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

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How to Plant an Amaryllis Bulb   


Amaryllis bulbs are one of the absolute easiest bulbs to grow in the house. The best selection of all of the colors and varieties is NOW. Why? Because you start planting them in October, especially if you want to have flowers for the holiday season. The large Amaryllis bulbs take a minimum of 8 weeks to flower. We also stock the smaller African Amaryllis bulbs which, if planted this week, will be in bloom in time for the end of December.

Select a pretty pot and use high quality, organic potting soil. We LOVE Organic Mechanics. Choose a pot that is only slightly larger in diameter than the bulb itself. Place soil in the bottom of the pot, and leave the neck of the bulbs sticking out of the soil. Tamp the soil down well, water thoroughly with Organic Plant Magic, and then place the pot in the warmest spot in the house. We put ours on top of the refrigerator in the back office as the heat from the motor keeps that spot nice and warm. Don't water again until the soil is almost completely dry. The new roots are just starting to form, and keeping the soil constantly wet at this stage could rot the roots. As the roots begin to grow, the top will begin to sprout. As the bud emerges and grows upwards, you will find that the soil will start to dry out faster. Increase the frequency of watering based on this. Feed your Amaryllis Organic Plant Magic every 2 or 3 weeks while it is blooming.

Once the top grows, move the pot to the sun and turn it every day. You won't have to remember, as the shoots will grow right towards the light. Turning the plant keeps it straight!

The large, top quality bulbs that we sell produce 2 or more flowering stalks. In the winter, after all flowering is finished, keep feeding and watering the leaves. A good strong plant with lots of healthy leaves will give you lots more flowers next year.  

Hardy and Tender Bulbs: What is the difference?

We LOVE bulbs at Natureworks. At this time of year, we carry two types.
Hardy bulbs are planted in the fall, live underground all winter, and emerge to bloom in the spring and early summer. They require a chilling period of 35 to 45 degrees for 11 to 15 weeks in order for their flowers to form and bloom. Examples are tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, and snowdrops. There are tons of other unusual hardy bulbs to expand your bulb planting explorations as well.    
Tender bulbs now sit on the shelves next to the hardy bulbs in our shop. These include Amaryllis and paperwhite Narcissus. Amaryllis are tropical. If planted and left outside during the winter they would freeze. They LOVE our heated homes and reward our nurturing efforts with gigantic flowers. Paperwhite Narcissus are perennial in the warmer zones 8 to 10. We're talking the southern states only. There, our hardy bulbs don't work as they can't get the chill period they need. Thus, paperwhites are the only kinds of Narcissus they can plant outside. For us, it means it is super easy to grow them in the house without going through the bother of putting them in the cellar for a chilling period.

'Ziva' and 'Inbal' white paperwhite Narcissus can simply be planted in stones or soil and take 3 to 4 weeks to bloom, less as October turns to December. Yellow and white, sweetly fragrant Chinese Sacred Lilies and the yellow variety 'Soleil d'Or' work best if you place them in stones or pot them up, then put them in a cool, dark place for 2 to 4 weeks to let the roots grow before bringing them into the light.
Forcing a hyacinth bulb.

What about forcing hyacinths? We carry PRE-CHILLED hyacinth bulbs. They are kept in the refrigerator to receive half of their chilling period. Then they are placed in special forcing jars and put in a cool, dark place to grow roots for a few weeks. Once the roots fill the jar, they are brought into the light and forced into bloom. Pre-chilled hyacinths in a box with a pretty forcing jar are one of our most popular gift items in December. They are oh-so-fragrant and make it winter much more pleasant when they bloom in the house as the thermometer dips and the snow flies. 

