Thrifty Garden Shopping

Thrifty Garden Shopping

Jun 30, 2008

The dirty secret about gardening is, it's expensive. Ever think you'd pay for manure?!

Before you overspend on astilbes, here are some quick store-by-store tips on what to buy, where - and sometimes even when. From garden center to big box, asters to shovels, consider these tips and share your own.

First, two general rules of green thumb. Bring a digital camera as you pre-shop to decide exactly what you want, where, and compare prices - way easier than a notepad. Then, be patient – very-end-of-season makes perennials, pots and furniture a steal.

Fancy Specialty Garden Center

  • For major buys, like trees, due to their guarantees.

  • Window shop here to leverage the great service and advice, gratis.

  • Splurge on hard-to-find plants and pots, especially perennials.

  • Skip the rock and pavers here – overpriced.
  • Neighborhood Nursery

  • Older, smaller, unsexier nurseries are great for mulch and standard plants, like geraniums.
  • The Big Box

  • Standard plants, pots and mulch on sale

  • Otherwise unexciting pot or container en masse for affordable impact

  • Check it: Martha Stewart for Kmart
  • Farmer's Markets

  • Great for plants. Shop closing time for best bargaining power.
  • The Estate Sale

  • Shovels, shears, pots and other staples
  • Other

  • Anything can be a container if you drill a hole in the bottom

  • School and charity sales are great for annuals

  • Plants are tough – fearlessly divide, move and take from friends
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