Saturday, June 5, 2010
Landscaping on a budget
I will preface this with saying I am by far NO expert here. Yes, I've worked in a florist shop and learned quite a few things but again, not an expert by any means. However, I LOVE flowers. Except roses. You try working in a florist shop during Mother's Day and Valentine's Day and see if you don't ever want to see another rose again. LOL. Anyhow, I have a passion for flowers, love trying new varieties and have to do it all on a very, very tight budget. For that reason, I try to select perennials. We've been asked quite often how do we afford to do different things w/ so many kids. Though I don't think we have that many kids, I know everyone's money is very tight nowadays so thought I'd share what I do so that maybe others will have blooms all over their yard as well. I just think flowers make folks smile and stop and admire the beauty of nature. I mean, who could not love to stare at this:
This is one of our gardenias. We have two large gardenia shrubs. The previous owners planted them too close to the house. There was no way I would ever throw out shrubs. I have replanted many flowers and shrubs in this yard. Doesn't hurt them if you do it right away and do it right. Always use good dirt for sure. I tried to cheap out on dirt in the early days and learned that is not the part you chep out on. So, always re-use plants when you can. Never throw them out. BTW, I think gardenias have the most wonderful smell. And they look pretty too. They are supposed to be in full sun from what I hear. We have ours in partial sun and they do just fine.
This is an area we also took away from when we moved in. It was covered in monkey grass. Well, not really monkey grass. I have to think of the name of it but it is on the tip of my tongue. Anyhow, we moved it to another area of the yard so the hostas could be the "star" so to speak. They are around 4 feet across. Come back every single year. I do nothing at all to them. Ntohing. Love it. Easy maintenance for sure. You may notice solar lights on the walk. yardsales. $3 for an entire box. However, my kids ruined those w/ too many soccer balls. So, I replaced them w/ these. $3 a piece instead. URGHH. We found a wonderful metal plant holder that you drill into a deck for $2 at a yardsale. Yardsales are the why to find containers, unique lawn ornaments, birdbaths, hammocks, etc. Anything really. Or end of season clearance racks at mass retailers.
Many folks think you can't get plants on sale if they are in season. Not true. Lowes always has a 50% to 75% off rack in the back of the garden center. We always look there first. See, staff doesn't have the time to dead head or makes sure every palnt is tended to. So, if they get the least bit dead looking, they discount them. This huge pink geranium is actually 3 separate little ones. We got them for $2 a piece I think b/c they looked a little dead. Knew they weren't b/c there was new growth on them. So, picked them up, dead headed them and planted them. Now look. You can't even see the planter. A huge box of a planter which I got at a yardsale for $1. I spray painted it and well, here you go. The rocks in our yard were free. Craigslist is always looking for folks to haul off stuff for free. Geraniums do very well in heat and the south is always hot in summer.
Okay, sometimes you just need a little tacky to make things work. LOL. I just got this not too long ago at Sam's Club. We go to Sam's to get the bulk of our groceries. Well, they too have a discount aisle. I always look. This was a watering can. I think it makes a better planter. Plus, it'sheavy. I put petunias in there(on discount of course..dead looking). These are trailing petunias so these will be all over the place in a few weeks. Sometimes, think of other uses for things.
Birdbath...Sam's as well b/c it was the display model. Now, there is a large hosta in the back that was also a transplant from the front walkway. I now have a hosta garden w/ a variety of varigated and plain hostas. Again, easy maintenance plants. We have azaleas here. Find something that does well in your climate and stick to it. These azaleas died off at one point a few years ago due to a horrible drought and water restrictions imposed. Yet, we let them there, gave them some fertilizer that winter and they're doing fine now and starting to grow again. The pink hydrangeas are in the front. These were planted this year. I have transplanted and cut off hydrangeas for replant. These are not that example however. These blooms were finally starting to die off. I have never cut my hydrangeas the first year. I always wait. Don't know why but it seems to work.
Alright, I'm not happy w/ thow this turned out. I asked Max & Warren while at the store to pick up trailing petunias. They did but got the candy stripe variety which does not make as much of an impact as what it could. I did purple and pink last year. See:
I always like a dramatic mailbox b/c it is usually the first thing people see when pulling up to your home. I think the plain, dark petunias make a better appearance. These are not that expensive. And though they're annuals, they last all spring and summer. Very worth it. In the fall, I plant four mums here. It's all about vibrant colors. I love colors that pop.
You all know those very, very dirt cheap catelogs you get about buy one get 2 or three free? They send you what looks like a dead stick. Seriously, my kids make fun of them when they arrive. These shrubs were those "sticks" just about 2 to 3 years ago. They are tree rose of sharon. Beautiful pink blooms covering these in about a week to 2 weeks from now. I'll be sure to take pictures. BTW, we've resurrected our Fugi camera. I swear I'm going to write those people. That is by far the best camera for durability. More on that later. These shrubs are beautiful goign down the driveway. But, you have to have patience. For a couple dollars, you can have gogreous trees and shrubs. So, buy one, get one for a penny.
These are those same shrubs planted at the same time on the other side. Notice a difference? Well, when things planted at the same time are not grwoing basically the same, you try to figure out why. For us, the ground was startign to erode away on this side. So, we built it up w/ free mulch. BTW, you can all get FREE mulch. Just contact the tree cutting people. They love finding a place to dump it. We filled it in, staked them, fertilizd them and watered them. They are thriving again and really growing. Should be caught up to the other side by next year. Patience is the key to gardening and thinking through what may be the problem.
Never turn down something free. our neighbor gave us 2 grapevines. This is one of them. We planted them a few feet apart and are going to build a trellis. The yard floods badly but it won't affect these. Or, it hasn't so far anyway. It never hurts to try free so go for it. We haven't done grapes but hey, worth a shot.
I have more pictures of the .20 trees I got this year. They were literally sticks. Now, they are about 2 feet tall and w/ plenty of leaves. Take a chance. Find new varieties and then stick w/ what works for your yard. Vibrant flowers hide lots of flaws w/ houses. Our window boxes hide our window rot for now. Flowers just make people feel good. I'll have to show you the backyard plantings one day. It does not have to cost a whole lot to make a huge impact on your yard. I know this is all stuff you all know. But, never hurts to hear it again. Now, think I can convince my kids to go to the Botanical Gardens in D.C.? Hope you enjoyed the non-expert tutorial. LOL. I love to bring dead flowers back to life. I hate to waste anything b/c I know in my heart it can be beautiful w/ some TLC.
It was a big day today and I have lots and lots to share. Right now, too tired. Going to bed. Will get back to everyone who has inquired about the deaf children tomorrow. I wrote some back today. Have a wonderful weekend.