Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Creating a Beautiful Garden for FREE or on a NOMINAL budget

"You will never see me garden, ever" My husband loves to rib me about that comment, almost 20 years after I said those words--gardening has become one of my greatest outdoor first loves.
When you visit nurseries, one is in awe of all the beautiful perennial, annuals, shrubs, trees, etc that you can purchase to add to your existing garden. At the same time, it can become quite expensive too.

Whether you are adding to your existing garden or just beginning to design your garden, I would like to share some of my experiences with you.

This little garden has been a 2 year work in progress. As you can see, it is a small sloping hill that originally was covered with overgrown grass and weeds. Two years ago, my husband, dug up and cleared all the overgrown vegetation. He purchased bags of black soil to create a rich and fertile ground for plants. A year later, at a garage sale, he purchased a large jar of wild flower seeds thinking that it would be a 'wild flower garden'--unfortunately, the seeds just never blossomed into this garden of paradise that he envisioned. By the end of last summer, I decided to take the reigns and designed in my mind what type of garden I wanted to create the following year. The pictures here are the result of what I designed and created over a few weeks--scratches, black fly bites and all, but worth it all!

This garden is located at my cottage which is further located deep within the woods. As I created this garden within my imagination, I was taking into consideration all the natural resources that I was going to use and relocate for my garden. After clearing the slope from the ingrown weeds, I went within the forest and dug up evergreen trees of different varieties and heights and spaced them apart as I replanted them.

The rocks were found along our shoreline and property and were relocated to their new home. We placed them at varying levels. As I stood looking at the layout, I was very pleased at this 'natural wonder' that was slowly evolving. The fun part was next.....filling it with colorful plants.

At home, my garden has an abundance of mature perennials from which I could dig up small "samples" and relocate them to my garden up north. This was just the beginning as the word spread of my evolving garden. My sister and mother-in-law gave me clippings from their gardens--varieties that I didn't have. As I was mentioning my garden to one of my neighbours who has an incredible collection of large hostas, she said, "Baya, help yourself". It was Christmas in June :) I was happy!
It is going to take a couple of years for my garden to be lush and colorful, but at least now the mold has been set. To add a little color, I have planted impatience and cosmos, which are annuals, but will add a nice balance of color until the garden is truly established.
Not all of you may have access to a forest, but I hope I am able to get the creative juices flowing within you to inspire you. Here are some things to consider for creating a garden on a budget:
  • buy plants at a nursery towards the end of the season when they are selling them at significantly reduced prices
  • if you want to use rocks, sometimes people have rocks in their gardens that they no longer want and are more than happy to have someone take them off their hand--ask around
  • ask friends/family for small clippings from their garden
  • many times when people have garage sales, they also sell samples from their garden for pennies
  • start perennials from seeds

The deers that I have in the background, were like the icing on the cake, that I found at a garage sale, and knew where their new home would be. They certainly blend in with the deer that visit us--the deer must think we are trying too hard :)

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