NOW IS THE TIME to make like a vulture and swoop down on sale perennials. From mid-August on, local nurseries have them for 30-50% off. A smidgen of gardening knowledge goes a long way here; you need confidence to buy things that are long past flowering and may be looking a little tattered.
That’s normal. You’ll be cutting them back anyway, almost to the ground, before winter. Next spring, with their roots well-established, they’ll be raring to go again.
<- Digitalis purpurea ‘Candy Mountain’
Yesterday I popped into Wittendale’s in East Hampton and bought three foxgloves, left (biennials, which put out attractive rosettes of leaves the first year and spectacular flowers the second — next summer, that is). I also got a variegated lirope, below, with yellow-green leaves, to fill in a bare spot in my front garden, and three long-blooming (still blooming, in fact) bleeding hearts, bottom, which I know will do well, as they tolerate both shade and deer. All are big and healthy- looking and attractive as-is. Total: about $35. Would have bought more, but that was all they had of what I could use.
Lirope muscari ‘Silvery Sunproof’
In the next few days, I’ll check out other area nurseries. Perennials need to go into the ground at least six weeks before the first frost of the season, which could be as late as November 10 here on eastern Long Island, so there’s plenty of time as far as the plants are concerned. But I want first pick of the sale items — they’ll go fast, and only get more bedraggled as time goes on.
Dicentra formosa ‘Luxuriant’