Playing with Pumpkins- Let me Count the Ways!
  
 
This week we are in transition. The outdoor plants are now on sale, we are reordering our spring blooming bulbs for the last time, we have one variety of organic hardneck seed garlic left, and we are preparing to unpack and begin setting up our holiday shop. Whew! BUT, the focus this week is REALLY on PUMPKINS! How do we love them? Let me count the ways...
1.  Pumpkinscaping- we still have really nice, big, unusual pumpkins for sale. Halloween is next Tuesday. If you haven't finished your fall decorating, don't despair. You can stack them, put them in porch pots, line them up on your steps, pile them around your scarecrow, you name it.
 
2. This Saturday is our ever-popular workshop Playing with Pumpkins. We carve a small sugar pumpkin, add floral foam, and then we pick tons of flowers and berries and foliage. I then teach you to make an arrangement. The class is limited and we already have signups. Register today- it is free, but we ask for a $5 or more donation to the North Branford Food Bank as your entrance fee.
You CAN make a pumpkin arrangement. Let me show you how. Sign up today and have fun this weekend- bring a friend. 
3. On Sunday we are having a GREAT kid's workshop- Pumpkin Planting for Kids. This is a fun, relaxed event where your kids get to not only learn to plant, but they get to take home their project just in time for Halloween.
 
4. Our signature Succulent Pumpkins are all the rage. They are selling as fast as we are making them. We will be having a make-your-own
Perk on Main in Durham is our favorite place to stop for organic coffee and delicious food. They love our succulent pumpkins! 
workshop in November, but, for now, you just can't beat these beautiful, unique creations for decorating your home, giving as gifts, or brightening up your desk at work. They are super long lasting, usually lasting for a couple months! In fact, when the pumpkin is finally done, most people plant the succulents in a pot and continue to grow them on the windowsill! 
 
Speaking of winter windowsills, it may be hard to think about, but you will be hanging out alongside your winter windowsills in just a few months. Last Thursday I was supposed to feature Amaryllis Forcing on Facebook Live but I got stuck in traffic coming back from a talk and Jillian jumped in and did a great talk on growing garlic. So
THIS THURSDAY we are definitely focusing on Amaryllis. Tune in at 4pm on Facebook or watch the episode later (all are archived on the Natureworks Facebook Page). I have a lot of very useful tricks of the trade to share with you AND, by planting your Amaryllis bulbs this weekend, you can really get them started in time for holiday gift giving.
We LOVE, love, love this new book 
We are steadily increasing our stock of indoor plants as the weather begins to change. My staff is now paying attention to the knowledge I love to share with them. I have been studying houseplants since my college years. In fact, I did an independent study on houseplants at UConn. Now, houseplants are back. Of course! There are many new varieties but the basics remain the same. Of course we sell the very best organic houseplant soil and we have a really nice selection of indoor pottery to compliment your new plants. It's late to bring your houseplants indoors. All of mine are in except for two that need to be repotted. That goes hand in hand with pruning, grooming, and spraying with Neem to prevent unwanted winter pests such as scale or mealybugs. I will be offering a FREE workshop Embracing Houseplants in our greenhouse on Saturday, November 4th. Click on the November Events link below for the details.  
We even have 'Chester' blackberries in stock and on sale. Grow your own! 
As hard as it is to face it, with the 70 degree days we have enjoyed for the past few weeks, the weather is changing. Diane has decided to put the remaining outdoor plants on sale
I can't believe we still have evergreen holly ferns left on our shade benches. I use this is so many of my garden designs. Now 30% off.
at 30% off 
with a  large selection at even deeper discounts. We still have so many really interesting and valuable plants left that will enhance your landscape. Evergreen holly ferns, all kinds of edibles such as figs and blackberries, lovely hostas, Echinaceas, native spicebush (Lindera), dwarf Physocarpus... still so much to choose from. I literally STUFFED my car on Saturday when I left. Customers and staff were laughing at me, but I love to plant right now. Next year I am steadily amazed by my new additions and so proud of myself for putting forth the effort. Actually, planting in late October isn't that hard, and now, with the rain and the onset of cooler weather, it will be a joy to be outside getting physical exercise and soaking up the sunshine.  
 
Got figs? I do and you can too. I have been picking 5-6 figs every few day for the past month. We have two varieties of edible fig trees still in stock- they are on sale at 30% off! 
I still have the prettiest fall garden I have ever had. Last weekend, my sister came to visit and did a video of me sitting in a patch of Aster oblongifolius
'Raydon's Favorite' which is a mass of beautiful blue flowers and buzzing with life-including a monarch butterfly.  CLICK HERE to watch the video- it has a surprise ending!    
Are you still harvesting food from your veggie garden? I am! Monday I made escarole and bean soup with my own escarole, garlic, and celery. Sunday I made baked 'Honeynut' baby butternut squash with beets and carrots from the garden. This week I am stir frying tat soi with fresh ginger and making a salad from my 'Nancy Butterhead' lettuce and freshly harvested radishes that I raised in two Smart Pots.  
 
