How to - Gardening Basics

Wallet-friendly ways to nurture a gorgeous garden

Charmian Christie

How to help your garden flourish and grow--even if you're on a budget

You may have a bit less to spend at the nursery this season, but don’t let a tight budget stand between you and a beautiful garden. With a bit of networking, patience and planning, you can get results that are so gorgeous no one will know you didn’t spend a fortune. Here are some helpful ways to expand your plant collection without breaking the bank.

Join the club

“One of the best ways to garden on a budget is to join the local horticultural society,” says Donna Robbins, perennial supervisor at Humber Nurseries Ltd. in Brampton, Ont. Do a quick web search of your area to see if you can find one in the neighbourhood. A horticultural society membership, which can cost as low as $10, quickly pays for itself as you:

  • Expand your plant inventory at the annual seed exchange.
  • Take home perennial clumps when fellow members thin their gardens in spring.
  • Learn tips and tricks for growing plants in your region.

Be a bargain hunter
If you don’t have a horticultural society in your area, you can still save a lot of money with a bit of ingenuity. Here are some clever ways to suss out the best deals:

  • Organize your own neighbourhood exchange. Swap divided plants or split seed packets to get a wide variety in your garden at little to no cost.
  • Clip flyer coupons or look for unadvertised in-store specials when you go plant shopping.
  • Sign up for e-mail sales alerts and newsletters from your local nursery.

Plant for success
“Do your homework or you could lose your plants,” says Robbins, who’s seen healthy plants die from neglect or improper planting. Do your homework by reading up on your plants and how to nurture them.

  • Know your plants’ light and water requirements before you dig—then plant accordingly.
  • Water new plants regularly. Even drought-tolerant plants need to be watered often until they are well established, which takes at least a season.
  • Research all gift plants. A free invasive plant could end up costing you time and effort in the long run.

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