Fall Garden Shopping: Bargain Plants and Bulbs

* There are bargains to be had as nurseries frantically try to unload the last of this year’s perennials, but there are also dogs galore. Be sure to check the roots before buying. A bit of circling is inevitable and can be unwound or cut, but a tight net of thick, brittle roots is a guarantee of disappointment somewhere down the road. Keep whatever it is in the pot , where it’s easy to water, until the weather turns.

You do have to think of it in advance, but  mail order bulbs from places like Scheepers, and Brent and Becky’s are almost always larger and healthier than the ones that come prepackaged at supermarkets and garden stores. And they are more likely to be true to name than bulk bulbs, which would otherwise be fine. The problem is the customers, not the stores: I have with my own eyes seen oblivious jerks tossing rejects back into whatever bin was handiest.

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