September 12, 2018

Garden Design Secret

Fall. It's a dangerous time of year for gardeners in New England. No, we're not afraid of the frost date. We're afraid of what we're going to spend on plants.
Wait, WHAT?

Yep (oh. I'm in New England. Maybe I should say 'yawp?)
In the fall, greenhouses are dying to get rid of their remaining perennials and they are generally always available at a sizable discount. The selection is not great, but the hunt is fun and the financial reward is worth it when you find groups of 3, 5, or 7 babies (always buy an odd number of plants. Don't buy singles, unless it's a large specimen). Everything in this post's images was 50% off.
Speaking of large specimens, in addition to perennials, dwarf evergreens and bush/shrubs are on sale too. Though early-blooming large plants, like lilacs or forsythias, are likely long gone, late-blooming beauties-like a hydrangea or evergreens-are happy to go in the ground in the fall if you can time it right.
Specific Tips for Successful Fall Planting
1. Find the largest pots for sale that you can afford (gallon size or larger is best) because they are less likely to be root bound. These poor babies have been siting in a pot since March or April. If they are root bound (roots go round and round the bottom of the pot) be sure to unwind the roots and separate them a little by hand or with a trowel. Otherwise the roots can choke the plant).
2. Get a slow release fertilizer (I love Osmocote) and a bag of composted cow manure (Moo Doo is my favorite brand) or other organic material and add a little to the base of every hole before you put your new plant in. Your new roots will be happier.
3. Timing is everything. Ever planted something and forgot to water it? It probably died, didn't it?  Keep an eye on the weather and try to plant when much rain is expected.

4. Timing is still everything. You need to plant far enough away from fall frost date that the roots have time to get happy before winter comes. But you have to plant far enough away from an hot summer so you don't have to water the shit out of your new plants. I like the last 2 weeks in September and the first week in October and I live in hardiness zone 6.

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