, we will be happy to show you how. The feeling of releasing a butterfly is incredible!
 
 
We continue to stock many types of Asclepias and will continue as long as we can get it in. Common and Swamp milkweed are starting to look a bit rough in the pots but the roots are strong and it will transplant easily in your yard. The soil in fall stays warm at least through October and is perfect for planting! I am sure you will hear Nancy in future emails discuss this topic. We love planting in Fall!
Plant Asclepias for the Monarchs. 
It is THE plant they lay eggs on! The more we plant, the more the monarchs will rebound. Every yard counts! #ifyouplantittheywillcome

 

Of course we keep getting in new shipments of perennials and annuals. This week we are loaded with many September and fall favorites including Anemones, Asters, and our famous Dendranthemums, the perennial mums. When we say they are perennial, they come back bigger and better each year! They take their time blooming, and some of them are just budding up to bloom in October, others bloom in November. Imagine having flowers in November. It IS possible! 
 
This is Perennial Mum ‘Bolero.’ This photo was taken last October! It is just budded now-it will bloom in a few weeks.
Fall also means organic lawn care and renovation. It’s a bit too hot and dry to start this now, but it is the perfect time to get ready! Walk your lawn and look for bare, thin and weedy spots. Fall is the time to get seed down and get new lawn growing in those spots to have a great lawn in 2019. I am doing my annual fall organic lawn care talk on Saturday, September 15th at 10am. Nothing makes me more worried than seeing kids and pets playing on a lawn that has been treated with pesticides. You do NOT NEED these chemicals! My lawn is 100% organic and has been for many years. I was a chemical lawn user way back when until I had children and started paying attention to the ingredients on the bags at the box store. Organic lawns are SAFE and can be played on right after fertilizing! 
Grub problems will start showing up now or soon as well. If there are areas being torn up by birds or skunks, you may have grubs. We have a non-toxic solution for that too–actually we have TWO solutions. Grub Gone G is a new, granular grub product that we have good feedback on. Nematodes are also in stock now and are applied with water. Wait a bit until the rain returns-that is the best time to apply these products. 
 
We carry the highest quality grass seed blends for our area.
 
I always encourage a soil test first. Here is the link to the UConn test– http://www.soiltest.uconn.edu/sampling.php We also have them printed out in the store for you. Send your soil sample to UConn and bring in the results for us to interpret and get your family started on a healthy, organic lawn for 2019. 
If you use a lawn service and they are not doing a soil test of your lawn, please questions their practices. How could they possibly know what your lawn needs without a soil test? I use the analogy “It’s like going to the doctor and getting a blood test.” You need to know what nutrients are in abundance and which are lacking. And the pH of the soil is crucial. A soil test is needed to know these things in order to have the best possible lawn. 
 
This Thursday night on Facebook Live at 5 pm I will be tag-teaming with Eliza! I will be demonstrating and explaining how and why we tag monarch butterflies and Eliza will do a demonstration on planting some of our new fall crops, like peas, beets and chard. Keep on planting food-there is time for a whole season of crops to come.
 
I hope you can take some time to stop by soon. We invite you to sit for a few minutes in the display gardens and watch the life buzzing around you. Surround yourself with flowers and butterflies. Last weekend we had children playing in our “compost” sand box, people sitting in the garden, and monarchs flying everywhere. It felt so peaceful and nice. Join us! 
 
Thank you for making my job so wonderful, 
Diane
 
P.S. 
Sales this week: Nan is away, and we LOVE to play when the Boss is away so on Thurs, Sept 6th-Sat, Sept 8th I will have a few surprise sales with blocks of plants on the benches! I’m thinking a bunch of summer bloomers–Daylilies, Astilbes, Irises, Hydrangea macrophylla and arborescens 
can also be on sale….. 30% off
Just for those 3 days…. Sept 6th-Sept 8th
 
The current sales below are also still in effect until Wed, Sept 12th
 
Heucheras are on sale. Look at how they add foliage color to this fall windowbox. Then you can plant them in your permanent garden.
All Kirengeshomas, Eupatoriums, Heucheras, and Agastaches are 20% off
 
Berry plants and figs are on sale 20% off
 
Hummingbird nectar 20% off 
 
Healthy Grow organic granular fertilizer 25% off
 
Sidewalk Sale on past-bloom plants continues on the front lawn. New plants added all the time!