By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Practically leafless trees and shrubs sitting around sadly in pots with only a nametag to identify them. They might look pretty pathetic at the moment, but so many of those deciduous trees and shrubs that you find on sale right now, are a smart gardener’s best friend; because you have so little to lose and so much to gain.

Plants that are going to sleep for winter don’t need energy to support leaves, flowers, or fruit, so they can just concentrate on getting their roots established when you plant them in the fall.

Make sure your new plantings get watered either by autumn rains – or by you until it gets too cold out and you turn off the outside spigot for the year. Then, just watch as they’ll likely leaf out when the weather warms up next year.

So many of my best plants started out this way; like the $5 hydrangeas that grew to fill my garden with flowers and foliage every spring and summer. To look at them now, you’d never guess they started out as spindly little sale-table cast-offs I planted years ago in the fall.

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