At one time the Fall Season was the primary time to plant perennials. In fact, most nurseries grew their perennials in the ground and hand dug them for shipment and sales in the fall. Fall was the time when perennial gardeners could get the best quality plants, and the best selection. Fall was the best time to let roots and crowns establish themselves before freezing. Today only one part of the story has changed, the retailers have decided to sell perennials in the Spring along with annuals. However, in Spring the perennials want to grow above ground parts and flowers, so less energy is put into the roots and crowns. The other advantage of Autumn Gardening is that the soil and weather conditions are more favorable. The soil is not cold and wet, the sun is warm but the air is cool - PERFECT!
Fall is the best time to plant any perennials that bloom from April to June, like Aubretia, Alyssum, Arabis, Anemone, Brunnera, Bergenia, Lamiastrum, Dicentra, Woodland Phlox, Doronicum, and Pulsatilla. This is also the best time to do your garden editing - digging and dividing old plants to better spots, replanting things that have pooped out. All of these chores can be done up to Election Day. This deadline gives the garden about six weeks to grow in before it freezes. The later you plant, however, the smarter it would be to cover the new plants with pine bows from your Christmas tree (NOT leaves or mulch!).
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