I have 6 shrubs that we purchased late in the season, and were unable to plant them. What can we do to keep them till Spring.??? They are now starting to dry, and I was going to put them into the cellar, in the furnace room till spring. Thanks

Often the plants I get during fall sales don’t look like much with the leaves falling off as they go into dormancy, but as long as the roots and stems are in good shape, I’m willing to take a chance. Sometimes the bargains are so good that I buy plants that I have no plan for but the price is so good that I can’t pass them up. These plants will often have to spend the winter in their pots while I come up with a plan for them. I’m not afraid to winter-over perennials in pots or balled-in-burlap shrubs or trees. It’s all a question of knowing how to bring them through the harsh winter ahead. First, scout out a sheltered location. We know that our prevailing wind comes from the west and north. The east facing wall of a garage, shed or even the house is a great spot. The building will block the cold, dry air that can dehydrate our wintering plants. I’ve got a 4′ high retaining wall on the western side of my vegetable garden that works well for this purpose. Parallel to the wall, I’ll dig a trench deep enough to set my potted and balled bargains into. If I happen to have a tree that is so tall that it sticks out above the wall, I’ll tip it on its side so the branches are below the top of the wall, protected from the wind. Then I’ll fill around the pots or root balls with loose soil and tamp it down well. Until winter sends my treasures into complete dormancy, I’ll keep an eye out that they don’t dry out, but with rain such a regular feature this time of year, that’s not of much concern. As early as I can in spring, I’ll find places in my landscape for my fall bargains and plant them (adding bone meal, of course).

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