The countdown has begun…One week from today, Wednesday, March 20th, is the first day of spring and that means Natureworks will open for the season. Yay! Right now we are deep in the throes of getting our shop ready. We are painting, building shelves, unpacking boxes, decorating, and designing. It’s a madhouse, but it’s also very exciting and joyful work. On top of all of this, we

Mason bees have laid eggs in these tubes. They will be flying soon. Check out our new line of insect hotels and help our native pollinators this year!

are loading half the shop into the van and heading to CT College in New London on Saturday for the CT Master Gardeners Association (CMGA) conference where we will have a vendor booth, jam packed with seeds, books, and all sorts of goodies AND I will be giving a brand new talk on Foliage Plants that Give Color and Texture to the Landscape. Doug Tallamy is speaking on Saturday and if you haven’t seen him, you should go. He is simply amazing and makes me look subdued and quiet. Truly. He will change your view of the natural world. He’s that good. The day is filled with lots of 

Handpainted Austrian eggs are back this year!

other wonderful speakers, and finishes up with Heather Holm speaking about native bees. On-line registration is closed, but you can walk-in and pay at the door. CT College has an arboretum that is a real treasure. If it’s a nice day, plan on strolling through it before you go home. Info can be found below. 

Easter is as late as it can be in 2019, April 21st. That give us all plenty of time to add some “spring bling” to our houses, porches, patios, and decks. When you walk into Natureworks next week, we will be ready with all kinds of cheerful, happy things to help you transform your house for the new season. I hang my handpainted eggs from the chandelier over my dining room table. This year we are stocking these eggs again- collectors take note! They make such a sweet gift too. The bunnies and peep pillows come out of storage. Pretty tablecloths, napkins, and linens appear on every surface. All of this compliments the branches of forsythia, Abeliophyllum, cherry, and witch hazel that I have opening in vases throughout the house. What are YOU going to do this year to celebrate spring?
These insect hotels are constructed so you can look inside and they are easy to clean out. We also sell replacement tubes. 

This is a MELTING WEEK. I love it when the weather warms up and the water runs down the driveway and the earth reveals itself. The birds are singing like crazy in the morning, it is SO fun to hear it when I let my cat Buddy out at sunrise. The noses of the bulbs are popping up (hyacinth buds suddenly

appeared yesterday, much to my surprise) and the snowdrops are blooming their heads off. Prepare to see life emerge in fast forward. As SOON as you see bare ground, sprinkle on your breadseed poppies. Larkspur seeds too. They won’t sprout until later, but they need to be sown on cold ground. It is a fun March ritual, usually happening just as Natureworks opens. 

When we open, you will see a lot of new seed starting supplies. We are now carrying a really neat grow light set up, complete with heat mat, tray, and domes. We also sell all the parts separately. Late March is prime time to sow warm season seeds like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants and we’ve got them. Let us help you learn to grow from seed. If you have never done it before, sign up for one of Eliza’s Seed Starting workshops in our greenhouse in late March. The details are below. Class size is limited and you can easily sign up on our website. 

As the ground thaws, you should tiptoe around your beds and clean out any debris that you can before the bulbs really start growing. Cutting stuff down that was left up all winter is important now, especially Epimediums, bearded irises, Hellebores, and ornamental grasses. I have a lot of patching up to do as the plows tore up some of my creeping phloxes and lawn along the driveway. I will be hand pruning my tree hydrangeas and rose of Sharons as soon as I can get out there. 

St. Patrick’s Day is this Sunday, and the old adage is to “sow your peas on St. Patrick’s Day”. The soil will be WAY to wet and cold to do this but you could cover the area with black plastic to dry it out and warm it up. Make sure to use your soil thermometer to test the temperature of the soil before you sow them. Don’t have a soil thermometer? We carry them. I can’t imagine gardening in the spring without one. Sweet peas go in early too. They both should have legume inoculant added to the row. This is a beneficial bacteria that assists the plants in fixing nitrogen, which then feeds the plants. Use inoculant on LUPINES too when you either seed them or plant them. 
Peas need legume inoculant. Sweet peas too. Check out those Sugar Magnolia purple podded peas. Pretty and delicious.

In two weeks, we are thrilled to be back at the church for two very informative workshops on garden care. On Saturday, March 23rd, Lisa Elder, who runs

one of our garden crews, will share how she cares for our client’s gardens the Natureworks way. She will walk you through the gardening year with a strong emphasis on organic and sustainable approaches. In the afternoon, I will be teaching pruning: Overcoming your Fear of Pruning. Do you know the difference between new wood and old wood? Do you know how to prune hydrangeas, Clematis, butterfly bushes, quinces, winterberries, viburnums…? You will once you take this class. Information can be found below and you can easily register on-line. 

Enjoy this week, enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the smell of earth thawing. Treat yourself to classes, go to the Master Gardener conference, stock up on seeds and seed starting supplies, and then mark your calendars for Wednesday, March 20th, the first day of spring. Celebrate our 36th year by sowing seeds and filling your house with color and greenery. 

We will see you VERY soon…
Smile. Spring is only a week away!