Natureworks Horticultural Services
Natureworks   |  518 Forest Road  |  Northford, CT  06472  |  203-484-2748

    Bulbs for Breast Cancer Fundraiser






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Monarch Update

We had an amazing experience at the Durham Fair last weekend. We were in the Discovery Tent and for three days we talked monarch butterflies with everyone who came to visit. We brought with us six newly hatched butterflies as well as many containers filled with caterpillars of every size and chrysalises about to hatch.

Miracles occured in those three days. We were able to WATCH a hanging "J" caterpillar transform into a green chrysalis before our eyes. We taught many people how to tag butterflies for Monarch Watch and they were able to release them outside the tent. Butterflies are so meaningful to so many folks. One woman held the butterfly in her hand for 15 minutes before it flew away; the entire time she spoke of her grandmother who loved butterflies so much. People constantly expressed their joy at seeing monarchs again. For many, they haven't seen one in 2-3 years!

On Sunday and Monday, while working in my gardens, I saw monarchs flying around. I followed them to see if they were perhaps the tagged ones released at the fair, but no! Monarchs are now actively making the miraculous 3000 mile journey to Mexico for their winter hibernation. Keep your eyes open in the next week to see if they visit your asters and other flowers to fuel up for their trip!  

Let us Plant up Your Fall Pots- the soil and labor is on us! 
The time for fall decorating is upon us.  Our benches are overflowing with cold hardy annuals, mums of every size (including cute little 4" pots, perfect for windowboxes), and colorful foliage plants.  

Diane and Amber asked me to pass along this planting proposal: buy a pretty pot from us (or bring in your own container from home), choose the plants from our benches to fill it, and we will plant it up into our organic soil for free! Naturally, we will offer you our design expertise in choosing just the right plants for your conditions.
Compliment your containers with some "Pumpkinscaping"! Place pumpkins right into the pots, or stage them alongside. Stack them high and hold them together with a strong stake or metal rebar. Place baby pumpkins in between the plants in your windowboxes. Surround yourself with the harvest bounty of nature at this time of year. We have top quality, interesting varieties for you to PLAY with.  
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This weekend is our annual Bulbs for Breast Cancer fundraiser. I started this event many years ago to help raise money for a wonderful local group, After the Storm. After seeing what my sister went through following her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, I quickly realized that the emotional, spiritual, and physical help that After the Storm gives is invaluable. 10% of all the bulbs that you purchase on Saturday and Sunday will be donated to them. Come in, buy lots and lots of bulbs, make your garden more beautiful, and make your bulb buying dollars really mean something! My Saturday morning workshop will focus on how to use bulbs to add tons more color to your landscape from February through July. I will explain which bulbs bloom when, a true study of succession of bloom with bulbs in CT.  
Iris 'Katharine Hodgkin' is a diminutive, April blooming iris with exquisite blue coloration.

Bulbs are just so easy to plant. If you have an existing garden, you can pop them in between the crowns of the plants. New areas should be prepared as you would any garden, using compost and organic fertilizers. 
'Rip Van Winkle' dwarf Narcissus and pink Hellebore jazz up the April garden.
Bulbs can be added to your foundation plantings, by your mailbox, and in the beds surrounding your deck or patio. Many are great as cut flowers and some simply make your heart sing in early spring when they appear (such as the dwarf blue and white iris pictured above).  Many bulbs are exciting and architectural. The Allium schubertii at the top of this newsletter is three dimensional, with starburst lavender flowers forming huge orbs. I dry these for fall arrangements and everyone talks about them when they are blooming in the late spring garden. 
Fritillaria persica is a very unusual bulb that has been coming back in our perennial gardens at the shop for over TWENTY years! The bulbs are quite aromatic and repel voles and chipmunks. 

Just when is the correct time to plant bulbs? This is going to be a rainy week (thank goodness, we need it so desperately) and the timing couldn't be any more perfect. If you buy your bulbs this weekend, the soil will be ideal for planting next week. If you prefer to wait until your perennials start to go dormant in late October, they can be stored in the garage or shed. Bulbs are just so forgiving and easy to work with.  
A rainy week means that ideal fall planting time is finally here! Come on in and fill up a wagon today.  

