Anthony DiSpezio Stevens notes that homeowners should be careful not to purchase plants grown for too long as “B&B” stock, or “ball and burlap” as it is called in the nursery trade. “B&B plants have been dug up in the spring when the soil is really wet and so their roots are in clay,” Stevens explains. ”Clay holds a tremendous amount of moisture, which can really cause plant stress over a long period of time and with fast-growing varieties, the plant’s foliage can outgrow its root system.”

Perennials and roses are also great options for the fall gardener, says Stevens, noting that Country Garden’s spacious nursery features hundreds of perennial choices as well as a full selection of roses well-suited to Cape and Islands’ landscapes such as the popular KnockOut varieties. “Roses do really well with fall planting, but it is important to mound winter mulch protection around the canes, up to at least a third of the plant,” says Stevens. “We like use to salt marsh hay, which is native to Cape Cod, and will really protect the rose from winter damage.”

Stevens says that in the spring, roses should get a head start for big summer blooming with an application of RoseTone fertilizer every two weeks, supplemented by foliar feeding of an organic fertilizer like Neptune’s Organic Fish Fertlizer—and really good deep watering. “When the forsythia blooms, then it is time to remove the mulch and wake up the roses for spring and summer,” says Stevens.

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Susan Dewey is the associate publisher and editor of Cape Cod LIFE, Cape Cod HOME, and Cape Cod ART. She lives in Centerville on Cape Cod and enjoys gardening, sailing, walking on the beach, gallery hopping, cooking with fresh seafood, and exploring Cape Cod and the Islands from shore to shore.

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