Cost Saving Tips for Gardeners

On a tight budget? You're not alone. Here are some tips to help you maximize your dollars.

Dig and divide - Unlike furniture and accessories, plants will and do multiply. This can be a bad thing or a good thing depending on the plant and the place. But one of the good things, is that they can be divided into many starter clumps every 3 years or so. By separating your plants every now and again, you actually have an almost unlimited source of free plants at your disposal.

Exchange with others - While you busy digging and dividing, connect with other people doing the same thing. Exchange plants. You'll easily broaden your variety that way.

Invest a little in permanent plants - Take a portion of your budget each year and invest in permanent plants - perennials, shrubs, trees. Your long-term value will increase rather than the short term life span of annuals.

Use annuals sparingly - Pockets of annuals are great for color and impact, but you need to be selective in where you place them.

Consider the depth of your yard - If you want your yard to appear larger (more depth), use fine textures and softer colored plants. However, if you want the yard to appear foreshortened, use coarse textures and bolder colors.

Increase portability - Colorful garden planters are portable and give great flexibility, especially if you need temporary displays with lots of impact.

Take advantage of other views - Does your neighbor have some beautiful flowers? A stately evergreen? Use your neighbor's foliage as a backdrop to your own.

Not everything needs to be living - A few strategically placed pieces of art helps create focal points (yes, you need them outside too). Create extra interest with a rock figurine, a faux rock, a bridge, a wornout wheelbarrow, a leftover trellis. You get the point. Use humor, whimsey and curiosity to build surprising vignettes. I left two tree stumps in my yard and placed wooden planters on top, built up the sides with more dirt and planted low growing flowers all around for a stunning focal point. In one place where nothing seems capable of living, I even buried an artificial plant in plaster of paris in the dirt. People have to actually touch the plant to discover it is artificial. Hey, I'm not too proud to say I'm not very good with live plants. So shoot me.

Other September Tips:

Barbara Jennings is a well known author and interior decorator in Southern California. She is also a published artist. She teaches rearrangement design and how to do it as a home based business. Visit her website at Decorate-Redecorate.Com. Used by permission.

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