Even though days grow shorter and life in the garden begins to wind down in preparation for autumn, it’s one of the best times in the year to work with plants (as long as the gardener lives south of the Canadian wilderness). The nights may be cooler and the ground might be downright chilly to the touch but as long as soil temperatures stay above 40ºF, plants continue to grow.
That means transplants quickly adjust to moving, and within a short time, rev-up to produce new rootlets until the ground really freezes up. Then in the spring, they’ve all settled in and never suffer any setbacks.
Before I begin to work in any part of the wild garden or the perennial border, I haunt the nursery centers looking for odd bargains. Just last week I found some three-gallon specimens of a variegated hydrangea for $6.95 each and three of them planted with seven two-year-old great pendulous wood sedge, Carex pendula, have made a great looking addition to the back border. Sometimes even if sale plants look a bit bedraggled on top, usually the roots are in good condition, and when they are planted with care, the percentage of successes is in the high 90’s.
One more thing – Whenever I do any gardening, including woodlands, I always take along a few bags of composted leaves, new labels and pen, my trusty long-handled trowel, tie-backs, a sharp pruning shears or saw, and knee-pads. It’s a shame to get all the way to an imagined back-forty, and have to come back for one tool.