Natureworks Horticultural Services
Natureworks   |  518 Forest Road  |  Northford, CT  06472  |  203-484-2748
          Cooling Down our September Heatwave 





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Monarch Update
Call us crazy, but we are continuing to raise monarch butterflies at Natureworks. This generation will migrate to Mexico so every monarch we release is tagged and registered with Monarch Watch.

Last week, Diane hosted a group of high school students from E.O. Smith High School in Storrs. She taught them (and their teacher) how to raise monarchs and they all got to tag one. 

To show you just how over the top we have gone with our Monarch Mission, here's the count as of September 8th:
  • Total raised and released: 73
  • Total tagged (of those we released): 48
  • Chrysalises in the shop: 50 (8-10 will probably be born this Wednesday)
  • Eggs: 3 (and we are collecting more)
  • Caterpillars: 45
We have so many growing at the shop that we are planning a
Monarch Release Party. It's free, but you have to register, and we are limiting it to 12 people.

Monarch Release

September 20th

Time: 11:30 am

Limit: 12 people

To register: 
Email us at
or call us at  

Don't delay, 
this will fill up fast.

The event may be cancelled due to heavy rain as monarchs can't fly in the rain.  
Organic Products for Fall Projects

Fall is the ideal time to start new projects or enhance the gardens that you already have. Planting spring blooming bulbs is one of the most significant things that you can do to make next spring a sheer delight. 

Last year we trialed Repellex Systemic, a granular repellent that is taken up into the plants and bulbs and makes them taste like hot pepper. It takes two weeks to become effective and it only works on plants that are actively growing. When you plant bulbs in the fall, they immediately start to grow roots and this hot pepper flavor is taken up into the bulbs. This will protect them until the ground freezes as it lasts for three months. In the early spring, as soon as you see the bulbs emerging, apply it again for another three months of protection. By then the bulbs will have gone dormant.

We are thrilled to announce that we will soon be stocking Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae.
There are two forms. Grub Gone is used to control the larval stages of pests. Beetle Gone will be available next summer for beetle control. This new strain of B.T. has taken the organic gardening world by storm. We have waited all year for the CT D.E.E.P. to approve this product and they finally did. We expect our first shipment by late September.

What makes this so special? This is a bio-insecticide that controls susceptible beetles, borers, weevils, and grubs upon ingestion. It the kills BOTH the adult and larval stage of susceptible beetles. We are talking Japanese and Asiatic garden beetles, including the grub stage. It can be used both on edible crops as well as ornamentals and in playgrounds and parks. It will NOT HARM bees or flowering plants and is compliant with the USDA National Organic Program for use in organic crop production. It is listed as non-toxic by the Xerces Society.

We will have information sheets that thoroughly describe exactly which pests it has been confirmed that B.T. galleriae controls. The list is long.  Because it works on the first through 3rd instar, it can still be applied in CT in October. This is a game changer compared to the other products we have offered in the past such as beneficial nematodes and Milky Spore.  

