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

        October Festival of Flowers!         






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Aster spectabilis 


I have a new love! Last fall I planted ONE Aster spectabilis plant in my Middletown garden. The color was such a pretty blue and it was so tall (24") with long stems for cutting, I couldn't resist. I purposely let it go to seed and didn't cut it down all winter. Well! This one plant produced no less than 12 new plants for me. It is weaving through my flowering shrubs and perennials and is featured in our cut flower bouquet this week.

Don't underestimate the many great species of asters that we talk about each week. They truly are amazing AND the are constantly covered with bees. Providing plenty of nectar for our pollinators in October is one of our most important jobs as gardeners.   

Frost is On the Horizon 
Have you brought your houseplants inside yet? If not, you should get this done by the weekend. It appears that a cold front will arrive on Saturday and there's a good chance for our first frost. Mine are in the back garage, in a sunny window, in isolation for a while as I check them for insects trying to hitch a ride into my warm house for the winter.

I am pretty proud of myself- they are repotted and pruned. I took a lot of cuttings of my favorite plants (geraniums, angel wing begonias, Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender') and those are rooted and  potted up too. I am looking forward to sharing my office sun room with these beauties for the next six months.

The final step in preparing for my winter wonderland is to "pot up the house bulbs". I will be doing that this Saturday at 1 pm in our workshop. Have you registered yet? See the details in the Calendar of Events.   
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What's blooming in YOUR garden this week? What a question! It's the middle of October and we have so many plants in bloom that it was hard to choose what to put in our featured garden bouquet. This Saturday morning, our Fall Gardening School will focus on October bloomers. I will make up a list of all of the perennials in flower right now. I know it will top FIFTY varieties! Planning for October color is something to do NOW for next year. Right now we have more late blooming perennials than any garden center I know of. I hope you can join me for this fun and educational event in our teaching tent.
Aster 'Ezo Murasaki' is a rich purple, well branched perennial that is just starting to flower now. I have had it in my garden for two years- it's really hard to find! We finally have some in stock. 

At 1 pm I will be teaching a workshop on Potting up Spring Bulbs for Winter Forcing. On my summer vacation, I bought a vintage English gardening book on garden rooms. The way they describe what we will do this Saturday is "potting up the house bulbs". Think about it- you can fill your house with beautiful, cheerful, fragrant spring blossoms all winter long if you pot them up now and store them for a while in a cool spot. We will pot up three clay pots with a nice assortment of bulbs for different weeks of the winter. You must pre-register; details are below. This will be a fun activity on what looks to be a cool, fall afternoon.

Speaking of bulbs, they are really beginning to FLY out of the store. With the chance of frost in the forecast within the next 10 days, we will soon start cutting down our herbaceous perennials. Make way for bulbs! We plant them in between the plants over the next four weeks. Bag your bulbs soon. You can store them in the garage until your garden is ready for them.
Speaking of cutting plants down, I wouldn't even consider doing it unless I had my handy garden sickle in my holster on my belt. This saves the repetitive motion of using pruning shears. Trust me on this, you will thank me again and again once you start using this very cool tool.

When do you cut plants down? Ah, that is quite the question. What I am referring to are herbaceous perennials, those that will naturally die to the ground by winter time. My rule is if they are yellow or brown, cut them down. If they are green (or a gorgeous fall color), leave them alone. Plants slowly move their energy reserves to their roots in October and November. It happens gradually. You can't just go out and cut the garden down on the appointed day. You do it slowly. Observe and you will know what to do. Trust your intuition. I am in the middle of what I am calling the Great Seed Sowing Project. I have a large, recently cleared hillside tha
t is trying to return to the wild. I recently purchased an electric weed wacker (LOVE!) and as I cut down the summer
I will be saving the seeds from the wild white asters shown above and tossing them in my new hillside garden.
weeds, I am collecting all the seeds I can from vigorous native plants such as Joe Pye weed, ironweed, 'Lemon Queen' sunflowers, all kinds of Rudbeckias, milkweed, Heliopsis, asters galore, anything that I think will have a fighting chance of outcompeting the invasives. I toss them on the ground and step on them.  Some seed pods should be left up to feed the birds. Some seed pods are ornamental and can be used in dried arrangements and wreaths. But many will simply take over your garden if you leave them up once they have ripened. Start thinking about the goals for your gardens next year as you begin the long process of cutting down the plants.
Our rock garden by the road is filled with California poppies, mums, Salvias, and a host of other plants in bloom this week.
I have to share one final thing with you. On Monday afternoon, I surprised my husband by inviting him out to the far back yard around 5 pm. I had moved two chairs to a really sunny spot and we shared a glass of wine and soaked up the sun. Why am I telling you this? I know I suffer from seasonal affect disorder. I get quite sad at this time of year as the light levels lessen and the days get shorter. My very unscientific observations tell me that lots of gardeners feel the same way. Perhaps that's why we love to garden, it gets us out into the sun a lot. So I decided to do some sunlight therapy by making sure I SAT and soaked up the sun at every opportunity. We usually have a pre-dinner glass of wine on our deck but by mid-October, the sun has moved so much that the deck is shady. Thus the foray into the lower back yard. So now, I am in the market for some new garden furniture for this spot.

