You were smart to bring them in. You don’t want the roots to freeze. Once they are in the ground, I would try to protect the tops for about a week to let them settle in. (The traditional vegetable garden protection is bed sheets from the house. You could also use the pot they just came out of to cover them at night. Of course, all the covering has to come off for the day. And if you get far enough below freezing, nothing helps.) After that the roots should still keep growing until the ground freezes hard. The nursery bed is probably a good idea. But don’t just depend on the tags to stay in the ground all winter. Make yourself a map on paper and label everything on that as well. Then make two copies of the map. (I speak from experience.) Same principle for moving plants that have been growing in the ground as for the stuff in pots.
Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.
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