We REALLY want you to tell us all about your 2017 food growing experiences. Jillian has created a quick survey that we would LOVE to have you fill out. Plus, we are asking you to send us photos of your home grown food for our 2017 Veggie Yearbook. Please join the fun and CLICK HERE to take the survey. Thank you so much from all of the Natureworks Veggie Heads! 
 
The last weekend of October is around the corner. It has been a warm, lovely fall so far in CT. We are grateful for every drop of rain that will fall this week and look forward to another beautiful weekend ahead. We have so many fun events planned, and so many flowers to pick and enjoy. Our gardens are abundant and filled with pollinators, even a few lingering monarchs. Please make time to come in for a visit.  
 

I hope to see you very soon... 
 
Signature_Nancy
 
 
 
 
 
 
ON SALE: 
 
All In Stock Outdoor Plants 30% off  
Many good ones to choose from!!!
 
Plus be sure to check our DEEP DISCOUNT BENCH for even greater savings on select perennials, trees, and shrubs.  
 
30% all bagged mulch
Dark Bark and Sweet Peet are still in stock- take advantage and mulch now. You will be so glad you did next spring!

Buy 5 bags, Get 1 FREE 
Coast of Maine Penobscot & Lobster Composts
Penobscot is a great addition to your tree, shrub and perennial garden beds.
Lobster is a great addition to your vegetable beds. 
Amend your soil with compost and mix in fall leaves for a super soil boost!


The Late October Garden
 
 
            
The leaves are falling down and it is so tempting to think of them as debris that needs to be eliminated. NOT SO! Leaves are pure nature's gold, a valuable resource to add organic matter to your soil and provide habitat for all kinds of creatures. Yes, if they are 3" thick on your lawn you should rake them up. But DON'T toss them! Instead, put them under your shrubs for winter protection. Add them as a final layer to your vegetable beds after you have added compost below. Shred them and mulch your gardens with them. Pile them up next to your compost bin for a source of crunchy carbon when layering fresh food scraps. I could go on and on. I actually ask my neighbors to give me their leaves! At first they thought I was that crazy gardening lady. Now they get it. I do a lot of smothering to create new beds in the fall. I have a bunch of flattened cardboard boxes and newspaper to lay down under a thick blanket of leaves where I am expanding some of my borders next spring.  
Are areas of your lawn being torn up by skunks, birds, moles and other wildlife like this? 
You have a grub problem. 
Apply beneficial nematodes soon! 
 
There is still time to apply beneficial nematodes to your lawn. Nematodes are microscopic and move through the soil moisture seeking out grubs like heat seeking missiles and destroy them. Take advantage of this week's weather and apply beneficial nematodes to your lawn today! This is the last batch we will have this year. When you notice lawn being torn up by skunks or other creatures, they may be digging because they sense grubs in the soil beneath the grass.
Nematodes under Microscope
We looked at our nematodes under the microscope- all are healthy and viable and just waiting for you to take them home and apply them to your lawn.
  If you apply beneficial nematodes to your lawn now while the grubs are still near the soil surface, the nematodes will be able to locate a nd destroy the grubs. Left untreated, as the temperatures drop, the grubs move deeper in the soil and then re-emerge next year. It's easy to take care of this now while there is moisture in the soil and the weather is mild. 
 
Don't wait, take advantage of this week's weather and apply beneficial nematodes to your lawn today!    
 

We have been getting lots of questions about what should be cut now and what shouldn't be cut down. We have a very comprehensive handout on our website called Putting your Garden to Bed that has a lot of very specific details. In general, if a plant is still green, I wait to cut it. That is because the energy is still in the leaves and hasn't been moved down into the root system for winter storage yet. If a plant is brown or yellow, you can cut it down BUT you may want to think twice about cutting everything. Our native tunnel nesting bees overwinter in hollow plant stems. Yesterday I watched a woodpecker pecking away at tall, dried out sunflower stems, seeking out the insects inside. I was so surprised! I try and leave up as much as I possibly can. If something may reseed and become a pest in your yard, maybe you can just cut off the seed heads and leave the stems standing.   
 
I wouldn't consider working in my late October garden without my handy dandy sickle in hand. 
Don't forget to use your garden sickle to save time and sore muscles. With one swipe you can chop down an entire stand of dried perennial stems. I actually used mine on Monday for the purpose it was originally intended for: I harvested heads of tat soi and escarole and lettuce from my veggie garden. I have had the same sickle for 5 years and it is still as sharp as ever. I mark mine with purple duct tape to be sure nobody accidentally "borrows" it when they see how useful it is.


There's Always Room for Bulbs! 
            
