As the weather finally begins to cool down, now is a great time to plant perennials and shrubs. Unfortunately, since most sane people are tired of their garden by this time of the year, garden centers stop carrying many of the plants that would benefit from being planted now. They stock up in the spring when we are anxious to get out and there and play in the dirt.
In the Lowcountry with our hot and humid summers, plants need to go into the ground very early in the spring to stand a chance to survive our summers. It is better to plant in the autumn when they will have our cool winter to grow nice strong root structures without having to expend so much energy to survive. What to do? There are some shrubs available locally as well as a few wayward perennials, but I really depend upon mail order sources for plant material.
This week I received from Bluestone Perennials www.bluestoneperennials.com three Feather grass (Calamagrostis acutifolia “Karl Foerster,” two Clematis x jackmanii, and one Queen of the Prairie (Filipendula flora that I do not remember ordering. That is one problem with ordering online – often I do not remember what I ordered. It is like Christmas when the box comes.
Next week I have an order from High Country Gardens
www.highcountrygardens.com. I think I am getting Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium), a very unusual native. Lord knows what other surprises I will have. Stop the presses! I just got a box from High Country. It contained five Echinacea and three Star Frost Globe Thistle (Echinops) Great healthy looking plants and when it gets less buggy, in the ground they will go. Well, I am sure that I have Rattlesnake Master coming from somewhere. Stop the presses again -- another box arrived just now from High Country with my Rattlesnake Master.
Oh yes, I also have an order coming in two weeks from Digging Dog Nursery in California. www.diggingdog.com Some Artemisia “Valerie Finnis” and some Cow Parsley (Selenium wallichianum)
I have received my bulbs from John Scheepers www.johnscheepers.com
and they are waiting in the garage fridge to be planted at the end of December or the beginning of January. Bulb companies recommend storing bulbs in a refrigerator for at least ten weeks if you live in our climate.
Other online sources I have used with success are:
Annies Annuals and Perennials – www.anniesannuals.com In California, but don’t let that scare you off. Unusual annuals and perennials and they arrive not at all fatigued after their long trip across the country
Whiteflower Farm – www.whiteflowerfarm.com In Litchfield, Connecticut. It was one of the original mail order nurseries. Great Amaryllis at Christmas!
So I do not let the lack of nursery stock down here stop me from planting at a good time! October is a great time to be out in the garden!