Make some time in your busy life to stop in at Natureworks this week. We have beautiful flowers everywhere, plenty of sales and specials to tempt you, pumpkins and fall decorations, and all of the organic gardening supplies you could possibly need at this time of year, not to mention friendly,  advice from all of us, your local organic gardening experts.  

I'll see you very soon...

P.S. A great big THANK YOU to everyone who participated in our Bulbs for Breast Cancer fundraiser. The raffle winners have been notified. They are Patty K. from Killingworth, Donna D. from North Haven, Heather S. from Guilford, and Caren A. from Clinton. Congratulations! 
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 brought to you by Aster spectabilis (read all about it in the sidebar on the left), Helianthus salicifolius 'First Light', Persicaria 'Firetail' (in its FOURTH month of bloom), Anemone 'Prince Henry', spiderwort (reblooming after a hard July cutback) and Eupatorium 'Pink Frost' (in bloom for the past two months).

It wasn't easy to decide on what to include in this week's bouquet because THERE ARE SO MANY FLOWERS IN BLOOM RIGHT NOW! If your October garden is looking a little drab, or it is simply a bunch of popped-in annual mums looking like a sad afterthought, get with the program. Plant NOW for next October and you won't believe the bouquets you will be picking, filling your house and those of your friends with fresh cut flowers that you grew yourself!.
Bi-Weekly Plant Sales

'Venus' mums are a hardy perennial that have been blooming in our demonstration gardens for over 20 years! They are in stock on our benches.

  Now through
 Wednesday, October 21st

All  Perennial Mums
20% off
Mammoth mums in all colors, 'Mei Kyo', 'White Bomb', 'Cambodian Queen', 'Sheffield', 'Venus', and more.  

All Miniature and Fairy Garden Accesories
20% off

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


Perfect for seeding lawns and topdressing veggie gardens.    





  • All goji berries, blueberries, and fruit plants in stock.
  • All remaining organic veggie seedlings- we have spinach, pak choy, mustard, and other cold season crops. Fill those empty spaces and keep the greens coming for another month!
Saturday, October 17th
> Fall Gardening School:A Celebration of Late Bloomers! 9:30-10:30 am
October can be an absolutely magnificent month in the garden. Learn all about many varieties of perennials, grasses, flowering and berry-producing shrubs that will make your October garden a joy to behold. Then act upon what you have learned and add new color and foliage interest to your landscape now. You will be SO glad you did when fall comes around in 2016. Nancy will provide all students with a comprehensive list of October blooming plants.

> Potting up Spring Bulbs for Winter Forcing 1 - 2 pm
Join Nancy for this hands-on workshop and we will pot up three 6" clay pots with your choice of spring blooming bulbs. She will explain how to pot them,how to give them the proper chill period, and how to bring them into the house and get them to bloom when you need the color the most.
Please call to pre-register, $25 fee.

Saturday, October 24th
> Playing with Pumpkins 9:30 - 10:30 am
Free! This is one of the most enjoyed fall events of the season. We supply you with a small sugar pumpkin. You carve it out, add a bit of floral foam, and then take a walk with Nancy through the gardens and pick flowers, seed pods, and foliage. We return to the tent and Nancy will show you how to make a basic flower arrangement! Bring your friends and have a ball. It is our way of saying "thank-you" to our wonderful customers for a great gardening season.
Free, however please call to pre-register, so we have enough supplies.

> I Dig Dahlias & Other Tender Bulbs with Jane Ketterer 11:00 - 11:30 am
Jane is an expert at planting, growing, digging and storing tender bulbs. As the frost arrives, it's time to dig up your dahlias, and other tender bulbs so that they can be dried and prepared for winter storage. Learn all about it from the expert .

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.
Visit for  
more information! 
For our  October flyer,  click here .