Friday, September 9, 2011

The Vulture Circles!

'Tis the season of the garden centre clearance sales and there are bargains to a plenty to be found! 

Have you ever hovered over a rack of clearance clothing and found yourself eyeing a dress or skirt with a loud, ugly print or huge, unflattering pockets, and thought, "Humm...I can see why this made it to the clearnce racks!"

Well, I had similar thoughts as I did a little retail therapy at my favourite nursery this week. 

Small canon for your garden anyone? 

I mean seriously, who would buy such an odd garden ornament?

A gorilla in a Canadian garden? 

Is it just me or would that be just a bit weird? 

And see that little yellow sticker next to the price tag? 

It reads, "Warning! Winter Indoors Only". 

I didn't get a chance to ask anyone, but do they mean "indoors" like indoors on your livingroom coffee table or "indoors" like indoors in a back shed?

Either way, can you imagine hefting this fellow "indoors" every winter?

On the other hand, isn't this just a bit too Canadian?

And I found myself questioning some of the prices. $63.99 for a concrete cat! It's cute, but that's a very pricey kitty, if you ask me!

There were some tasteful sale items as well. I've always admired these classic benches. $338.99 marked down to $99.99! Oh, so tempting!

And then, there are the discounted perennials, trees and shrubs on sale too. But the question is: "Is this a good time of year to be planting?"

I think that depends on where you live. Deborah, who lives in the great state of Alabama and writes Deb's Garden blog notes in a recent post, that fall is a great season for planting in her area:

"Fall is the best season to plant new perennials, shrubs and trees and to transplant existing ones in my garden. Our ground doesn't freeze in the winter, so plants have months to establish their root systems before the growth spurt of spring and the heat of next summer puts stress on them."

Here is Canada, however the fall season is much shorter and plants have considerably less time to establish themselves before the snow flies. As an additional stresser, the fall season here in Ontario can be dry, as well as cold.  So, I'd would have to answer the question from my northern perspective: "Is this a good time to be planting?" with a cautionary affirmative:

Yes, but when you get home, be prepared to spoil your plant purchase with extra love and attention. 

It's not expert advice, but here is what I usually so. 

First up, I give the plant a good drink. I remove the pot and submerge perennials in a large dish filled with several inches of water. (Shrubs I put in a bucket with 5 or 6 inches of water.) I let the thirsty root ball soak up the water. When it is saturated, I remove it from the dish or bucket. If the plant was pot bound, I loosen the roots before planting. I don't usually use root booster, but nurseries often recommend it. 

The real trick of getting your sale item to over-winter is not to neglect it during it's early days in the garden. The fall is a busy time and let's face it, the garden often takes a back seat to other more pressing things. It is very easy to forget to water that new plant. Tend the plant carefully though the fall, and it is more likely to be there in spring. 

Don't forget to keep your receipt, just in case your sale purchase doesn't make it! (Note: Watch out for retail signs saying "Final Sale." I've learned the hard way that those plants, shrubs and trees are not guaranteed.)

So, what did I buy on my little shopping excursion? I bought some half price hosta, a few shrubs, a few sedum...

some Japanese anemone (Not on sale). One white and one pink one.

And I got a Rose of Sharon (Proven Winners, 'Blush Satin'). I have only wanted one forever. It is only $15! How could I resist?

Can't you just here the Japanese Beetles sending up a cheer of excitement over this last purchase? 

Rose of Sharon is their favourite dish!

Have a great weekend everyone!

P. S. If you have any great fall planting advice for gardeners in general or your own area in specific, please add it into your comment.


  1. Jen, a gorilla in ANY garden? What was the buyer thinking when they bought this in? But the Japanese Anemones are just stunning. I have 2, one pink, one white and wish I had bought tons more when I first saw them - now I'm waiting for them to come into our Nurseries here so I can get my "tons" more :)

  2. I would love to have that bench! Love those anemone, and I'm glad you finally got the Rose of Sharon you've been wanting! Very pretty. Planting in the fall here is recommended, because we usually get some good fall rains. I wonder if we will this year - I've almost forgotten what rain looks like.

  3. Oh great! I was just thinking of buying a smaller Rose of Sharon. My garden is the headquarters for Japanese Beetles. Well, maybe they will attack that instead of all my roses.

    ood advice Jennifer about taking care of the new perennials this time of year. I am zone 5 and we can plant perennials and bushes safely throughout October, but after that it's a iffy. I am moving perennials right now and pulling out some annuals that have outbloomed their welcome.