If you would like to be notified as soon as our Grub Gone arrives, please call the shop at 
or email us at
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Labor Day has come and gone and it's pretty hard to believe it's September with yet another heatwave upon us. But the biggest story in the gardening world is the drought. I came home from a week's vacation in Vermont (where it was also hot and dry) and spent Sunday and Monday watering shrubs and trees. I was blessed to have Natureworker Kassie Moss take care of all of my newly seeded fall veggie beds, my 6 fig trees, and all of my potted plants while I was gone. BUT, to see full grown trees and shrubs that have been in the ground for 3, 5, even 8 years suffering really shocked me. I put my hose at a low setting at the base of each stressed out tree and shrub for about 10-15 minutes and moved it around throughout the two days while I puttered in the gardens deadheading, weeding, and picking veggies. I was thinking hard about what information I could share with you in this email about dealing with heat and drought. Here's what I came up with:
  1.  Water seedlings every morning. I have radishes, brocolli raab, carrots, escarole, lettuce, and a lot more growing and they can't be ignored. I am also feeding them with Organic Plant Magic in my watering can once a week.
  2. Water your container plantings every day. If you mulch them with shredded bark and they are in large pots (20-24" or more in diameter) you may be able to go two days. Keep feeding them as the constant water will leach out the nutrients.
  3. Walk your gardens and look at your plants in the early evening. Most plants will wilt during the extreme heat of the day and that is normal. If they still look stressed out at suppertime, plan on deep soaking them. If you have a well, you will have to water in an organized fashion. Set a timer so you don't forget to move the hose (or give your well a chance to recover).
  4. First, water the newest plantings- trees, shrubs, perennials that you have put in this year.
    Rhododendrons have shallow root balls. Check them for watering ahead of your other shrubs in dry weather.
  5. Next, water the plants that are notoriously thirsty- hydrangeas, Callicarpa, Clethra, Itea. Remember, rhododendrons have shallow roots (we say their rootballs are as flat as pancakes) so they will need water first of all of your broadleaf evergreens.
  6. Then, look at important or valuable plants that have been installed in the past five years. Water them if they seem stressed; if there are no visible problems, wait, but keep watching.
  7. Skip right over the plants that thrive in the heat- I never water Potentillas, Sedums, Perovskias, Agastaches, bearded irises, Asclepias tuberosa... you get the idea. 
  8. If a plant is suffering terribly after wilting, be sure to water it weekly with Stress-X or Organic Plant Magic throughout the fall. Both help build back feeder roots which will help the plant recover.

Hopefully, by devoting this much room in the weekly email to this topic, we will have some deep soaking rains at the end of this week!  

Vernonia 'Iron Butterfly' in my garden, covered with honey bees and other pollinators. I could hear the plant buzzing from a distance as I approached! It is next to Sanguisorba canadensis, another great native for September.
As I walked my gardens on Sunday, I realized how very special my own yard is. Feeling a bit like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, it made me grateful for my own patch of paradise. There's no place like home. The bees were buzzing like crazy- they were all over my Vernonia lettermanii 'Iron Butterfly', a sure sign that native plants really do attract the pollinators. 
Do you know Nemesias? They are such pretty cool season plants that will go the distance into late fall. This new variety is called 'Babycakes Little Banana'. It makes me smile. What a great plant for windowboxes and as a filler for hanging baskets.

I returned to Natureworks on Tuesday, equally pleased to see that my staff had taken such good care of the plants and gardens in my absence. I hear many of them have cramps in their hands from all of the constant watering. The place looks awesome. I visited many other nurseries and gardens in my travel last week, but truly, there is no place like Natureworks. Monarchs are flying
A fresh crop of perennial Mammoth Mums is here. This is 'Yellow Quill' which begins blooming in the summer and keeps on going into the fall.  
about, as are swallowtails and fritillary butterflies. Color fills every nook and cranny, from beautiful cool season annuals to wonderful perennials that will fill your gardens with color year after year. I am so grateful for every single perennial I added to my fall garden last year. Little by little, I am building up quite a display.  
Karen and Jane smiling among the lush benches of perennials that they so lovingly water and tend each day. My staff is truly amazing! I so appreciate them.

The spring blooming bulbs have arrived and I have have started to bring in my organically grown hardneck seed garlic. The shop is being transformed to accommodate all of this bounty as I write this! Wait till you see what we have in store for you this fall. I let Diane and Amber choose the bulbs this year and they did a great job. Monarchs in every stage of life are still on every spare surface. We still have many cool season veggie seeds, succulents and terrariums (and a Terrarium Workshop this weekend, see the Calendar of Events for details) to tempt you, and, of course, a very well stocked fairy garden department.

This Saturday is another session of our Fall Gardening School. From 9:30-10:30 am I will lead a free garden walk that will focus on what's blooming in our borders and how to organize your thoughts for the upcoming garden renovation season in October. This Saturday is also our September Early Bird Sale. We open at 7 am and between 7 and 9 am we offer you free organic coffee while you shop and a $5 gift card which you can use on any purchase of $20 or more. Natureworks will also be having a booth at the Green Expo and CT Folk Festival in Edgerton Park in New Haven this Saturday. Stop by and say hi!