 
A garden is not complete without spring blooming bulbs. That is my motto, and the motto of most avid gardeners. If you think you don't have room, think again! Bulbs are tucked IN BETWEEN the crowns of your perennials. They surround cut back ornamental grasses. They are planted at the feet of your shrubs. look at the photo above. There are two yellow flowered perennials blooming, Senecio (now Packeria) aurea and Dornonicum. Otherwise what you are seeing are the leaves of ferns, hostas, and a ton of other perennials that are not in flower yet. Now, cover up the blue flowers of the wood hyacinth bulbs. Boring. Those bulbs have naturalized a lot since this photo was taken and now, every May, the blue is even more pronounced. This shade garden has over 200 daffodils in it along with lots of snowdrops and many hyacinths. Yet, now, in late October, every square inch is covered with perennials. You would never know the spring blooming bulbs were there.

Look at the photo on the left. You will see an absolutely stunning display of May blooming, really fragrant 'Tahiti' daffodils. Look at the base of the flowers. That's the crown of a blue perennial bachelor's buttons just emerging. That won't bloom until late May. Behind is a clump of daylily foliage. That won't bloom until July. So, this would be an all-green garden for at least another month without these bulbs in the picture.







A small part of one of our client's gardens is shown on the right. Variegated hosta leaves and Astilbe foliage takes center stage. There are delicate blue Jacob's ladder flowers dotted about. But what drew your eye? The red tulips. By June, they will be dormant and cut down and you will not even see a gap.

Working spring and early summer blooming bulbs into your landscape is not only easy, it is fun. Try planting bulbs with your kids or grandkids. Make fun signs to mark them and watch their delight next year when they come up and flower. As we say in the trade, it's as easy as Dig, Drop, Done!

We still have lots of bulbs on our shelves and have just placed our last reorder for the season. Last week we got in two more boxes of the giant Allium 'Globemaster', shown above in early summer with the creamy yellow Fritillarias that I featured last week and purple perennial bachelor's buttons. All three of these come back year after year in the new border along the road.

Don't forget to protect your investment in bulbs with Repellex Systemic. My crews LOVE this organic product and so do I. Its main ingredient is capsaicin, which is essentially VERY hot pepper. It gets drawn up into the bulbs as they are growing roots and lasts for three months. By then, the ground has frozen and the bulbs are dormant. In the spring, you reapply the Repellex Systemic and it will protect the bulbs while they are blooming and growing their leaves which will feed the bulb for the following year. We always use it with tulips and crocus, the two most eaten or dug up bulbs we plant. We also use it with our precious perennials and shrubs, especially if voles are a problem underground.

To better understand how to plant bulbs, click on THIS LINK and watch a video I made. And then get in here and grab some bulbs while we still have a good selection in stock. We add bulbs to almost all of our client's gardens. All of my staff plants bulbs every year. We pot some of them up for forcing. Once you have grown them, you too will be repeating our mantra...

You can NEVER have too many spring blooming bulbs!



Upcoming Events 
   

 
Pumpkin Planting with Kids workshop
PUMPKIN PLANTING FOR KIDS
 
    
Saturday, October 28th
10-11 am
Playing with Pumpkins
This is a Fall fan favorite. We supply you with a small sugar pumpkin, you'll carve it out, then add a bit of floral foam. Then you'll 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.
Pre-registration Required, please call the shop at 203-484-2748. Limit: 12 people.
On the day of the event, please bring the monetary donation of $5 or more for the North Branford Food Bank.

Sunday, October 29th
1-2 pm
Pumpkin Planting for Kids
Participants will make and take home a Pumpkin Paradise mini-garden made out of a hollowed-out sugar pumpkin and a seasonal annual. This workshop is for children ages 6 to 16 and since it's so close to Halloween, they are encouraged to wear a costume.
Pre-registration Required, CLICK HERE to register online or call the shop. Price: $15 Limit: 8 kids  

Saturday, November 4th
10-11am
Embracing Houseplants
Bring fresh air and living color into your home this winter with houseplants. Learn the basics of watering, repotting, pinching, feeding, and pest control for indoor plants. Nancy will demonstrate these techniques with many fun and unusual plants for various indoor situations. FREE.

Sunday, November 5th
1-2pm
Make your own Succulent Picture Frame
Learn how to create a living picture frame with succulents. Use our wooden frames to transform your space. With incredibly low-maintenance, succulent picture frames are easy to care for and beautiful decoration. Workshop includes vintage wooden shadow box picture frame, soil, 5 succulents, decorative moss and expert instruction.
Pre-registration Required, register online by clicking here or call the shop. Price: $40  Limit: 8 people 
 
 
CLICK HERE  to view/print our October event flyer.
AND the November flyer is ready, CLICK HERE.  
 
 
Click a Quick Link for more Information


 

RETAIL HOURS
Open 7 days
Monday - Saturday 9 am - 5 pm
Sunday 10 am - 4 pm



Natureworks Horticultural Services   (map)
518 Forest Road, Northford, CT  06472
Business Reg. #B 3307   |  CT. License #0569208  
naturework.com     |   nature@iconn.net
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