Sitting and Watching Summer

Sitting and Watching Summer

Happy last day of July! The summer is rolling along and I am finding myself spending more time than usual just sitting and watching my garden grow. Could it be my reaction to our second heat wave? Or perhaps it is just the

Do you have enough zinnias? What an action plant. They must be SO filled with nectar. Butterflies of every kind adore them, so do the hummingbirds. 

incredible amount of life in my garden that stops me in my tracks. I have a new spot in my lower back yard under a blessed giant maple tree. Boy, it is a great time of year to appreciate shade trees! I lightly limbed up some branches just so I could watch the birds on my elderberry bush which is dripping with ripe fruit. From this chair I can also see monarch couples swirling through the air and then finding nectar on all the zinnias and Mexican sunflowers dotting my raised veggie beds. The goldfinches are singing their happy song because the giant sunflowers (which are self sown by the very same goldfinches each year) are blooming. They love to perch upside down on the flowers and then flit about, chirping away.

My second sitting spot is on the edge of my raised beds right in the garden. There I closely observe the buzzing of the dozens of different pollinators, large and small, on my mountain mint (Pycnanthemum muticum) which surrounds the garden.
Mountain mint surrounds my garden. Bee balm, two kinds of goldenrod, and Lemon Queen perennial sunflowers grow happily in its midst. This is a very effective pollinator patch.

If you don’t have heavy clay soil like I do, you may want to try Monarda bradburiana, a native bee balm relative that does well in dryer, sandier spots. It is called spotted horsemint and I am fascinated by the way it is flowering on our benches.

See the giant bumblebee on the spotted horsemint? Have you tried the heat loving native yet?

My other summertime passion is collecting monarch eggs and raising them. I never actually did this at home before. This year I am hooked. I think it is because there are SO MANY monarchs in my yard every day. I watch them

These are bunches of young milkweed that Diane pulled before her husband mowed the back lawn! You won’t believe how many eggs and caterpillars she found.

lay eggs and then run over and collect them and put them in my raising boxes. I have every kind of Asclepias, with common milkweed in great abundance. I can’t walk by the plant without turning over a leaf. I raise them from eggs to tiny newborn caterpillars to large caterpillars and then I bring them into work so they can be born and released at Natureworks, hopefully in front of YOU and your friends! We are doing that practically every day.

This Sunday, Diane is teaching another Learn to Raise Monarchs class at Natureworks. This is a training class for anyone who wants to learn the basics. It is a great opportunity for teachers, parents, kids, camp counselors, activity directors… you get the picture! The class size is limited so everyone gets attention. Students may even get an egg or a caterpillar to take home. Click Here to register. Attend with a friend and start a movement!
Check out this gorgeous blue flower. It is tropical Plumbago and we just got in some fresh plants. It is called the corsage flower in Hawaii because the base of the florets have a sticky sap which clings to your shirt! It’s time to REFRESH your containers.

This Saturday morning, I am teaching a class on Growing and Harvesting Fresh and Dried Flowers. I will harvest from my home gardens and from Natureworks and demonstrate conditioning flowers, which flowers can be dried and how, and the basics of making casual arrangements for the home. At the end of the workshop, I will raffle off one of the arrangements I will be making and one mixed bunch of our very own dried flowers. This class is also limited in size and is part of our ongoing series to encourage you to “grow your own” local cut flowers and then PLAY with them!!! Click Here to register.

Tune in this Thursday at 4 pm for a special episode of Facebook Live. I will be

Do your container gardens look happy? Are they flowering like crazy? Learn how to care for them like the pros- tune into Facebook Live this Thursday at 4 pm. 

teaching you how to REFRESH your container gardens by switching out tired plants for new ones, feeding, and topdressing with compost and mulch. I spoke on this same topic at my workshop last Saturday morning and had a tent full of people asking me tons of questions. I will do my best to teach you the important techniques used by my crews AND highlight some of the fresh color that has just arrived this week.

North Branford will be hopping all weekend with the Potato and Corn Festival that is happening right down the street from Natureworks! Click Here to read all about the many fun activities happening in our town. Be sure to stop in for a visit to Natureworks when you are in town. Stroll our beautiful gardens and say hello to the butterflies. Kids love coming to Natureworks. We had a great Kid’s Day last Sunday and we have another Grow Organic Kids workshop next week. Check out the Calendar of Events below or go to our website. There is SO MUCH going on at Natureworks this summer.
Do you grow Pentas? This is one of the best annuals for both butterflies and hummingbirds. We just got in some gorgeous white and purple plants. Keep on planting! #freshcolor
Diane and Suzanne will be taking our monarch butterfly raising exhibit on the road this coming Thursday. They will have an educational booth at the Durham Farmer’s Market from 3-6:30 pm. This is right on the beautiful green on Rt. 17 in Durham center. Enjoy shopping the market and stop by!

Everything is looking lush and happy both outside and inside the shop. We

Pea vine is such a fun, easy care houseplant.

have lots of succulents, vases, tools, books, and unique gift items for summer parties and hostess gifts. Don’t forget to bring the lemon eucalyptus oil all natural bug spray with you along with the herbal outdoor incense to keep the mosquitoes away.

We are open Wednesday thru Sunday in the summer and welcome you for a visit. Stock up on organic fertilizers, compost, mulch, and everything you need to keep your garden growing happily. Very soon our organic fall veggie seedlings will be here and we still have plenty of seeds of kale, carrots, beets, and herbs like cilantro and dill that need to be reseeded regularly.
We have a bunch of great sales going on, including all of our organically tended roses on sale for 50% off. We also regularly restock our 50% off sale bench, over by the teaching tent. These plants are usually past blooming or potbound or just need a little T.L.C. They are a great bargain!
I hope you can make the time to visit us during one of our open days. Despite the heat and the rain and everything else Mother Nature dishes out, the gardens and the plants on our benches look pretty spectacular. Take time to come, sit, and watch the life in our gardens. You will certainly be inspired to bring home some new plants and help the life in your garden to thrive.
Stop in and soon..


Besides our ever-changing 1/2 off sale bench, all Roses and Irises are on sale at half price. These are gorgeous, organically tended plants, ready to put on a late summer and fall display of color in YOUR garden.