I spent Sunday afternoon going from place to place to see if the fall sales had started and if nurseries were stocking spring flowering bulbs too early. Soil temperatures are still too warm to plant bulbs. If stored they need to be kept in a cool, dry place because sitting out on warm shelves until it is cool enough to plant them means they will have suffered. At the Big Box Store I found bins full of bulbs sitting in 80 degree heat and high humidity. Squeeze those bulbs before you buy them-they should be firm, with no soft spots and no green top growth.
I didn’t find any bulbs at Agway but found that the canning supplies were in, so if you’re into canning now is the time to pick up new jars and lids.
I also found that they were having a sale on perennials; buy one at full price and get the second for half price, except new arrivals. Sedums like Autumn Joy were selling by the cart load, and that’s no exaggeration. If you’re looking for sedums, you might want to get them soon.
Instead of sedums, I bought two Hostas. (Those who know me will think I’m crazy-I have over 200 now.) One of them is “Sum and Substance,” which I don’t have. With its plain chartreuse leaves this isn’t the showiest of Hostas, but it is one of the biggest. Plants can get up to 6 feet across with huge leaves measuring 9 or 10 inches wide and 2 feet long. The leaves are also deeply veined and that, along with their size, will make them ideal candidates for casting in concrete.
The other Hosta I bought is one I already have, called “Fragrant Bouquet.” Though the leaves aren’t anywhere near the size of those on Sum and Substance, the plant itself gets quite large; the one I have is at least 3 feet across. I like this one because it blooms later than any other Hosta in my yard and the large white flowers are very fragrant. The cream edged, apple green leaves are interesting as well.
My main reason for buying these particular Hostas though, is their sun tolerance; both will stand full sun. Though my new shrub border doesn’t get full sun it does get an hour or two of very hot, late afternoon sun. Any Hosta with blue gray leaves is out of the question here because hot sun melts the waxy coating on the leaves and they look terrible by the end of August.
Plant prices are falling and now is the best time of year to plant, so it’s time to go shopping.