Money Saving Garden Tip 1 – Bargain Hunting
With these current tough economic times, it is still possible to have a beautiful flower garden. Over the years, I have honed my skill at buying more for less or sometimes getting things for the garden at no cost. I always look in garden centers for end of season sales. I have bought many shrubs at least 50 to 75 percent off because Home Depot or Lowes wanted to clear out their left over stock to make room for Christmas trees and greens. During the growing season, look for overstocked sales, such as potted daffodils and hyacinths. I have bought these two items anywhere from 50 cents to a dollar at Giant. They were left over from their Easter sales. You can plant both of these anytime during the growing season. Buy plants that multiply easily like daylilies, German Bearded Iris, and sedums just to name a few. You get more bang or in this case plants, for the buck.
Money Saving Garden Tip 2 – Plant exchanges and Rescues!
Don’t forget plant exchanges at work. I swapped extra plants of mine for extra plants from a co-worker. Let friends, family, neighbors and co-workers know you are interested in any plants they maybe thinning out of their flower beds. I have gotten shrubs, trees, and perennials this way. In fact, we were driving home from work and I saw a man clearing out the flower beds in front of his house. When we got home, I started dinner and told my husband I’d be right back. I went back to that house and asked what they were going to do with all the plants. They were going to take them to the dump!! I said I would save them a trip and took all of them. I got German Bearded Iris, Lily of the Valley, hosta, and columbines. Another day we were coming home from work and someone had put a sign out for “Free Peonies You Dig”. Needless to say I was back out there letting them know I would dig as many as they wanted to get rid of. A co-worker showed me an ad for daylilies 50 cents a fan, in the Penny Saver newspaper. My sister and I went down and filled our Explorer up with daylily plants. We even had them on our laps. A co-worker had dug so many she had to call her husband at home to bring their pickup truck to get all of hers home.
Money Saving Garden Tip 3 – Seed Collecting
Another free source of plants is seeds. I collect and dry all sorts of flower seeds in the fall. I store them in paper sandwich or ziplock bags. Come spring, I just broadcast sow them and see what comes up. Liatris, black-eyed Susans, bronze fennel, and blue globe thistle are great for this. Even seeds from butterfly and Rose of Sharon bushes will come up easily from seed.
Cheap DIY Garden Idea – DIY Decor
For garnishing the garden, look for end of season sales, damaged goods sales, and going out of business sales. I found a statue of two turtle doves that had one tip of its wings broken off. I asked how much they would sell it for and got it quite cheaply. At home, we glued the broken piece back on and it looks great. I bought some broken concrete pots and placed them in some flower beds to look like ruins in the garden. I just purchased five concrete statues for 50 percent off because the business owner was phasing out this line of goods. Check mail order catalogs selling garden items. A lot of times they will sell them at the end of the season for upwards of 75 percent off and offer free shipping. Now that’s my kind of deal!
Cheap DIY Garden Idea – Mulch Alternatives
Once you have planted all your free or nearly free plants, you needn’t spend a fortune on mulch. I use grass clippings from the lawn, fallen leaves, and wood chips. The County comes around each year cutting back overgrown shrubs and trees along our roads. I asked one day if I could have the chips and they gladly gave them to me. It saves them time and gas since they don’t have to take them to the landfill. I use the chips on paths and flower beds. I let the chips I intend to use on the flower beds sit over the winter so all the green matter composts. This process generates a lot of heat and could cook my plants if it’s used too soon. My sister has a lot of oak leaves every year so she cuts them up with the mower and puts them in lawn bags. When she gets a van load she brings them over and I use them mostly in the woodland garden.
After reading the above, I don’t want you to get the impression I never buy anything at full price. There are times when even I know when not to be frugal. If we’re on vacation and I see a plant or garden ornament that’s not on sale I’ll buy it because I know I won’t be around when it does goes on sale. If I find that, to die for garden statue that I have just THE perfect place in my garden, it’s in the back of the Explorer before you can say cash, check, or charge!
Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to get the perfect plant or garden fixture for absolutely the cheapest price and that includes for free. To quote Hercule Poirot “ It is said she stalks the English Aristocracy with a beater and net”. Well I stalk the garden centers and nurseries with experience and cunning looking for the best buys.
Happy hunting and never pay full price if you can help it.