    I actually like the fall as it gives me a chance to change what I didn't like this year.


  4. I would jump at that teak bench!! Big time. wow. We plant most of our plants in the fall here in SC. This year we are in moderate drought conditions so water is essential. I don't use root stimulators...just water.

    Doesn't everyone have a gorilla in the garden? oh wait, that is the dog!

  5. Got a smile when I saw the gorilla..... but the cute hockey player gave me pause........ LOL. Loved that bench a very good price.. I do love planting and moving in the fall find more successfull...... good suggestions on how to do it....

  6. First - thanks for your very kind comment on my last post!

    Fall is the best time to add new plants to your garden here in the southeast. Our fall has days in the high 60-70's with cool nights and usually ample rain fall to help the plants establish strong roots. I do 90% of my transplanting in the fall. It's also the best time for planting bare root plants, which are usually much cheaper than potted plants.

    Believe it or not, I can think of several places I've lived across the American south where a cannon would be considered a much valued aset to the garden or landscaping!! But the gorilla and costly cat are absurd!!

    Today I came home from the nursery with a variegated northern sea oats 'Regal Mist' and 2 amsonia 'Blue Ice'. Happy!

  7. Fall is a great time to plant here in Nebraska (Northern Plains,) -- we planted several peach trees in November one year while it was snowing, but the ground had not frozen. They have done exceptionally well.

    Love your Rose of Sharon. We have several and they are very hardy and long bloomers. :)

  8. In southern New England (zone 5) I have had less success with fall planting of trees and shrubs than I do in spring. I've planted so many (over 100 small trees) and I found they do better when I get them in the ground in spring. Fall is lovely here, but winter hits suddenly when it does come, and hits hard and the little ones aren't always ready for it.

    I loved the tour of sale items and feel sure a small cannon would make a wonderful addition to anyone's garden . . .somewhere. Somewhere.

  9. Jennifer girl you are too funny !
    Yes I question what people would either want or can afford to drop that mush money for unusual garden ornaments ? I like odd things but not that odd or pricey is right .. now on the other hand .. I have been swapping plants in different places in the garden and yes .. buying a plant or two .. now I have Spring bulbs to plant soon as well .. we just have to squeeze that last bit of gardening out when the weather isn't so darn hot and humid ?
    I'm still giggling over here because that gargoyle is perfect for ME !!! LOL
    Joy : )

  10. Enjoyed the post very much. Know any civil war reinactors in your area for the cannon?
    Your best purchase was the anemones. What a godsend for this time of year. Keep up the good work.

  11. It was so funny to see the statuary on sale. You are right, it is quite a bit pricey too. It was interesting to read about your method of planting - I never go to such lengths and usually just stick a plant into the ground. Of course, our winters are quite a bit milder than yours...

  12. Yes, there was a reason many of those sale items haven't moved!! I usually only look at plants this time of year. Our nurseries say fall is the best time to plant too even tho we experience harsh winters (zone 5)?? I haven't ever planted shrubs or trees (at this time)to test it out tho ~ this year, with all the weather extremes, doesn't seem like the time to experiment!
    I love the anemones you selected. I may have to replace my pink variety since the white has been slowly crowding it out ~ now I don't see it at all. :-(
    Happy gardening with your new purchases. I need to do some greenhouse hopping soon ~ I haven't done much the last two months.

  13. Not dry here in Fall that I can not remember. We too have these crazy garden ornaments at local nurseries, but not on sale. I like your poor gargoyle looking for a home. He really looks like he is thinking your caption.

  14. Some great junk there Jennifer, the bench is a bargain though. Funny how our planting regime differs, over here Autumn planting is very much recommended. They say it gives the roots time to take a hold before Winter sets in, and they wont dry out like they do with Spring planting, the biggest reason for plant failure. Great picture of the Japanese Anemone.

  15. Jennifer I keep forgetting to say I have a friend who has a bunny named Honey too!
    I hate this heat and humidity raging over us again .. not Autumn at all with this type of weather .. be gone hot humid beast !!
    Joy wink wink

  16. Enjoyed this post very much. Yes, it is about right sculpture in the right place...the Gorilla for instance...perhaps in a jungle type greenhouse, with palms and orchids, he's overlooking a reflecting pool wishing neither ;-)

    And you really didn't buy that bench!! Would have had that in the jeep in ten mins at that price!

    Fun...must check out the city sales this week.

  17. Please, provide price for canon


I love to hear from you. Thanks for leaving a comment.