There’s nothing more rewarding than cutting all the flowers off of a plant, digging a hole, tamping down manure around the plant, and standing back to admire your handywork, right?
In spring, we get to add veggie starts, showy annuals, and bushes heavy with new growth to our gardens. Soon after, the plants are reaching for the sun’s rays and practically moving right before our eyes.
Fall is the very opposite. Perennials are slowing down so we cut back the foliage to force the last ounces of energy into the roots. Since the soil is still warm, the plant is actually happy to oblige and expand its network of roots. If you grow on your perennials before planting them in now, it is easy to tell how fast roots grow. I put a 100 or so 4” Saliva nemerosa East Friesland in gallon containers about 5 weeks ago. When I removed the containers to plant them, the roots were at the very edge of the container even starting to pile up at the edges. If you have the time and space, this is a great money saver.
There’s nothing better than winter rains to water in a new transplant too. For the next few months, it is all about roots. The payoff will be more flowers to stand back and admire in the spring.