The welcome rain also sets us up for wonderful five weeks of planting ahead! I have said this many times, and I will say it again: I do almost all of my plantings at home in the fall. Spring is just too busy and in October, it is very clear to me where I need more color and where I need to fill in the blank spots. I also do all of my rearranging and dividing in October. I have Japanese irises and daylilies to split, self sown ironweed and aster plants to relocate, and an ever-growing pile of perennials, flowering shrubs, and evergreens to put in strategic places around my yard.
Eupatorium hyssopifolium has fluffy white flowers and grows 2-3' tall. It is a great native plant that combines well with ornamental grasses and tall asters.  
We have so many wonderful habitat plants on our benches this week. I spent a lot of time in my gardens on Sunday and Monday simply observing the honeybees, bumblebees, and other pollinators, trying to understand what nectar flowers they appreciate the most at this time of year. Eupatoriums, Asters, mums, goldenrods, Sedums, herbs (such as mountain mint and arugula flowers), Rudbeckias, perennial sunflowers, and butterfly bushes seemed to attract them like magnets.
Helianthus 'First Light' is just starting to flower this week. 
Last fall I planted Helianthus salicifolius 'First Light' in the bed next to my deck. This plant has tripled in size this year and is just starting to open. Hundreds of cheery, yellow daisies line the stems, making it both an ideal pollinator plant and a long lasting cut flower. Often called "the rosemary leaf sunflower", the leaves are thin and linear and look good all summer long. It grows 40" tall. I paired mine with one of my favorite grasses, Molinia caerulea 'Skyracer'. We have a bunch of Helianthus 'First Light' in stock; last year we ran out the minute it began to flower. Don't miss your chance to add this great perennial to your permanent collection.
Marigolds, mums, and pretty grasses all compliment our great selection of pumpkins. The time for fall decorating is here!

The rainy week also means that it's finally the ideal time to seed and fertilize your lawn. You should also consider taking a soil test or two from your lawn and garden beds so you can correct any deficiencies this fall. Lime and mineral powders take a while to work, applying them in October makes great sense. We are actively topdressing many of our client's gardens with compost this coming month as well. The prolonged drought showed us the value of organically enriched soil. Adding compost in the fall is one chore that will save you a lot of work next spring.

Please make it a point to take part in our Bulbs for Breast Cancer fundraiser this weekend. Spread the joy of bulbs, and of helping others in need, throughout your neighborhood and among your family and circle of friends.

I'll see you soon! 

The Garden Bouquet of the Week

I am on a mission! I want to inspire all of my readers to go out to the garden every week and pick flowers. I have been doing it for decades and it brings so much beauty to the inside of my house, especially now that the days are getting shorter. We need this in our lives!

This week's Garden Bouquet of the Week is
purple monkshood (Aconitum arendsii), Gomphrena 'Zazzle' (the glowing starburst of magenta in the center), yellow Jerusalem artichokes (a perennial sunflower with edible roots), 'Tardiva' tree hydrangea, fresh flowers on Hydrangea 'Endless Summer', goldenrod, culinary sage foliage, surprisingly fragrant pink Sedum blossoms, spikey pink Persicaria, and Aster laevis 'Bluebird' and Aster oblongifolius 'Raydon's Favorite'.

Fall monkshood is a very long lasting perennial that struts its stuff in late September and October. Related to Delphiniums but much easier to grow, Aconitum arendsii grows 5-6' tall and lasts for a week as a cut flower in a vase. This photo was taken Monday morning in the mist. Monkshood has spread throughout my borders; this one is growing under the canopy of a pear tree. Yes, they will grow in partial shade!


Saturday, October 3rd
9 am - 5 pm
& Sunday, October 4th
10 am - 4 pm

6th Annual 
Bulbs for Breast Cancer
Fundraiser: Raffles, Refreshments
and more!

