by Connie Oswald Stofko
The gardening season is still under way in Western New York. You can plant flowering perennials, cool-weather vegetables and fruit trees and shrubs now.
You can safely plant perennials now through mid-September, said Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville.
Some landscapers and other gardening folks may say you can plant perennials well into October, he said, but he doesn’t recommend waiting that long because you want to have enough time for the plant to get well established.
“You want the roots to grow as deep into the soil as possible,” he said.
If the roots aren’t deep enough, the plant could heave out of the soil in the winter and the roots could freeze, Yadon explained.
When you plant your perennial, dig a hole and add good compost or soil mix to give the roots a good start. He also suggested mulching to help protect the roots over the winter. See more tips on planting perennials to survive the winter here.
Since there is a limited time to get perennials planted, you can find specials on them.
At Mischler’s, selected perennials in gallon pots are 50 percent off. They were $9.99 and are now $4.99.
In addition, Mischler’s is featuring a Perennial of the Week, which is on sale for $7.99. Right now the perennial of the week is ‘Goldsturm’ black-eyed Susan, a type of rudbeckia. It grows in handsome bushes. The yellow daisylike flowers have dark centers and are excellent for cutting, background, borders and bedding. It will naturally reseed itself each year.
Starting Thursday, the perennial of the week will be heuchera ‘Melting Fire’. It gets its name because the leaves are bright crimson in spring, mature to a dark maroon red by summer, and acquire tinges of purple in fall. In early summer, the plant gets small, white, bell-shaped flowers that last for four to eight weeks. ‘Melting Fire’ grows about 18 inches tall.
Follow Mischler’s on Facebook to keep up with specials.
Now is the time to plant a crop of vegetables that you can harvest in the fall, said Teresa Buchanan, garden center manager at Lockwood’s Greenhouses, 4484 Clark St., Hamburg.
Cool-weather vegetable crops include broccoli, peas, cauliflower, kale and cabbage. You can buy the plants now at Lockwood’s.
Tip: You can also plant cool-weather vegetables early in spring. They can be planted as early as April, depending on the plant and the weather. Not only does the weather have to be warm enough, the ground has to be dry enough to be worked. A wet spring can postpone planting.
Trees and shrubs
You can plant fruit shrubs and fruit trees now through the middle or end of September, said Buchanan of Lockwood’s. Like perennials, you want to get fruit shrubs and trees in the ground so they have time to root before they go dormant.
You may have heard that you can plant trees much later in the fall, and that’s true if you have a large specimen with a large root ball. However, for the size trees and shrubs that Lockwood’s sells, they recommend planting by the end of September for best results, she said.
Lockwood’s has many fruit shrubs and vines including blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries and grapes. They also have fruit and nut trees, including apple, pear, almond and pecan.
All the fruit and nut trees and shrubs at Lockwood’s are on sale for 30 percent off through Sept. 20. Follow Lockwood’s on Facebook to keep up with specials.
You can also pick up annuals on sale. If you have a spot where your perennials are done blooming, pot up a container of annuals to add a bit of color. Some annuals will bloom only until frost.
However, cold tolerant annuals can take some frost and snow. Some years they have looked great past Thanksgiving.
Some annuals, such as caladium and some ferns, can be brought inside and used as house plants, Buchanan said.
More ways to get plants
New: Hosta, daylily and iris sale at Botanical Gardens
Hostas, daylilies and irises will be offered for sale by local plant societies from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23 in the Administration Building of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.
Hundreds of plants– many new and exciting varieties and cultivars as well as popular garden favorites– will be offered at very competitive prices.
Throughout the day experts and enthusiasts will be available to answer questions and offer advice about selecting and growing these plants.
Admission to the sale is free.
See more garden centers
A garden seed and plant exchange will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8 at the Foundry, 298 Northampton St., Buffalo.
It is sponsored by Buffalo Lab, a makerspace. It’s a community to share knowledge, provide space for hobbies and hang out with others like you. Their motto is Learn, Make, Play!
– Extra seeds in packets (even older ones)
– Seeds from plants in your garden
– Divided perennials or cuttings
– Gardening tools or supplies you no longer need
The organizers will provide labels and small plastic bags to divide and transport seeds.
Bring as much information about the plants and seeds as you can. If you don’t know the name of the plant, describe it as best you can, including information such as how tall it grows, whether it needs sun or shade and the color of the flower.