What a lovely week we are experiencing! I am seeing brilliant blue skies, colorful flowers everywhere you look, grasses waving gracefully in the breeze, monarch butterflies flitting about, birds swooping from birdbath to bush. I love this season. At Natureworks, we are DETERMINED to make this your most colorful fall ever. We received four truckloads of fresh plants and two more will be here by Thursday. We do things a lot differently here than most garden centers, WAY different than big box stores and grocery stores, that’s for sure.
Aster oblongifolius ‘October Skies’ in my garden. It has aromatic leaves, making it very deer resistant. What a pretty color for the autumn garden!
First of all, we encourage you to plant PERENNIALS that bloom now. Topping that list are asters, of which we carry every type that thrives in CT. I am an aster fanatic- they are so important right now. The bees need them, the butterflies need them, they come in lots of colors, and they can grow in a wide
range of circumstances from full sun to woodland shade. Next on our list are Echinaceas. Coneflowers have come a long way baby, let me tell you. As Diane put it in last weekend’s gorgeous Facebook post, our Echinacea bench has been “reloaded” and they are on sale. Next up are perennial mums. Yes, they really are perennial and come back every year bigger and better. These are one of our specialties at Natureworks. I even wrote an article about them in CT Gardener many years ago. CT was the home to Bristol Nurseries, a nationwide breeder of perennial “Korean hybrid” chrysanthemums. That is what got me started exploring this group of plants, I kept running into in the gardens of older clients in the 80’s and 90’s. My goal is to carry them on and to introduce the new perennial varieties being bred in our modern times such as Mammoth Mums and Global Warming Mums.
Just how mammoth ARE Mammoth Mums? If you plant a small plant in your garden this fall, it will come back as a large clump with hundreds of flowers next fall. The bronze daisy variety in my own border is on its 5th year and looks so nice with orange zinnias and all kinds of asters surrounding it.
The next category for September and October are the perennial sunflowers. Helianthus is the genus and many have already bloomed. I await Helianthus salicifolius ‘First Light’. It’s my hands down favorite not just because of its pretty yellow daisy flowers but also because of the texture of the foliage- it is sometimes called the “rosemary leaf sunflower”. Growing only 40″ tall, it is easy to incorporate into any garden.
The fall garden is not only about flowers. Sometimes foliage or seed pods are the real
stars of the show. How about this: a fragrant white flowering shrub that grows 4-6′ tall, thrives in dappled shade, blooms in September, followed by seed pods that are glowing, iridescent blue and cerise red. I am talking about Clereodendron trichotomum. Then there is the autumn fern, Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’, so named because the spring new
growth and the fall growth is a brilliant shade of bronze. If you site this right, with the morning or evening sun shining through it, it will blow your mind.
There are more colorful plants to consider for the autumn shade garden. How about this mouthful- Rabdosia longituba. Blue tubular flowers bloom on 4-5′ arching stems in October. It’s related to Salvias so it is very deer resistant.
And don’t forget the Sanguisorbas and the Vernonias! In my own garden I have a winning combination of our native Sanguisorba canadensis with Vernonia ‘Iron Butterfly’. Both are in full bloom right now and are literally covered with all sorts of pollinators.
So get back out to your garden and PLANT SOMETHING this week! Add some perennial color and make an investment in your landscape for years to come. Grab some fresh annuals and redo your container gardens. I just did that on my deck, switching out some tired plants
for new fall bloomers. We have salmon/orange Agastaches, orange and yellow marigolds, red and purple verbenas, funky grasses, cabbages and kales, dwarf orange zinnias, ornamental peppers. You get the picture. As the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song from the 60’s goes “We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”. I couldn’t agree more.
This Saturday morning we are offering a FREE workshop on Growing Great Garlic at 9:30 am. The very first of our garlic has arrived (grown by yours truly I might add). Sunday we are having a very fun kid’s workshop featuring Leaf Printing (details are below).
I was on iCRV Radio for a wonderful hour long panel discussion on pollinators on Tuesday evening. If you missed it, it will be rebroadcast this Thursday afternoon at 2 pm
and this Saturday morning at 10 am
. This is an internet radio station, local and all about building community. We covered so many topics. It was the “fastest hour I have ever spent”. I had a blast. Visit http://www.icrvradio.com/
to listen to the broadcast (click the Live Audio Stream button at the top) or download their app to listen. Tune in and tell your friends.
So much is happening right now at Natureworks. Make some time to stop in this week and catch our enthusiasm. I look forward to seeing you soon…
P.S. I am THRILLED to report that our lawn renovation is underway at home. Last week my husband spread two yards of topsoil on our bare spots.Then he fed the lawn with Cheep Cheep organic dehydrated chicken manure granular fertilizer. Then we rented a slit seeder and applied a bag and a half of our Natureworks custom fescue mix. Now all he has to do is keep it watered and voila, we will have an organic front lawn. NOW is the time to reseed, feed, and renovate YOUR lawn. Do it in the FALL. I did. You should too!