Gardening on a Budget

By: Julie Day
Red buckeye flowers.

Red buckeye, rescued from the compost heap.

Choose Plants Wisely

Consider the type and size of plants to save money when shopping:

  1. Consider Perennials: Bulbs, grasses, and perennials often are the best value, because many spread or can be divided. Some of my favorite garden-filling perennials are bee balm, daylilies, hostas, painter’s palette (persicaria), and muhly grass.
  2. Buy Small: Size matters when buying plants, since larger plants of the same type generally cost more. Some items – like foundation shrubs – might be worth the extra price for larger plants. For perennials and smaller accent plants, buying a smaller size can save you a bundle. But be sure to check the pots – many gallon-size pots actually have two or three plants packed in there, which can be divided up when you get home.
  3. Look for Discards: When I worked at a plant nursery, I couldn’t stand to see a plant go to the compost pile, so I took many of them home. Granted, most of them were discarded for a reason, but those that survived turned out to be beautiful specimens I never would have otherwise chosen. Check with your local garden center to see if they have any scraggly plants destined for the dumpster.

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