Do a rain dance, then dance into Natureworks for some fresh color and inspiration. I look forward to seeing you this week...


P.S. We are now open on Sundays again from 10-4. Hooray!! 
Fall in Love with Bulbs...

Last week, Diane asked our readers to share with us their thoughts on why they love bulbs. Joy B. sent us an email and said:

"In February when I have grown tired of winter there is usually a mound of snow near the front door. When I brush the snow away to my surprise and delight there are Galanthus that have burst forth from their spot near the foundation. Over the years I have photographed my yard to determine the snow melt patterns. Early jonquils are planted in the warmest spots also to surprise and delight."
Thank you Joy! Please join the conversation. You can email us at or post on our Facebook page. Include pictures if you'd like- we want to know why YOU love bulbs. 

Some bulbs disappear quickly from our shelves, sometimes within a week or two of their arrival. Since it's 90 degrees out right now, you probably won't be planting your bulbs this weekend, but I know I like to bag my bulbs early and store them in my garage to be sure I get what I want.  Crocus 'Orange Monarch' (shown above) is one such bulb. We had it last year for the first time and my staff heard many great reviews of the the extra early blossoms (it's a species or "snow" crocus) and the intense color which we really need in late February and March.  
Bi-Weekly Plant Sales
I returned home from vacation to find my New England asters starting to flower. Butterflies adore asters. You will too.

Thursday, Sept 10th
 Wednesday, September 23rd

All Asters 20% off
All throughout the fields and along the side of the roads in Vermont, asters were in bloom. These are super easy to grow, native perennials that come in so many colors and shapes and heights. Fill your garden with asters and watch the migrating monarchs visit you for nectar. There are aster varieties that offer flowers in succession from July through November.  

All Echinaceas (coneflowers) 20% off
Yes, I know we have put the Echinaceas on sale already this summer, but there are so many new and wonderful varieties on our benches, like 'Butterfly Kisses' shown above. Besides, butterflies do cover these flowers and they are in great abundance right now. And, they are great for our fall bees and native pollinators.
*  *  *  *  * 

this sale will be extended until
September 12th
 Stock up NOW! 
20% off all
Vermont Mulch Company mulch :
the Vermont Mulch Company is a family owned and operated company. Their mulch is 100% natural and contains no construction by-products like other mulches have.

30% off all
Espoma Soil Nutrients :
Blood meal
Cottonseed meal
Rock Phosphate
Soil acidifier (Sulfur)

50% off all 
Dr. Earth
Granular Organic Fertilizers
(excluding bulb fertilizer)

If you have a dry place to store granular organic fertilizers and mineral powders, you can save BIG by buying them now. They keep for years and are vital to the health of the soil.  
Our new hours:
Monday-Saturday 9-5
Sunday 10-4

Saturday, September 12th

Early Bird Sale
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
Tour the Natureworks demonstration gardens to see what is blooming in the September garden and analyze the gardens for upcoming fall renovation projects. Now is the time for YOU to get organized and plan on correcting any gaps in color, crowded plants, plan new beds, etc.
* * * * *
 Saturday, September 12th
Green Expo - CT Folk 
  11:00 am - 5:00 pm
This is our sixth year participating in the Green Expo in beautiful
Edgerton Park in New Haven.  2015 marks the Tenth Anniversary of this event which focuses on protecting and improving the nature of our communities.  Be sure to stop by and say "Hi" at our booth and see many of the other exhibitors, educators, and vendors in this family friendly event.  
Visit for the details.

* * * * *

Sunday, September 13th
Build Your Own Terrarium Workshop 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Grab a friend and join us for an afternoon of terrarium building. Learn the basics and plant one up! You will receive our expert guidance. We will provide charcoal, soil, gravel, decorative rocks and moss as well as two small terrarium plants. Refreshments will be served.
Registration required, $25 fee includes everything needed to create a terrarium masterpiece of your very own.
Visit for  
more information! 
Click here to download the Events Flyer.