We are searching data for your request:
Landscaping with perennials can be expensive in the short run, but really pays off in the long run. Fortunately, there are ways to save in the short run, too. I have used both plants culled from neighbors’ yards and plants from nursery stock catalogs to save money on landscaping. Though this delays fruition, it has allowed me to get a large area started at once. If you have ever wondered about those too-good-to-be-true garden catalogs, read on to learn about the pros and cons, what to expect, and how to make the best of it.
There are advantages and disadvantages to starting with small plants and whether you choose this route for any given plant depends on your goals and your budget. Keep in mind that you don't have to get all your plants the same way. You may want to get some plants for free or cheaply from catalogs, while others may be worth the money to get a more mature plant or one of a particular variety. For instance, you may decide that while you are happy to wait a few years for your shrubs to fill in, you want your specimen tree to have a presence (or fruit) right away. So consider these points on a plant by plant basis.
These are, admittedly, some serious drawbacks; starting small is certainly not for everyone. However, for some starting with small plants can be worthwhile.
Lavender does not appreciate transplanting and is difficult to start from seed. An economical way to get this plant is in a 3" pot.
I have had many successes of starting small, and few regrets. One of my most successful small plant purchases was one hundred fans of Stella D'oro daylilies from Smokey’s Garden. They offer fantastic prices in the early spring and then ship at the right time for your planting zone. This time of year the prices are much higher, but I would still recommend them for the quality of the plants I received. I don't believe I lost a single one, and they bloomed right away. I planted them in clusters of three, and now, two years later they are large bunches, as shown.
I have also been very successful with chives from a friend, geraniums from a neighbor, oregano, sage and mint from another neighbor. Three-inch pots can be another way to get small plants. The lavender pictured came from a three-inch pot earlier that year. I have acquired several perennial herbs this way.
Pictured below are some plants I acquired for $10 or less from various catalogs. With one notable exception, they tend to be slow to take off. The exception is a Hanson's bush cherry that I bought in a bundle of eight. Four survived (at least partially my fault, so I didn't ask for replacements), and one did brilliantly, growing six feet in one season! Of course, the description said it grows to four feet, so I was quite surprised. Fortunately, I like the height difference.
The biggest regret I have had is planting too close together. The rhubarb that I dug out of another yard at six inches wide has become six feet wide and can be an awful bully in the garden. It is really hard to leave enough room, so make sure you leave plenty. Measure in all directions!
Weeks after planting this is the only sign of life on this cherry.
If you decide to propagate your own plants, you should expect them to start out very small. The gooseberry I propagated from a cutting is still only three inches high. Also, rooting takes weeks. Still, if you do enough to justify the cost of the hormone (~$12) you can save a lot of money this way.
If you are fortunate to have generous friends and neighbors, you may be able to get many plants for free. Strawberries are a great thing to get this way, as are brambleberries, since both spread easily. Perennial herbs also tend to be easy to transplant. Many bulbs, grasses, and flowers need to be divided every few years and are good candidates. If you are able to bring some dirt with the plant (without bringing undesirable weeds) this will help minimize transplant shock. However, you should expect some transplant shock and keep the plant well watered for at least a week. In hot weather, temporary shelter from the sun may be necessary. You will probably lose some leaves, but the plant will usually recover.
If you decide to order from a nursery stock catalog, you should expect to receive little sticks with a couple of roots on them. They will likely look quite dead, though this is rarely the case. Soak them in water according to the nursery's instructions and plant and they will begin to grow.
Essentially, plant your new plants where they will thrive. Give them adequate sun or protection, water, drainage, soil enrichment, and mulch. Soak them for a couple hours or overnight according to the instructions from the nursery if they came bare root. After soaking, plant immediately. This can be tricky, as you really don’t know when the plants will arrive, but do your best.
When planting in the shade, I have found my plants need extra protection from bugs. In these places, I plant little fortresses of peppermint and garlic around my plants. Planted this way, the bugs have left the honeyberries, elderberries, and juneberries alone and the plants are now thriving.
To give long-term nourishment to your new plantings, surround them with nitrogen fixers and mineral accumulators. I have planted comfrey and inoculated clover around my trees. Some say to plant a nitrogen-fixing shrub, such as goumi berry, right in the hole with your fruit/nut tree. I am experimenting with autumn olive in the same hole as a plumcot and also in the same hole as a pawpaw. Near other trees I have planted indigo and Peashrub for nitrogen fixing.
Finally, give your perennials plenty of room. This doesn’t come naturally, so pay close attention when you are planting. They will look funny at first, but it is ok. You can plant lots of annual vegetables and flowers in between. Consider getting some beans and the appropriate inoculant and getting your garden bed off to a good start by filling it with beneficial organisms. You can also get a ground cover started. Clover is a good choice because of its long roots and its nitrogen-fixing property.
You can save a lot of money by starting with small plants if you are willing to wait a couple of extra years. Remember to leave plenty of room. Consider the advantages and drawbacks in the case of each plant as you make your decisions. Plant only what you will have the time, energy, and dedication to tending throughout the year.
Watching your perennial garden grow and fill in from little plants is truly an exciting and rewarding experience. If you have some patience and are willing to put in some extra work starting will small plants can definitely save you some money.