10% of all bulb sales during this weekend will be  donated to After the Storm, Inc. a local group that  assists cancer survivors heal emotionally,  physically and spiritually. In the past year alone,  they distributed $34,000 to local hospitals for these  special programs. Make your bulb buying dollars  count while creating a beautiful spring garden.
We just added a free talk by Nancy about bulbs.  Please see the information in the purple events block below.
Bi-Weekly Plant Sales

Thursday, Sept 24th 
 Wednesday, October 7th

All Fall Blooming Anemones
20% off
Pink ones, white ones, single ones, double ones, short ones, tall ones... Japanese anemones are one of the best perennials you can plant in your fall garden. They come back reliably year after year and spread easily.

The Classic Shade Plants:
Hostas, Cimicifugas, and Astilbes
20% off

Here are some of the varieties we have in stock as of this writing:

Cimicifuga- the common name for this plant is snakeroot. It prefers shade and a compost enriched soil.
  • Cimicifuga ramosa 'Atropurpurea' has a burgundy cast to the foliage and really fragrant white flower spikes in late September and October that reach 4-5' tall.
  • Cimicifuga ramosa 'Brunette' is similar to the above variety but the leaves are a much darker shade of burgundy and flowers have a very pale pink cast.

Hostas- these are classic shade garden plants and we carry a nice selection. Our stock right now includes 'Blue Mouse Ears', 'Regal Splendor' (with flowers that reach 6' tall), 'Risky Business',
'Queen Josephine', 'Guacamole' (with fragrant late season flowers and variegated foliage, and Hosta plantaginea, also called the August lily with large, tubular, fragrant white flowers.  


Astilbes- these perennials do best in partial shade. Their finely textured foliage contrasts nicely with hostas and together they are the mainstay of most shade gardens. Our stock right now includes 'Milk and Honey', 'Maggie Daley', late blooming and tall 'Purple Candles', deep red 'Fanal', and the teeny tiny dwarf 'Lilliput'.   



Perfect for seeding lawns and topdressing veggie gardens. 



  • All remaining organic veggie seedlings
  • Select Dr. Earth granular and liquid fertilizer (excludes bulb fertilizer and liquid lawn fertilizer)
Saturday, October 3rd 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Which Bulbs Bloom When: Planning for Succession of Bloom
Nancy's specialty is accurately tracking succession of bloom in CT gardens. In fact, she wrote a book on this subject! Join her in our teaching tent as she explains how to incorporate bulbs into your gardens that will bloom from late February, all through spring, and well into July.

Off-Site Event

Natureworks has been invited to have a booth at this unique craft fair which benefits  THE WETHERSFIELD HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 100 juried artisans will exhibit quality handmade crafts at picturesque cove park overlooking the Wethersfield Cove.  This show has a reputation for attracting high quality crafts and artwork by artisans from all over New England.  Come by and visit our booth which is E 14.
* * * * *

Saturday, October 10th
> Last Early Bird Sale of the Season 7 - 9 am
Coffee and a free $5 gift card, towards any purchase of $20 or more, for those who shop before 9 am.

> Fall Gardening School 9:30 - 10:30 am
Garden Renovation 101- NOW is the time to renovate your gardens. Nancy will explain the 10 most common problems encountered in existing gardens and how to go about correcting them this fall. This is a great basic design class for beginners or experienced gardeners who want to review their current gardens and make them better. Remember, next spring you will have forgotten all about the issues that have been bothering you this year!

Sunday, October 11th
Halloween Fairy Festival 10:30 am - 12:00 noon
Creatures of all kinds are invited to participate in our second annual Halloween themed Fairy Festival. We're expanding to include gnomes, goblins, and gremlins of all sorts to celebrate this enchanting time of year. Activities include Fairy (or goblin) house building in the Natureworks gardens. Participants will make and take home a Pumpkin Paradise mini-garden made out of a hollowed-out sugar pumpkin and seasonal annuals.
Because we can't wait for Halloween to get here, wearing costumes is highly encouraged!
Please call to register, $25, 203-484-2748

Visit for  
more information! 
Our October flyer is ready too, click here .