Although late July into August is usually a rough time in the garden because of heat stress and the rigors of keeping up with the weeds, it’s also one of my favorite times of year because I can start looking forward to the fall garden and planning for next year. It’s the perfect time to take advantage of garden retailers moving their summer stock out before the fall plants take center stage.
I don’t know if it’s a sign of a sluggish economy, but the garden centers I’ve visited in the past week seem to have a great deal of inventory on hand. As a result, they’re starting to discount annuals and perennials to cut their potential losses. Today, I visited Green View nursery in Champaign, IL after receiving an email promoting discounts of 30-70% on annuals, tropicals and select perennials.
The retail benches were chock full of great deals and I ended up with a cart full of plants to plug some holes in the landscape. My final haul came to about $53, and included Carex ‘Red Rooster’ (Sedge), Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Big Red Judy’ (Coleus), Stokesia laevis ‘Purple Parasols’ (Stokes’ Aster), Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’, Echinacea ‘White Swan’ (2), Pennisetum glaucum ‘Purple Majesty’ (Ornamental Millet), and three Caladium spp.
All of the plants, except for the sedge and millet, are perennial or can be easily overwintered indoors.
I planted the sedges, millet and Caladium in the raised bed planter that surrounds our back patio, replacing some annuals that were faltering due to lack of adequate light and some stealthy earwig attacks.
Although the sedge is named ‘Red Rooster’, its highlight is curly bronze foliage that perfectly complements the dominant burgundy and dark greens in the patio planter.
The ‘Purple Majesty’ millet — one of the few plants that I paid full price for — is now the centerpiece in the north side of the planter. I attempted to grow this variety from seed this spring, but the seedlings were promptly mowed down by our resident bunnies soon after planting.
Today’s best deal was the 70% discount on Caladium. I purchased three pots for about $4 total. Although none of the varieties were identified, I believe the one pictured above is likely ‘White Wing’.
I planted the Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’, Stokesia ‘Purple Parasols’ and Echinacea ‘White Swan’ (above) among the boxwood, arborvitae and other shrubs in our front foundation border to provide some summer color in this full sun garden.
I claimed earlier this summer that I was done buying new plants for the garden, but I must have forgotten about the end-of-summer discounts that would be appearing as August arrived. The garden may struggle to look its best during the dog days of summer, but this is most certainly my time of year.