May is on the Way!

May is on the Way!

It’s hard to believe that this is the last week of April. May 1st is Sunday and it is certainly time to get planting! The nights can still be quite chilly, so focus on planting cool tolerant annuals such as the gorgeous Diascias shown above (fragrant too) as well as perennials, shrubs, trees, early veggies and herbs. We are stocked to overflowing with the bounty of mid-spring.
Lathyrus vernus in my garden.

This week, be sure to wander through our gardens to see what is in bloom. The shade garden features Lathyrus vernus, also called spring vetchling, shown above in my garden blooming with Virginia bluebells. Bulbs are in their glory, and to celebrate, I am doing a Bulb Walk on Saturday morning. If you

Thank goodness for late blooming, fragrant Narcissus. This is ‘Cheerfulness’. Even my husband couldn’t believe the scent when I put a vase on our windowsill. 

come on the walk (details below) you will get a $5 gift card to clip to your September calendar good toward any bulb purchase of $25 or more in that month. Believe me, you will totally forgethow much you need and want these bulbs by the time fall rolls around.

In the afternoon, I will be offering the first of a monthly series called Playing with Flowers. I am convinced that I can teach anyone how to make pretty arrangements. This month, we will be making an old-fashioned May basket. This is a wonderful tradition. You take a small basket, pick flowers from your garden, arrange them in the basket, tie it with ribbons, and hang it on your doorknob or, better yet, the doorknob of a friend. What a sweet treat! This practice has been going on in Europe and America for centuries. This is  something we need to bring back. It is also an ideal gift for Teacher Appreciation Day on May 3rd. Spread smiles, give fresh picked flowers, surprise someone! To register for this workshop, see the details below. Next month we will be making an arrangement in a cute vintage vase. I have been collecting them just for this purpose. So far, I have 8 matching vases for the May Playing with Flowers workshop. Stay tuned.
Join me Saturday morning at 9:30 for a Bulb Walk!

With the warm weather, perennials are practically LEAPING out of the ground. I make a point to walk my property every day and I am astounded at the changes in 24 hours. Peonies are growing quickly and NOW is the time to

Put your peony hoops on NOW! 

place your peony hoops over them. Don’t wait, believe me, it is so much easier right now. We have plenty of hoops in stock. Peonies and other classic perennials are really popular this year. I am seeing a return to old fashioned favorites that have stood the test of time. I have more peonies than I can list here in my yard. I place them singly, as specimens, in all of my sunny borders and fill my house with bouquets in late May and early June.

So many other plants are coming into flower now, many of them seem to be a few weeks earlier than I would have expected. My Phlox divaricata ‘Blue Moon’ is opening, as are all of my delightful miniature Iris pumila varieties in my courtyard. Pink Silene is flowering along side old fashioned bleeding hearts and pink

We have the prettiest spring containers!

flowering almond shrubs. My shady wildflower bed is filled with primroses, Mertensias, and woodland anemones. Kerrias, bridal wreath spireas, and Epimediums greet me each morning by the driveway. Bulbs are swelling on the lilacs outside my bedroom window. Our container gardens at work are filled with pansies and spring flowering annuals that don’t mind the cool nights such as Diascias, Osteospermums, Marguerite daisies, sweet alyssum, and snapdragons.

All of us on the Natureworks staff have been admiring an unusual and exceptionally hardy primrose that I discovered in a very special woodland garden a few years ago. Primula sieboldii has crinkled leaves and deeply cut flowers of pink or white that look like they are a crocheted doily. The first plant I added to my deep shade garden has tripled in size in one year. It is backed by Hellebores

Have you tried Primula sieboldii?

and surrounded by Epimediums and dwarf astilbes. I can’t keep my eyes off of it when I am home.

April edibles are leaving Natureworks by the wagon load right now. Naturally we have a full selection of cold crops such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbages, lettuces, and so much more. Perennial edibles such as blueberries, rhubarb, and strawberries are also very popular as are herbs which can be put out now such as parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, and mint. Remember, don’t be tempted to put out warm season plants (tomatoes, basil, etc.) until mid-May at the earliest. You gain NOTHING and you could actually set them back by shocking them with cold soil and cold nights. Be patient. That’s what gardening is all about: “To everything there is a season.”
Feed your veggie babies and mulch them with shredded straw.
Be sure to FEED your edibles every other week to keep them growing and happy. We are using the NEW Neptune’s Harvest liquid fertilizer blends for veggies or flowers with great success. Never leave your soil bare. Spread shredded straw between your seedlings to keep weeds at bay and the soil nice and moist. On the left you can see Diane’s Brussel sprout babies in her raised bed this week. Below is her amazing harvest late last fall that fed an  entire family on Thanksgiving day!
The first two Eastern black swallowtail butterflies hatched in the shop early this week. Unlike the monarchs, these overwinter as chrysalises here in CT and begin to emerge now. Whenever a butterfly is born on our counter, we have a release ceremony. There is such a huge interest in planting for butterflies, bees and other pollinators, birds, and wildlife. Our native plant section, which is key to supporting these creatures, are the most popular benches in our nursery right now. After seeing Doug Tallamy last week and speaking on Plants with a Purpose all during Earth Day weekend, I am more enthusiastic than ever to share my knowledge and spread the word about the many native plants we carry and how to incorporate them into the backyards of my customers. There are native plants for just about every situation.
Miniature gardens are appearing everywhere around the nursery. You don’t have to have a lot of room to have a delightful garden.
Make tracks to Natureworks this week and get your gardening groove on. We have everything you need- wonderful plants, organic fertilizers, seeds, summer bulbs, organic veggie seedlings, mulch, and, of course, lots and lots of great advice! See you soon…
P.S. This Friday evening Natureworker Kassie Moss and I will be auctioneers at the CT Horticultural Society Spring Auction in Berlin. I have gotten SO MANY amazing, unusual plants at this auction over the years. You also learn a LOT about the plants as the auctioneers describe their attributes. Details on the auction can be found below. If I come into Natureworks on Saturday a bit tired with a slightly hoarse voice, you will know why! The auction raises money to give out scholarships to horticulture students, a cause very dear to my heart.