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Richmonders are funny about fall. In early September, people flock back to the garden centers -- never mind that the temperature is just as searing as it was in August. You don't have to wait. Plants placed in late summer will frequently do fine, as long as you water them faithfully.
Strange's Garden Centers employee Bennett Smith recommends a few annuals that can "bake in the sun" and still look good. These include portulaca, a fleshy-leaved plant with yellow, pink or orange flowers; lantana, which produces multicolored flowers and may overwinter in some parts of Richmond; vinca; and, for shade, begonias.
August is also the time to save money on trees and perennials. Strange's has already begun cutting prices on flowering trees, roses, hanging baskets and more. Sneed's Nursery & Garden Center holds a tree and shrub sale this month. Be sure to visit the sale area, where undersized and overstocked plants are 50 percent off. Look for sales at most nurseries on garden furniture and accessories, too.