This is a great time to take advantage of end-of-summer sales at the garden center. There are great bargains as the garden centers discount shrubs and perennials to move them out before winter. Sometimes the deals are so good that I can’t resist buying plants even though I have no real plan for them...I just want them and the price is right. Some I can plant right away but, if I want to add my bargain plants to a bed that is already filled with annuals that are at their peak of color, I’ll need to wait. Rather than ruin the show the annuals are putting on by digging up the bed, I’ll put my bargains on hold until I can plant them later after frost or even next spring.
I’m not afraid to winter-over perennials in pots or even balled-in-burlap shrubs or trees. It’s all a question of knowing how to bring them through the harsh winter ahead. Here’s this year’s haul of bargains. From left there is an autumn fern, a raspberry, a clematis, a delphinium and a couple of white flowering hellebore. I may add to the collection with shrubs or even trees but I can put them “on hold” using the same method I’ll use for these.
I need a sheltered location. We know that our prevailing wind comes from the west and north. The east facing wall of a garage, shed or even the house is a great spot. The building will block the cold, dry air from the west and north that can dehydrate our wintering plants. I’ve got a 3’ high retaining wall on the western side of my vegetable garden that works well for this purpose.
Parallel to the wall, I dug a trench deep enough to set my potted and balled bargains into. Into the trench go my bargains...no need to remove them from the pots. Then I just fill dirt around the pots or root balls with loose soil.
The last step is to water them heavily to settle the soil in all around the pots to remove any air pockets. Until winter sends my treasures into complete dormancy, I’ll keep an eye out that they don’t dry out, but with rain such a regular feature this time of year, that’s not of much concern.
As early as I can in spring, I’ll find places in my landscape for my fall bargains and plant them. So now, even though I take advantage of the fall planting season as much as I possible, I know I can keep any leftovers I can’t get planted right away safe through winter.
Happy bargain hunting and thanks for the read!