Image Credits: flowergardengirl.com
I love to dream – and one of the things that I love to dream about is my cottage garden. I pull out back issues of my favorite magazines, gardening books, and seed catalogues to add to the plethora of ideas already stored in my mind’s eye. There is one small problem however. When you start shopping at the garden centers & from all of the plant catalogues, you start to see a growing trend – all of these beautiful plants add up to lots of money!
I need to be honest with you for a second. You see, I’m not really good at waiting several years to add a plant here & a plant there to my garden. I’m the kind of person who sees something beautiful, then tries to find a way to make it happen in my own garden. Sometimes the ideas work out wonderfully, and sometimes I learn a lesson from the whole process. In any case, my garden is always better because of it.
We all live such busy lives, and we do our best to have our obligations taken care of. Sometimes, despite all of our work & effort, we just don’t have the extra amount of money that it would take to have the garden of our dreams. I know that feeling personally, and that’s why I wanted to take this time to share with you some of the ideas that I have discovered for finding free plants over the years. Soon, with a little bit of creative thinking, you’ll have to start giving plants away due to lack of any more space in your garden!
– Weekly Clean Up
In our village, the city trucks come around & pick up yard debris that is set out for pick up. You’d be surprised at how many plants are put out to the curb! I’m still not sure of the reason? Could be a change in color scheme, or perhaps they just got tired of taking care of it? In any case, I’ve found many nice plants just by collecting them before the debris truck does!
Either from your own plants or from your friend’s, small clippings add up to lots of free mature plants! I know one gal who offers to tidy up the gardens in her neighborhood in exchange for the clippings and extra plants that she cleans up. Most plants will grow from cuttings, and a small section a few inches long is all you need!
Just cut a small piece of the stem of most any plant – pull off all but the top few leaves – insert it into some moist sand. In no time you’ll have roots & a free plant! Mint, tomatoes, roses, hydrangeas, holly, and butterfly bush are all examples of plants that will grow from cuttings.
– Discards From Stores
Become friends with the person in charge of your local flower department in the big super centers! When plants get a little tired looking, they may give them to you free! All you need to do is give the plants some TLC!
Example: Recently in our local grocery super center, they were selling spring bulbs. In a short while the flowers had faded & the plants were no longer wanted by shoppers. Most folks have no idea that these plants can be planted outside for spring flowers next year! Just ask if you can have the “old” flower pots after the flowers fade! Keep your eyes open for Easter lilies, outside they can grow up to 4 ft. with lots more blooms than you see in that little pot!
My poinsettia is also still doing great from Christmas! I pinch back the stems as the red flowers (actually leaves) dry out. New beautiful sets of leaves bud have budded out already! I will plant it outside as soon as the danger of frost is past, then bring it in for a new round of Christmas blooms. I also broke off a few of the longer stems & stuck them down in the soil. They have already grown roots! I know everyone throws out their poinsettia plants after Christmas, but when I went to Africa some years back, one of the most amazing memories I have were the huge poinsettia TREES!!! So I am going to see how far I can take this little beauty.
– Restaurants & Parks
Most businesses replace their plants as the flowers fade. This year, start a relationship with the businesses in your area. Let them know that you are willing to take the unsightly plants off of their hands after they are finished blooming. We don’t mind since we know they will bloom again next year in our gardens!
While walking around larger greenhouses, I’ve noticed all of the large garbage cans throughout the place filled with soil, clippings, and old plants. Ask for their clippings for your compost pile, then use what you can to make new plants by rooting them, and throw the rest into the compost heap!
Remember, as in the case of an African Violet, it may only take one leaf to start a new plant!
– Garden Exchange
Get free plants & seeds by trading them for plants that you already have. You could do this by starting a garden exchange in your area. Newspapers are always looking for news to print, and since a garden exchange is an event, you can even get your advertising free of charge!
Do a quick search & you will see lots of websites that post listings for free plants & seeds. Lots of times you can get wonderful expensive plants FREE!
There are many, but some of the larger ones are:
You can get free boxes, mailing labels, tape, etc., from the post office. It’s great to have these items delivered right to your door free of charge! Take a moment to see what other items you may need, by going to: http://supplies.usps.gov
With these great ideas, you’ll be frugal gardening at its best!
Article By Pearl Sanborn. Pearl is the owner/publisher of http://www.LittleCountryVillage.com, an online resource jam packed with 100s of creative ideas to help you have the life of your dreams on the income that you already have! Home decorating, cottage gardening, frugal living, country living, how-to articles, easy recipes, and more – this is way more than the average website!