It’s Easy to Add Color!


Dear Nancy,
Fall has officially arrived. What a glorious time of year to work and play outside. The cool air fills us with energy. Gardens are bountiful with vegetables, flowers, and herbs for cutting, cooking, and preserving. The drought has ended and we have been blessed with a few deep, soaking rains, making it an ideal time for planting. Although the night-time air may be cold, the soil is still very warm. Plants of all sorts, grass seed, and cover crop seeds root very quickly in the fall.
Colorful Echinaceas, new dwarf Coreopsis, repeat blooming yarrows, and a lot more are flowering now.
At Natureworks, our mission is to get you to fall in love with your fall garden. So many people plant in the spring, and why not? Spring fever hits all of us hard and we rush into the garden center and buy tons of flowering plants. There is a problem with this. By September those spring bloomers are long faded. In order to have a colorful, lush, amazing fall garden, you have to plan for it. Since most of us don’t give a thought to fall in May, you can remedy that situation now.
Ascene from our gardens, complete with a monarch butterfly. The Echinacea seedheads on the left remain for  the birds. As they stop blooming, the native white Sanguisorba, pink Japanese anemone, and yellow perennial sunflowers carry on the show.
Stroll through the Natureworks demonstration gardens and you will see TONS of perennials, flowering shrubs, ornamental grasses, and fall bulbs in bloom. Asters abound, in every color and size. Perennial sunflowers, variegated Liriope, Chelone (turtlehead), sedums… I could just go on and on. Slowly, steadily, we have been developing our fall gardens. You can too.
Variegated Liriope has been an autumn attraction in our shade garden for over 20 years
My personal method at home is to identify gaps in color and then bring home plants to fill those gaps. At first, fall plantings may look a bit out of scale. Those plants will have established and taken off by next year, providing you with endless joy! Even annuals and tender perennials can be incredible right now. Our favorite orange annual flower right now is Leonotis (shown on the left). You have to see this plant to believe it! It is just budding up now and we have many for sale. We use the blossoms in pumpkin arrangements as well as a spiky accent plant for fall containers.
Beginners buy annual mums and plunk them in here and there. Although they add color, they often look like an afterthought and rarely come back the following year. If you must plant mums, check out our collection of PERENNIAL mums. I have been cultivating this category for years and years, having first realized that mums can be amazing late fall flowers if you choose them right. We have over a dozen varieties including orange ‘Bolero’, white daisy ‘Venus’, purple button, super late blooming ‘Mei-Kyo’, Mammoth mums, Global Warming mums, and a lot more. Plant these now and next year they will be big and full. In a couple of years you will be lifting and dividing them in the spring, spreading them around your property and giving them away to friends.
Global Warming mums are so named because they bloom in October, providing nectar for our hungry late fall pollinators.
You can give the gift of a beautiful garden to anyone you visit or needs a pick-me-up. We create pretty fall garden baskets, complete with colorful perennials, kale, winter pansies, mums, and a lot more. You can also give someone a spring bulb garden. We carry many collections of bulbs for different purposes- succession color, daffodil blends, that sort of thing.
Beautiful Bulb Blends
My staff can guide you in creating a very special gift that will continue to grow and thrive. You can even have them make up a fall fairy garden or terrarium!As I walk around my own gardens, my head is spinning with ideas about what I want to rearrange, reorganize, and divide. That season is finally upon us. From now until the end of October you should be tweaking your gardens. Plants gotten too big? Something growing in the wrong spot? Daylilies need splitting? Do it in the fall. Next spring you will be wearing rose colored glasses, looking at your emerging garden, thinking all is well with the world. Any issues you see now should be corrected in the next six weeks.

This Saturday our 9:30 garden walk will focus on hydrangeas in a big way. This was not a great year for hydrangea lovers and I have been bombarded with questions for months. I will focus on pruning, winter  protection, and the various varieties and how they differ. Bring your questions- this is going to be an interesting morning. Then I will demonstrate how to use hydrangea flowers in dried wreaths and arrangements. Details are below.
Next weekend, Oct. 4th and 5th, is our 5th Annual Bulbs for Breast Cancer Fundraiser weekend. We have a very exciting time planned.   The Gmonkey organic food truck and some local artists will be here selling their goods. We will have drawings and raffles all designed to raise money for After the Storm, a local breast cancer support group. 10% of the revenues of all bulbs sold over the weekend will go to this wonderful organization.
I will be giving a couple of bulb workshops including the basics (which side goes up, how deep do I plant them…) and a design class that will teach you how to use bulbs to double your color for six months. The details are below. Please spread the word and tell all of your friends. We want to raise a TON of money for After the Storm, Inc this year!So much is going on at Natureworks it makes my head spin. I hope you are as excited as I am about this fall season and will stop in for a visit this week.

Screen shot 2014-09-18 at 12.29.22 PM