The month of October is the perfect time for planning the winter garden, as well as for any thoughts of a more vibrant spring (garden). Retailers have started discounting container pots as they prepare to empty the shelves in preparation for the arrival of holiday decorations, ribbons and paper-products, and catchy objects such as imported cookies, scented candles, chip-and-dip platters and the like. One of my favorite sources -- Home Goods/Marshalls Mega Store-- for Asian glazed pots and Italian-style ceramic containers, had prices slashed by 50%, and Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft stores had Martha Stewart garden accessories in limited quantities at a hefty 70% off the original price. Likewise, garden centers are offering substantial savings on evergreens such as holly trees, boxwood bushes, junipers and assorted shrubs, and perennials. Any of these will overwinter reasonably well in container pots situated on the patio or in the garden room without much difficulty or maintenance. Bags of imported bulbs from Holland are quite reasonably priced, and can be easily planted at this time, for a glorious showing in March and April of next year. My friend, the Earl of Godfrey, suggests crumbling bits of dog chow on recently planted beds to dissuade squirrels from plundering recently planted bulbs; it appears that Kibbles N Bits appeals more to their palette, and these pesky thieves would rather gather than dig through layers of garden soil. Planting in the garden beds is so much more pleasant at this time, in contrast to the sweltering heat of the summer when everything (and everyone) is parched. Most plants, if protected from freezing and thaw by a adequate layer of fine mulch, will overwinter quite easily, and reward your foresight next spring with their respective brilliant glory.
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PS: A big shout-out to our readers in England, especially Chalky House in Wrexham (Wales), UK.