Look What’s Happening at Natureworks!!!

Look What’s Happening at Natureworks!!!



I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Natureworks is FULL of life! Last Friday Lisa Smith, of our landscape crew, found this spicebush swallowtail caterpillar while walking to her car at Natureworks. Isn’t he cute? He’s now in chrysalis form in the shop, along with monarchs, Eastern Black swallowtails, and more. When they are born as butterflies, we have a release ceremony and set them upon their favorite nectar plant in the gardens. I hope you are here someday when this occurs. It’s very special.


Veronicastrum ‘Lavender Towers’ has soft purple flower spikes and is abuzz each day with bees.

Outside, the pollinators are SO happy. Everyone notices how “alive” Natureworks is. That’s because we are overflowing with pollinator-friendly plants, especially lots of native plants. They will be the focus of my Saturday morning garden walk this week. Life also thrives in an organic ecosystem- that’s Natureworks! So if you are worried about the bees or the butterflies, come in and soak up the abundance. You will be relieved to see how much life can exist on one magical little acre.


Diane and I just returned from a fabulous trip to Chicago. The purpose of our trip was to attend a garden center conference but we made sure to make some special side trips to the Chicago Botanic Gardens and Millennium Park. That’s me in the photo above using my new tablet to shoot nearly 300 photos! Oh my goodness, the native plants were so amazing and I learned so much which I will, of course, be sharing with you.


Here’s Diane posing in a sea of Amsonia hubrechtii at Lurie gardens. This is a prairie in the middle of the city. You can see Agastache and Panicum in the background.


As you entered the botanic gardens this is
what you saw- masses of red perennial hibiscus, Joe Pye weed, Rudbeckias, grasses. Wow! If you are in Chicago, don’t miss these two wonderful places.

Now I’m back to reality, but that is not so bad since I am surrounded with beauty here as well. Our benches are overflowing with lots of beautiful, fresh, colorful perennials, shrubs, and grasses. New plants, bulbs, and many fall items are arriving each day. Diane and her staff are in the middle of a GIANT rearrange, both inside and out.

The heat is on this week and it’s important to WATER your plants, especially in containers and anything that has been recently planted. We have been spoiled with cool, dry weather. This final week of August is a reality check. The more you water your containers, the more you should feed them. I did so before I went away and my pots look lush and full. I am also feeding my new crops of veggies.


A while ago I planted some fall crops and they are doing great. My new method is to put in plants and seeds of the same type of veggie at the same time. Above you can see my escarole patch- six plants and a packet of seeds. This will prolong the harvest into late fall. I am watering them with Neptune’s Harvest one week, Organic Plant Magic the next and they are doing great. We still have veggie plants available. Kale is an excellent choice to plant now- seeds and plants! Think lettuces, Asian greens, radishes, beets, celery, collards, broccoli… keep growing food!


Caryopteris (blue mist shrub) is starting to flower. It thrives in the heat!

Our shrub sale continues for another week. I just walked around and took stock of what we have. We have LOTS of cool shrubs! Check out the article below to learn about some of my current favorites.


Ground cherries, unusual tomatoes, and more will be up for grabs during our Produce Swap this Saturday. 

This Saturday we are having our second Produce Swap of the summer. This is fun. If you have extra veggies, fruit, or herbs, bring them in. Take produce home with you that you don’t have. Try new varieties. Expand your food horizons. If you don’t have a lot to share, guess what. We will make you take home free food anyway. Our harvests are very abundant both from Natureworks Veggie Island and our home gardens. Let’s share the bounty. Any leftover produce will be donated to a local food bank.

We will be closed on Monday for the Labor Day holiday and we are still closed on Sundays in the summer. (We will be open on Sundays again on September 14th) So be sure to stop in this week or on Saturday to stock up on some fresh color to enhance your pots and gardens for the holiday weekend ahead. Don’t forget the herbal incense and all-natural mosquito repellant. These products really work. It’s back to school, back to business, and back to the garden time. Be safe and enjoy…

See you soon…

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P.S. I have been getting phone calls lately from customers who are dedicated to the organic lifestyle but have very dangerous wasp nests that threaten the health and safety of their family and guests. They do NOT want to use toxic poisons and call Natureworks for advice.

We carry Eco-Smart, an organic wasp and hornet killer that smells great (like herbs) and will shoot up to 18 feet. NEVER, EVER try and spray these dangerous insects during the day, only at night after dark. If it is a large nest or you are allergic, you should call an exterminator. I had to do that two years ago when yellowjackets made a giant nest in my root cellar. They got in through the hose bib. What a nightmare. Be safe, and be careful.