You can stagger your planting of all of these bulbs so that you can have a succession of flowers on your winter windowsill. Come in and let us teach you how.
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We are SO excited to share with you the big news. This Saturday, following the final Saturday morning Garden Walk of the Season we will be having our first ever AUCTION! I have been an auctioneer for the CT Horticultural Society for many years, and it is lots of fun. This time, the auction is here, at Natureworks. We will be auctioning off all of our remaining outdoor plants as well as a bunch of other things, such as fountains, trellises, outdoor art, pumpkins, various organic gardening products, you get the picture. Out with the old, make way for the new. While doing the photo shoot to advertise this event, we all were laughing so hard we could barely get it done. Since the auction is on Halloween day, I will be wearing my jester's hat. It's NO JOKE. The prices will be amazing. And, it will be so much fun, even if you end up with some bargain plants that you didn't even know you wanted, you will have FUN with me and my crazy staff. The auction begins at 11 am sharp. As I present to you the plants to be auctioned off, I will tell you all about them, so it will be a good way to learn about plants you may have overlooked on our benches. Bring your friends, tell your gardening buddies. This will happen rain or shine and by 2 (or sooner if it goes really well) we will be done. There is no fee to attend the auction, just show up or stay after the garden walk.  If you are unable to be here early, join the auction at any time, just be sure to register when you arrive so you get an auction number.
Have you dug up your tender bulbs yet? Jane is the master of storing dahlias, calla lilies, elephant ears, caladiums, callas, and all other types. Be sure to get them out of the ground, dry them well, and store them in the cellar soon!

Can you guess what I will be focusing on at the walk? Yes, it will be all about what to cut back and what to leave up in the garden. Plus I will show you how to hill up your roses and explain all about protecting your shrubs with WiltPruf. Naturally, tucking your garden away for the winter is not something that can be done in one day. It is a long, lingering process as plants
slowly go dormant.
Learn how and why to hill up your roses on the garden walk this Saturday morning. We use one bag of Coast of Maine compost per rose. In the spring, we unhill the rose and spread it around, voila! 
We lost a lot of herbaceous tops of the plants to that deep freeze last week, but there are still lots and lots of plants still going strong. I wouldn't even think of attacking the Natureworks gardens without my garden sickle in it's holster on my belt. If you haven't discovered this super-efficient tool, come and see how it cuts, as one customer said, "like a hot knife through butter".
Do you have your sickle and holster yet? Don't cut down your garden without it.

As the leaves drop from the trees, we begin to see, as I am fond of calling it, the great reveal. Suddenly, all of the berries on our Callicarpas (purple beautyberry) and winterberries are glowing bright colors. The striking trunks of the birches, paperbark maples, and Heptacodiums catch our eye. Evergreens take their place as the stars of the show. We have some gorgeous 'Jolly Red' and 'Winter Red' winterberries in stock right now, as well as some native white spruce trees that will make great living Christmas trees to plant in your garden later. This evergreen is hardy to zone 2 and is beloved by birds for shelter and nesting.
A little bird told me Natureworks is having an AUCTION! Can that be true? Wow, what a sweet tweet for everyone, and fun too.

The pest problem that EVERYONE is coming in and talking about are the voles. We use Repellex Systemic with every planting right now. As the roots of the bulbs and the plants start to grow into the warm soil, the taste of wicked hot pepper is taken up into the plants. Because this takes two full weeks to become effective, we combine this with sprinkling Repellex granular powder in and around the planting holes. Voles eat plant roots. It's been very dry again; Saturday afternoon I came home and dug over a dozen BIG holes for shrubs I still have to plant. As far down as I dug, there wasn't ANY water in the soil. Welcome rain is on the horizon. Only after a deep soaking rain should you apply WiltPruf to your broadleaf evergreens. They need to go into the winter hydrated.

If you have been reading this email for the past growing season or beyond, you know that I try to plant and care for my garden in accordance with the cycles of the moon. Our favorite, easy to understand Gardening by the Moon calendars are in stock. This is an age old practice that really works. Moon calendars make great gifts too. Last year we ran out before the growing season began.

The transformation of our retail store is still proceeding full steam ahead. Rumor has it that Diane and Jillian went to Urban Miners this week to get some more items to enhance the displays. I know every time I walk through the door I am spellbound with the way my store looks. The folks that are building their hand painted Austrian egg collections have already started coming in to select their favorites for this year. Many are now making it a tradition to give them as special gifts.

What is still blooming at Natureworks? Winter pansies happily flowering, and I brought some purple ones home to plant on the south side of my house as a special treat next March. Ornamental kale and cabbages are gorgeous. My home gardens are in bloom with Aster oblongifolius 'Raydon's Favorite' and Allium thunbergii 'Ozowa', monkshood,  as well as many very late blooming, perennial mums.
Winter pansies laugh at the frosty nights. Plant them now and they will come back in very early spring bigger and better than anything you will be able to buy at that time of year.

