It is hard for me to admit it, but I really am not all that smart when it comes to buying plants for my garden.
First of all, I buy far too many. My garden is already so full that I often find myself walking around the yard with a new plant in my hand, muttering to myself,
"Where in the hell can I put this!"
And this year I am vowing not to succumb to buying those bargain plants on sale late in the season. Late last fall I bought a lot of perennials at the end of October, and not one of them came back this past spring. It takes at least six weeks for a newly planted perennial to get its roots established.
Some years, of course, I have been lucky when we haven't had below-freezing temperatures until very late in the year, and my late-fall bargain purchases have got their roots established well before a hard freeze. But it really is not smart to take the chance of buying perennials-no matter how cheap they are-late in the fall.
Sometimes, too, the plants themselves are not in such great shape when I buy them late, so they don't even have a fighting chance of survival. I just hope that I can remember not to go anywhere near a plant sale this October. Because even if a plant is 75% off, it is NOT cheap if it doesn't have the time or energy to take up permanent residence in a garden.