Four Ways to Save on your Garden This Season and Next

lobelia and begonia

It seems that bears and people have something in common this year. After months of forced isolation, they are back out in nature with a force. The traffic reports last night indicated a large surge in traffic on the highways out of town. Today, The Royal Botanical Gardens felt it necessary to tweet a reminder about maintaining physical distancing in the parking lot and on the trails. Having grown up in the north country, I have a healthy fear of bears and crowds. I prefer to stay home and garden.

This might be another zero-budget gardening year for me. I could afford to buy some plants, but I am not certain that I would want to deal with the crowds. My infrequent masked forays into the grocery store have been less than relaxing.

If you are heading out buy plants, consider your purchases for gardens present and future. Heaven only knows what garden centres might look like this time next year.

1. Seedy (in a good way):
Luckily, the bees did a great job of pollinating the front garden last year. Once I deal with the last of the spring bulbs, I have a lot of snapdragons that I will need to thin. I am also interested to see what color the new self-seeded dianthus (Sweet Williams) seedlings will be.

2. Cuttings (that don’t bleed):
I have overwintered geraniums many times. For the first time this year, I successfully rooted geraniums for the planters. It took about three weeks. They have been hardened off and are in their new home in the backyard planters.

3. They just keep on coming:
Last summer, I invested in a few more perennials. The hostas are back and looking great in the semi-shade of the backyard flowerbed. I also have some pollinator loved rudbeckia and mint-smelling anise hyssop. (Beware of these two as they seed profusely which requires a lot of clearing out. This is okay if you like to share or want to be really seedy – in a good way.)

4. Just eat it:
Last year for the first time I grew some lettuce among the flowers. It grew quickly and was great with sandwiches. This year the lettuce is planted along with some carrot seeds. Consider growing a few vegetables along with or instead of ornamental flowers. Yes, this meant savings at the grocery store last year and I had enough seeds to sow this year too.

In the garden and in life, make good choices. We could all benefit by taking a longer view of our options. My blossoms might take longer than the pre-potted, instant gratification varieties, but I feel so much more appreciative of my efforts when the blossoms arrive year after year.

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