I just coined a new name for my garden: Paradise unleashed! That phrase came to mind last Friday as I sat and watched in awe the life in the garden unfolding before me. Two pairs of hummingbirds did their spiral dance before my eyes. A monarch butterfly and a hummingbird both nectared on a nearby butterfly bush while a woodpecker ate sunflower seeds straight from the plant. Self seeded Verbena bonariensis (affectionately called “verbena-on-a-stick”) wove in the breeze between a mass of giant red zinnias. My ripening table on the deck was filled to overflowing with plum tomatoes and peaches. How is your garden doing this week?
Our monarch madness continues to grow. We just got in the greatest handmade polymer clay chrysalis earrings! I was greeted by my client Mary on Friday wearing these earrings. I was SO enchanted that I asked her to make me a dozen pairs for the shop. I bet you can think of a few monarch butterfly lovers that would want them. An article I wrote about the work we are doing raising and releasing monarchs hit the papers last week and people have been coming from far and wide to see the magic up close. So far we have released 15 males and 9 females and have over 100 in various stages developing in our shop! We are gearing up for our free workshop All About the Monarch Butterfly on Saturday, August 29th.
I garden in accordance with the phases of the moon and this week (following the new moon of last Friday) is the ideal time to plant above ground annuals. We’re talking lettuce, kale, broccoli, spinach, and tons of other cool season vegetables. Herbs too! I checked out our seed racks and we have seeds for 18 different lettuces and mesclun mixes, 7 types of kale, 4 varieties of chard, and 3 types of spinach. We have about 50-55 days left before the first frost is expected, plenty of time to grow a lot more food.
Waterlily colchicums in bloom in my garden. Plant them NOW!
Bulb season is around the corner and we just received our first shipment of FALL BLOOMING bulbs. Do you know about these? Colchicums are like giant fall crocuses. They are completely vole and rodent proof and have enormous flowers that appear magically out of the ground in September. One large bulb will produce a large cluster of flowers that keeps on budding up and blooming for a full month. We have the single and the double (‘Waterlily’) form. We also have saffron crocus and Crocus cartwrightianus, smaller October blooming fall crocuses. Why do we have them now? They love to be planted in August so they can root in and bloom this year. If we don’t plant them early, they often bloom, as a bare bulb, right in the boxes.
This Saturday morning is the next installment of our Natureworks Garden Summer School,a.k.a. a garden walk with yours truly. Hopefully we can get a bit of weeding done before then, the crabgrass wars by the road are raging right now. Last Friday I had one of my trusted employees help me weed out an overgrown bed in my back yard. Sunday I mulched all day, determined to NOT let this happen again. I put down flattened cardboard between all of the trees and shrubs as an extra layer of protection against more weeds. I then continued to weed and mulch a few other beds before finally collapsing. Then I enjoyed a dinner of homemade sauce from the garden, fresh cucumber salad, and sliced peaches from my peach tree which is now hitting the ground it is so heavy with fruit. Life is good, life is full, life is busy, and the garden continues to feed my soul, day after day.
Following my garden walk, my staff is hosting a fun event called The Top Ten Things to Make with a Tomato. All of The Natureworkers are overflowing with tomatoes, so they teamed up and compiled a list of some of their favorite tomato recipes and will even have some to sample. I hope you will take advantage of this interesting approach to learning new tips and experience a few tasty treats you’ve never had before. Feel free to bring your own favorite tomato dish and/or recipe if you have some, or just sit in and enjoy the tomato fun! If you don’t have time to make something to share, just come in to enjoy a tasting and share your favorite tomato recipes. I hope you will take advantage of this yummy event to learn new tips and experience tasty treats you’ve never had before.
Enjoy these classic summer weeks, you will be longing for this warmth and light all too soon. Make some time to stop by and see our monarch nursery, wave to the monarchs flying about, and learn all about what’s in bloom in August in the garden and on our benches.
I’ll see you soon…