Friday, May 29, 2015

Stretch That Dollar!

If you would call me anything, it would more than likely be a cheapskate.  Paying full price for just about anything makes me cringe! After moving into our home, I learned quite a few things about putting together an amazing flower bed that you will love year after year ON THE CHEAP. I have learned from several mistakes, here is the best advice I can offer on how to have an amazing flower bed on a budget!

I was roaming through the flower section at the store and noticed the bottom of this hanging basket was cracked. It looked as if someone had dropped it. I asked if it could be discounted and was told it would be 75% off! I walked out paying only a couple of dollars and you can't even tell the crack is there unless you look close. It never hurts to ask for a discount for damaged goods.

Aim for bright colors. If you are like me and wish to have lots of color...not just green, try to make the rule you generally only buy plants that flower. This way you won't be wasting your money on foliage that really doesn't do anything for you. Get the most enjoyment you can out of your purchase!

Buy perennials over annuals. These plants will come back year after year. For the most part, this is just a one time cost other than a little new mulch each year.

I bought this plant last year in mid summer for a couple of dollars (marked down because all the blooms were gone), it just looked like a green leafy bush.  Look how pretty it looked this spring! 

Shop clearance. Lowe's always has cart-fulls of plants marked at least 50% off. Stick to perennials and shop throughout the seasons. After plants are done blooming the store will put a perfectly healthy plant 75% off...this will look beautiful in your flower bed next year!

Clearance wave petunias at Lowe's, originally $7.98, I paid $1.00.  
Use neighbors and friends as a resource! Hostas, day lilies, irises are all great plants that grow like crazy and need to be divided every couple of years. If you see something you love, feel free to ask them for part of the plant next time they divide them. People love sharing plants and the joy of gardening.   (The opening picture to this post are lilies my Godmother dug up from her garden to divide, one of the very first plants I put into our flowerbeds)

Read plant labels carefully, not all perennials will come back in your zone. Also, read tags to see if the plant will bloom in spring, summer, fall, or all. Spread out the variety among blooming seasons, don't just buy spring blooming plants. This will allow you to enjoy the beauty of your flower beds from spring to fall and get the most out of your dollar.

Learn to propagate. Several of my plants can be broken off of, stuck in dirt and a new plant will grow! DIY blog post to come soon.

Buy plants that are native to your area AKA you have seen them thriving in other yards. If you are seeing some exotic new perennial, don't waste your time or money. I have learned the hard way...they don't generally come back the next year.

A few petunia baskets were on clearance because they had several spent blooms hanging on them, everyone knows those can be pinched off!  I paid less that $2 for this basket, just the plastic basket alone is worth that. Within two weeks the pot was looking beautiful again. Visit my Pinch Those Petunias! blog post to find out how.  
You can also save money gardening in more ways than just the plants. Reuse your post and hanging baskets next year instead of throwing them away.  Also, shop garage sales and thrift stores! I have already seen several yard sells that were selling pots, tools, and plants!! I just bought a brand new hand tiller for 4 bucks. I bought some flower pots for 50 cents, great for my new propagated plants.

I also got a pair of Crocs at our local thrift store, (the gardener's shoe)! $2 Spray them down with clorox, rinse them off...they looked brand new!

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