Mark your calendars for our Saturday morning garden walk, followed by our very first auction. Come in for some bulbs for your garden and your home. Pick up some seeds for sprouts and microgreens. The season for growing nutritious food indoors is upon us.

I'll see you very soon...

Dormant Seeding your Lawn
Diane's beautiful
100% ORGANIC lawn

There is still plenty of time to do dormant seeding of your lawn. We are repeating this article this week. We've got the seed and all the supplies- come on in!

I have to tell you, I learn something new about gardening every day. Today, Diane came in and told me that she was having areas of her lawn overseeded this coming Thursday by Safe Lawns of Salem. It is called "dormant seeding". What??? I have actually never heard of this term. She asked her organic lawn buddy Bill Ross, vice president of Safe Lawns of Salem, to explain it for me. This is what he said:
"Dormant seeding, especially when done in conjunction with core aeration and compost topdressing is an excellent method to reinvigorate a lawn that is thin or stressed from the recent fall drought.  Seeding now allows for better seed to soil contact which is the critical factor in a successful germination process.  There is less competition from existing turf growth and other weeds that take hold in the bare areas in the lawn.  The freeze/thaw cycle also helps to create small cracks and voids in the soil surface which allow seed to penetrate resulting in more thorough seed to soil contact.  If you topdress with compost, in addition to better seed to soil contact, you increase soil organic matter while suppressing annual weeds like crabgrass.  Another advantage to late fall seeding is that you have access to sites that may otherwise be wet and muddy during the spring thaw and rains.  It allows you to do a more complete and thorough job. The goal is NOT to germinate the seed now, but in spring as soon as the soil warms up."    
Diane also contacted Hart's Seed Company (the company that provides us with our custom blend) and Eco Lawn and they both concurred that dormant seeding right now is a good idea. Guess what? We have plenty of grass seed, compost, organic fertilizer, shredded stray, and everything you need to make this happen now. The weather is going to be beautiful right into the weekend. Can you imagine heading into next spring with this work already done. Wouldn't you just feel SO GOOD about yourself???    
To have Safe Lawns of Salem help you with your lawn projects, call them at 860-859-3100 and find out if they service the town that you live in.

Half Price Sale

on All Outdoor Plants
is in full swing
(excludes live Christmas trees and winterberry shrubs)

Sale runs through
 November 1st or until the plants are GONE!

Don't delay, get here today

Erich is spreading straw over cover crop seed that he just planted in our gardens.


Perfect for seeding lawns and topdressing veggie gardens.    





Saturday, October 31st
Fall Gardening School: Getting your Garden Ready for the Dormant Season 9:30 - 10:30 am
This is our last official garden walk of the season. Nancy will teach you which plants to cut down and which plants to leave up and why. She will demonstrate hilling up roses, Wilt-Prufing, and many other late fall chores. We will celebrate all of the remaining color in our gardens on this last day of October.
Come One-Come All to the First Ever Natureworks Auction  
11 am Saturday, Oct. 31st

Feel free to wear a costume so no one will know who they are bidding against!

Registration for an auction number begins at 10:30 am following the garden walk.

A lively auction will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 2 p.m. or earlier if items move quickly.  Each item featured will be discussed so you can learn their benefit environmentally, visually, structurally.
We hope you can join us and have a fun Fall day.
Saturday, Nov. 14th &  Sunday, Nov. 15th  
Ornament Extravaganza All Day, Both Days!
Join us as we unveil our new collection of glorious decorations and Christmas ornaments for the 2015 Season.

Saturday, November 14th  
Terra-cotta pot Snowman Workshop 11 am - 12:30 pm
In this hands-on workshop we will paint a pot and turn it into a cute snowman.  All ages are welcome to create their very own table top decoration for Christmas.
Please call to register $10 fee.

Sunday, November 15th
High Hopes Holiday Market, 36 Town Woods Road, Old Lyme CT  12-4 pm.
This will be our third year participating in the Holiday Market which features gifts, food, and family activities.  High Hopes is a therapeutic horseback riding center that offers programs to individuals with cognitive, physical, and emotional disabilities.  Admission to the Holiday market and activities is free with a suggested donation of a non-perishable food item for the Shore-Line soup kitchen.  All proceeds from this event benefit the programs and participants of High Hopes.
Visit for  
more information! 
For our  November-December  flyer,   click here.