It’s August, the temperature has dropped a little here and the summer monsoons where I reside in New Mexico have started. The season of autumn is definitely here now that the kids are heading back to school. I’m having that garden-planning itch again! It happens 2-3 times a year. . . This time, it’s time to start ordering bulbs and perennials for fall planting. I’m constantly planning how my garden will look better next season and I imagine most of you do the same. Fall is the perfect time to plant for established growth next spring!
Take a good look at your garden now and think about areas you need to fill in. Do you need late-season color or early-spring blooms? Are there areas in your garden that are unplanted or that have plants like poppies or tulips that go dormant, and you need something to fill in those areas to keep the color alive? For me, autumn is the perfect time to prepare for the next year since that is when the bloom times and plant combinations are most fresh in my memory.
You may be disappointed with a plant combination you chose last season. The fall is an excellent time to make some changes. Get rid of overgrown plants and revive areas with new color or foliage combinations. Think about areas in your bulb or perennial garden you want to develop. Which dimensions, shapes, and colors of blooms do you require? Plant them this fall and watch your pans come to fruition come spring.
It can take years for bushes and trees to mature and become established in their new homes. You can get a jump start by planting them this fall. When spring approaches they’ll be considerably more hardy and will need less babying.
The fall is an excellent time to place mail orders for trees, shrubs, hedging, and flowering plants such as bulbs and perennials. We’re closing down the season and if you’re anything like me you’re simply not ready to stop just yet. Even though there is some tidying up to be done, I’ve found that adding more plants makes it easier to complete the menial tasks. As I clear out the old, I make room for the new!
Ordering through the internet or the mail
Ordering plants online can be a bit scary. How are the plants shipped? Will the quality be satisfactory? Will they arrive at the appropriate time, and if so, will I be ready to plant them at that point?
Fear not! Ordering in the fall has consistently yielded excellent results for me over the years.
Plant Quality and Guarantees
Nurseries can range in what and how they ship so make sure you do some research, but virtually all respectable mail-order nurseries do promise their plants to grow or your money back. That assurance has always been easy to keep, and I’ve relied on it more than a few times when purchasing specific types of plants. I also admit, a bit grudgingly as a then-new gardener, that I should never have ordered those specific plants for my climate. Nevertheless, the nursery did stick to its commitment.
How Plants Are Shipped?
Some plants will be shipped with bare roots, others as potted plants. The answer to this question is contingent on the species of plant being grown, but in my experience, bare-root plants tend to perform better. Although upon arrival they have a lifeless appearance (they are actually in a dormant state), I can assure you that they will be in good health come spring, unless there are obvious signs of disease such as rot.
*Note: If you do receive any plants that have symptoms consistent with the crown having rotted, you should either ship them back immediately or simply call the nursery and they will ship out new ones.
When to Begin Planting?
Even while you won’t know for sure when your plants will arrive, you can be certain that they will be sent to you within the ideal planting season for your particular gardening zone. In the event that plants are delivered but it is inconvenient to plant them right away, ensure that you follow the instructions that are included in your shipment for maintaining the viability of your plants until you are able to plant them. Because you have prepared ahead of time, you will be aware of where they should be placed, and it will not take you very long to put them on the ground. In most cases, a Saturday afternoon will provide you with a sufficient amount of time to complete this task.
Keep in mind these firms have been in business for years and years and have supplied bare root and potted plants for aeons. They do know what they’re doing and most of them do it very well. If they were unable to meet your planting requirements, they would be forced to close their doors.
Gardening Budgets and Selection
You can’t beat the cost and selection of ordering by mail! Most mail-order companies offer plant varieties you’ll never find anywhere else. The selections seem endless and I’ve been amazed at what I can grow in New Mexico. Take advantage of autumn promotions and free delivery and you get a double bang for your cash. For roughly half of what I spend on a trip to the garden center on a single spring garden spree, I can have greater variety and many more plants supplied to me at home.
Get on the Mailing Lists
Make sure you’re on the email list for the following nurseries at least! You’ll receive a catalog numerous times a year. Take it into the garden with you, look around, and plan accordingly. The next step is to go online and place an order, or you can send in your request via mail; however, you should use the online resources because they offer assistance with plant combinations and companion planting. They provide fantastic ideas you may not have thought of previously. Remember – pictures will help any gardener no matter how experienced.