Natureworks Horticultural Services
Natureworks   |  518 Forest Road  |  Northford, CT  06472  |  203-484-2748
         Fall Planting Season Has Arrived!






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Bulbs ROCK for So Many Reaons...

I returned home from vacation to an email from a Yale professor concerned that we weren't explaining to our customers just HOW IMPORTANT spring blooming bulbs are to our early spring native pollinators. Oh my! I must remedy that situation now. In March and early April, when the crocuses, winter aconites, and grape hyacinths burst into bloom, they are visited by a wide array of pollinators of every shape and size. That is one VERY important reason to include them in the plans for your backyard habitat garden. 

Another good reason is to have plenty of early flowers to cut and bring in the house. Nothing is more appreciated when the spring rains and late frosts dampen our spirits. Shown above is my latest love, Ornithogalum umbellatum. Rising up in the garden on 24" stalks, these white star flowers hold up quite well in arrangements.  I married them in my courtyard garden with white Lychnis coronaria 'Alba' and in my client's gardens with purple Alliums.

Check out our selection of wonderful flower bulbs. They will span the season from late February/early March through July. We can help you plan for succession of bloom with spring blooming bulbs that will compliment your perennials and flowering shrubs in the first half of the growing season.  
It's Time To Talk Houseplants

Do you have a collection of special houseplants that you bring outside for the summer? I certainly do. I have a collection of lovely hibiscus plants propagated from cuttings by one of my favorite gardeners. I have many Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus plants enjoying the fall air under the wisteria arbor. My evening scented Cestrum nocturnum is sitting on my deck and just finished it's annual display of intensely scented, evening blossoms. Houseplants love being outside.

Even though we are many weeks away from any killing frosts, you should be thinking NOW about preparing your houseplants for their eventual return to your heated home. The first thing to do is groom them, prune them, and repot them. We use organic potting soil that is filled with soil microorganisms and compost based and have plenty in stock. After repotting we water them in with Organic Plant Magic to get those feeder roots growing into the new soil.

The second thing you should do is start spraying your plants to prevent bringing aphids, mealybugs, scale, and other pests into the house. Once they are re-potted and groomed, I place them in my unheated back garage in front of a sunny window. You could use a screened porch or a cool spare room; the idea is to isolate from your other plants until you are sure they are clean. Then I spray them three times with an organic pest control product such as neem oil. Spraying three times, five days apart, is the key to eliminating the pests and their eggs which may be hiding and waiting to hitch a ride into your nice, warm house for the winter. It is just SO MUCH easier to do this now, when you can do it outdoors or in an outbuilding or on a porch, than in a closed up house in January. Trust me on this.

We have a great handout on this subject. Click here and read The Houseplant that Came in from the Cold for all the details.   
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Fall officially arrived on Wednesday, September 23rd. What a spectacular week we have in store! The weather is sunny, the temperatures are perfect, the nights are cool, and the conditions are ideal for planting. We are fully stocked with gorgeous fall blooming perennials. I just returned from my annual camping trip in the Adirondacks and was simply astounded upon my return at the diversity of plant material on our benches and the beautiful displays that my staff had created.
Blue Caryopteris and 'Sienna Sunset' Coreopsis are a unique combination for your fall garden.

Fall is the ideal time to plant as the soil is warm and roots just take off. You can plant anything from grass seed, shrubs, trees, perennials, cold tolerant annuals, and, of course, bulbs.

Fall is also the time to decorate and celebrate the season. We have funky and unusual pumpkins, small bales of hay, and everything else you will need to dress up your front porch for this time of year. Take advantage of our Custom Potting Station to replant your tired summer pots with fresh annuals, frilly kale, winter pansies, and other lovely flowering plants. You can even include some perennials which can later be added to your permanent collection in the garden.

This Saturday morning I will be giving a free workshop and garden walk all about Planting the Fall Garden to Support Migrating Monarchs. Even up in the Adirondacks,  we had monarchs flying around, enjoying the nectar from all the asters, clover blossoms, and other wildflowers. Asters are one of the primary perennials that all of us need to plant to support not just the migrating monarchs, but also all kinds of pollinators that are so hungry for nectar at this time of year. And BOY do we have the best selection of asters you have ever seen, more than 18 distinct varieties including many that won't be fully in bloom until next month.  
Aster laterifolius 'Lady in Black' is so pretty in our garden by the road. Here you see one of our tagged monarchs taking advantage of this nectar flower.

Asters come in every size and many colors, including soft blues that contrast so beautifully with the oranges, yellows, and russet tones of fall. Some are excellent groundcovers, others reach 4-6' tall and will fill a vase with fresh cut flowers. All along the sides of the highway on my journey north I enjoyed the sight of New York and New England asters. Other species that naturalize beautifully include Aster spectabilis (Showy Aster), Aster oblongifolius, Aster laevis 'Bluebird' (Smooth Aster), and Aster azureus. Yes, we have them all. In our gardens we grow Aster tartaricus, a fast spreading, 6' tall specimen with blue flowers in October. We now carry the shorter version, 'Jindai', which only grows 3-4' tall. It looks so pretty combined with 'First Light' perennial sunflowers (Helianthus salicifolius).
I LOVE Aster laevis 'Bluebird', the smooth aster. It is native, easy to grow, and a deep shade of blue. I has reseeded in my gardens and I now have four plants instead of one!  

