By Ken Lain, the mountain gardener
Truckloads of trees ready for fall color and winter evergreens are on their way. The first of many deliveries arrive this week. To make room for this seasonal transition Watters hosts it annual clearance sale, or the ‘ Monster Monsoon Sale’. There is nothing wrong with these lower priced plants, but the spring and summer selection simply must go before the fall and winter selections arrive. The sale encompasses a couple of weekends, so thatthe best savings of the year are to be had in the next few weeks.
Expect at least 25% to as much as 65% off. (I’ve been known to give away free plants when I know they’re going to a good home!)
Scoop up the deals as early as possible. Because savvy gardeners know to take advantage of these between-season sales, the limited quantities go fast.
Labor Day is the official start of fall planting in our area, so that means that there are two months left to our growing season. If you’ve been considering a landscape addition to create more seasonal excitement in the garden, now is the time to take action. Whether planting some of the past season’s stock or new arrivals, the plants have plenty of time to develop extensive root systems before winter. Perennials’ chances at success definitely increase when planted during the monsoon season. Many that bloom in late summer and autumn are especially happy when planted this time of year.
With the exception of mums, the garden center DOES NOT want any leftover perennials during the transition into the autumn planting season. So, if the plant you want isn’t on sale, ask for a discount. We are remarkably receptive to giving you “a deal”, especially when you offer to take home more than one plant.
Here are some always popular choices for season’s end planting:
~ Sun-loving perennials that do really well in local gardens:
Merlot Coneflower – This is a well-behaved plant with bold 5” wide merlot-rose flowers. Its natural home is with other perennials in a flower border, but this reliable knee-high plant also does well planted individually out by the mailbox. This plant is right at home in the mountains, so it is comfortable in wild gardens with native plants. It’s an excellent source of cut flowers.
Joe Pye Phantom – When in bloom, “impressive” is the only way to describe this 3-foot-high perennial. So sun-hardy it can be used in the native garden or as a backdrop to a rock garden. Sturdy and upright, the plant is covered with lavender blossoms from summer through autumn. The delicious vanilla scent is pleasing to the human sense of smell and a magnet to butterflies.
Wall Germander – Rich rose-colored flowers are an attractive contrast against the dense, deeply aromatic leaves of this easy-care plant. It blooms all summer long in water-wise gardens and is a carefree informal filler around larger shrubs and perennials. A good choice where there’s a thick population of nosy deer!
~ Shade-loving perennials that are star performers in our area:
Brilliance Autumn Fern – One of the few ferns that grows well locally, this handsome selection has coppery-red new foliage that is a brighter and a significantly more dramatic red than that of other ferns. The bold leaves mature to a deeply cut dark green. Spectacular colors illuminate the autumn landscape, and the plant comes back for another showing every spring.
Grace Ward Lithodora – Iridescent blue flowers crown this tidy 6” high x12” wide perennial. It is so tough that it frequently is used as a rock garden accent. In extremely hot areas its slightly mounded form likes some shade.
Crème Brule Heuchera – A breakthrough in heuchera breeding! In both spring and fall, the chartreuse foliage has a heavy smattering of brick red coloration that radiates out from each leaf. During summer’s months the leaves lighten with a silvery overlay. Although it’s grown for its stunning foliage there are cream-colored flowers that appear in midsummer. It is one of the few evergreen perennials that survive mild mountain winters, and also loves heat.
Garden Alert – Swarms of black, one-inch-long beetles are hitting gardens in Paulden, Chino, and Prescott Valley. There are reports that ‘Blister Beetles’ have attacked potato crops, ash trees, birds of paradise, and many other landscape shrubs. My frustration with this pest led me to create a solution to combat this wretched little eating machine. Fight back by spraying this insidious insect with Watters’ “Multi-Purpose Insect Spray”. The death is immediate; you actually will see bugs dropping as they’re sprayed with it!
Until next week, I’ll see you at Watters Garden Center.
Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site at WattersGardenCenter.com or