Besides asters, there are many other great nectar flowers for this time of year. Eupatorium hyssopifolium is a white, feathery flower with linear leaves.  Eupatorium coelestinum has soft, sky blue flowers. Late blooming black-eyed Susans such as Rudbeckia 'Little Suzie', repeat blooming balloon flowers (Platycodon) that were cut back in late July, even repeat blooming purple perennial bachelor's
Centaurea montana 'Amethyst Dream' reblooms reliably in the fall. Bees flock to it in our gardens. 
buttons (Centaurea). White Calamintha, ornamental oregano 'Hopley's Purple,' Persicaria 'Firetail', Russian sage, perennial mums (12 kinds in stock and counting) and of course Sedums galore are all filled with flowers right now. Our gardens continue to buzz with life and yours can too.
Fall decorating is in full swing. We have everything you need including unusual pumpkins, pretty containers already planted, fall pansies, and more. 

In our neck of the woods, this week is officially known as Fair Week. The Durham Fair, our state's largest agricultural fair, runs from Thursday thru Sunday. Diane and I will be giving a talk about raising and caring for Monarch butterflies at 3 pm in the teaching tent. I love to go and look at all the flowers, fruits, vegetables, and animals on display. We are open 7 days a week, be sure to stop by Natureworks if you are coming back from Durham or heading to the fair. It's right up the road.
This is a wonderful, native dwarf ground cover aster called Aster ericoides 'Prostrata'. Ericoides refers to the leaves that resemble heaths (Erica) and heathers. Imagine how pretty this would look in the foreground of your garden.  

My creative, young staff is offering a new, unique workshop on Sunday. It's called Kokedama! I have seen this all over Pinterest and Instagram and it is such a cool method of hanging plants using moss. The details on this and all of our activities can be found below in our Calendar of Events. And don't forget to mark your calendars for October 3 and 4th, our annual Bulbs for Breast Cancer fund raiser and celebration of flower bulbs. We will have refreshments, games, and a few demonstrations and talks about how to plant and design with bulbs. Each year we donate money to After the Storm, a wonderful group that assists breast cancer survivors heal emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
'Blushing Beauty' tulips are so statuesque in my garden, underplanted with 'Menton' French tulips. I used Repellex Systemic when planting and they were untouched by varmints. Pick out your bulbs NOW, even if you won't plant them till October. The wonderful varieties really do sell out fast.  
Our Bi-Weekly Specials change this week and we are putting all fall blooming anemones as well as three classic shade plants (Hostas, Cimicifugas, and Astilbes) on sale.  When you visit, be sure to always check our Thrifty Gardener's Bench, where the deep discount plant bargains change daily.  Other sales include chopped straw (perfect for reseeding lawns and late fall veggie gardens) and select Dr. Earth fertilizers. We still have some organic veggie seedlings available and they are half price until they are gone. Keep on planting!

So let's all welcome fall and the new plant palette it brings to our landscapes. Get outside and start those long-awaited projects. You have weeks and weeks of planting time ahead of you and amazing array of plants to choose from on our Natureworks benches. It's time to apply beneficial nematodes- the grubs are in the ground and doing their damage as you read this. Feed your lawn, seed your lawn, topdress your beds with compost, apply mulch now to enrich your soil and get your gardens in great shape for next year. Pick out and start planting spring blooming flower bulbs. You will be SO glad you did all of these things by the time next April rolls around. I am filled with energy and enthusiasm and can't wait to work in my yard on my days off. Come in, catch fall planting fever, and let us help you in any way that we can. My knowledgeable, helpful staff awaits and

I look forward to seeing 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.
This week's Garden Bouquet of the Week is
brought to you by Aster laevis 'Bluebird', Aster oblongifolius 'October Skies', Phlox paniculata 'Jeana' (tons of tiny pink florets in center), Phlox paniculata 'Tracy's Treasure'(pale pink in front), 'Coral Daisy' Mammoth mums, Sanguisorba tenuifolia (burgundy red spikes) and canadensis (white spikes, native), purple smokebush foliage, Leptodermis oblonga (tiny purple trumpet flowers in top left of arrangement), and 'Blonde Ambition' ornamental grass.  I picked all of these in my gardens at home and at Natureworks today!

Just so you can see the potential of some of these awesome fall perennials, the Aster oblongifolius 'October Skies' shown in my garden above is over three feet across and covered with thousands of flower buds. It will bloom before Aster 'Raydon's Favorite' which is similar. Both were planted in the fall as small starter plants only a few years ago. I love this time of year!
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, September 26th
Planting the Fall Garden to Support Migrating Monarchs 9:30 - 10:30 am
In Connecticut we nurture and raise the final generation of monarch butterflies that migrate all the way to Mexico. It is our job to provide them with plenty of nectar flowers as they make their way down from Canada and across the United States on their 3000 mile journey to their overwintering grounds in Mexico. These special plants also help to extend the beauty of the season by adding gorgeous color to your fall garden.

SEPTEMBER 24-27, 2015

Saturday, Sept. 26th at 3 pm
Join Nancy and Diane in the Discovery Tent where they will teach you all about raising monarchs and planting your fall garden to support migrating monarchs. 
Kokedama moss sphere, created by Kassie.

Sunday, September 27th
Kokedama Garden Art 11:30 - 12:30 pm
What?? In this hands-on workshop you will learn to make your own Kokedama moss ball. A centuries old Japanese form of planting somewhat related to bonsai. You will plant up a fern or other suitable plant in a moss ball that you create.
Please call to pre-register, $15 fee.

Visit for  
more information! 
Click here to download the Events Flyer.  
Our October flyer is ready too, click here.

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.