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Old 06-05-2009, 05:20 PM
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"Ways to get plants free or cheap"


If you are reading this thread for the first time, I hope you enjoy it and learn from some of the ways to get plants free or cheap. But if you have been on plant swap for a while, you might think that you have read this already. Well yes, you aren't going crazy! My friend Shirley (drsahollis) asked me to change the name of the former thread "Frugal plant shopping" to "Ways to get plants free or cheap" so that the thread will stay alive and that more people will be able to benefit from the ideas that are given.
I apologize to those who have read it already but here it is any way!
For the past 10 years my family and I have lived on a fixed income due to my work related disability. So when it comes to gardening, needless to say, it is a luxury and not a necessity. That was one of the reasons for joining Plant Swap, so that I could trade what I have with someone else for something I would like. Since I joined , everyone I have met and/or traded with have been so kind and generous . It makes me feel good if I can pass along some of my frugal secrets of how to obtain plants for free or cheap. My first frugal secret was to ask professional gardening companies in neighborhood communities to give you the old perennials or tulips that they are replacing with new colored flowers. My newest frugal find this week was at Lowes Home Improvement Store. I stopped into Lowes to pick up a part that I needed for my kitchen, but while I was there, I was drawn to the gardening department like a moth to a flame. I was admiring all of the beautiful plants knowing that it wasn't in my budget to buy what I liked but then I saw it! "CLEARANCE PLANTS!" Many of the plants on clearance were two steps away from the grave but then I saw my diamond in the rough! "Gerber Daises!" Gerber Daises which are normally $4.95 each were market down to $.50 each. Granted they didn't look 100% but they were far from dead . The flowers had bloomed and were getting tired but the plants were as strong as could be. I bought 12 plant. Without being on clearance, they would have been $59.40 but because they were only $.50 each. It cost me $6.00. A savings of $53.40.
Granted, I would have never bought them at full price but for what I paid, I was able to buy them.
So here is my tip for the week. Always look for sales and don't be afraid to ask for a discount if the plants don't look perfect.
Best of luck in finding Bargains!
Steve
Isn't it the truth frugal gal. Don't be afraid to talk with people, especially gardeners because we all like to share what we have. Also look everywhere for those deals, you just might be pleasantly surprised what you find.
I would love to see a picture of iris alley when it is done and all in bloom. I bet it will look spectacular. Boy do I wish I had more places to plant like you Shirley, but when you live in a community (1st time in a community and never again) you only have a postage stamp of property. Hopefully in a year or two when my youngest son graduates from high school, we will try to move and I will have my dream home. Or should I say my dream property. I took a course on beekeeping and even joined a beekeepers association. This way when I have the right spot, I will start keeping bees. Great for pollinatiing my plants and getting home grown honey is an extra bonus! I also plan on raising chickens and a few dairy goats.
Here is another way to get free plants!

It is not uncommon for churches to decorate the altar with flowers and plants, especially around Easter. Plants like Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinth and especially Easter Lilies are what you will generally see. After Easter is over and the flowers start to show signs of wear and tear, the plants are removed from the altar. They are either thrown out or given to parishioners who want to take them home. Last year (2008), I was fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time. I was at church when they were clearing the altar and was able to take home 2 Easter Lily plants. I would have brought home more except that my wife was embarrassed to take these sad looking plants home. I would up planting them and this year they have bloomed beautifully. Here is a picture I took of them today.
Steve

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Old 06-05-2009, 06:52 PM
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Steve and I share a bit of the same recent history, and I, like him, have to be on the lookout for deals. So I want to share a recent experience:

At a house near the assisted living facility where my mother lives, I have noticed over the past several months some of the nicest dark green, 5-6 feet high bamboo. And I've coveted that bamboo I have to admit. I've contemplated stopping and asking for a bit, but was reluctant. Well, the other day I went by, and all the bamboo was gone. I was shocked; why would somebody get rid of that lovely plant. As I turned the corner, I noticed a pile of plant stuff on the side of the street for trash pickup. I circled the block, went back, parked right in front of the pile, opened my hatchback, and began to rifle through the pile and, although most everything was all dried up, I pulled 5-6 pieces of root out that seemed to have some life. I rushed home, got it into water, and after a few days, planted all of it in nice trench along my neighbor's fence to hide his rusty storage shed from view. I am pleased to say, the dried up old roots have sprouted:




Those pics are 2-3 days old, so those sprouts are near a foot high and new sprouts are beginning to emerge. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I say. I will be more proud of my bamboo than it I had paid $50 for it.
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:37 PM
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Well done, both of you - and don't those rescued plants look grateful and happy?

One of my favorite Angelwing Begonias was originally collected from a neighbor's streetside pile of pruning refuse.
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:48 AM
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I'm a merchandiser & Wal-mart is one of the stores I go. You wouldn't believe the stuff they throw away! It just makes me sick to see all that waste. Sure, they put it on clearance but after awhile, if it doesn't sell, they throw it away & get credit for it. Alot of the stuff I see would make it if they watered it more (IMO). I asked once how much more of a discount would they give if I bought the buggy full & was told they couldn't sell it once it was down to be thrown away.

I've gotten alot of stuff from old vacant homesites. I hate to see plants strangled from weeds & brush taking over. My favorite find was an old iron bench that someone had at the curb for trash pickup. I rushed home & had my husband help me put it in the back of the car. I painted it white over the 1970's green it had been. All that was wrong with it was that it was old & had been a glider but the glider part didn't work. A couple weeks ago, the bus driver hit it so now it's lopsided. We've got it braced with cement blocks. My husband says to get rid of it but I say if you can still sit on it it's still a bench & it's a keeper!

You can get plants through here & other gardening sites for postage. Also check on places like freecycle or craig's list. Look in your area for plant swaps or garden club sells. Is there a college nearby with a horticulture department? Advertise you will help elderly gardeners by doing the physical work in exchange for plants.
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Old 06-06-2009, 12:00 PM
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Yes, it is heartbreaking to see how much waste comes from some of the big box businesses. I was at my local Home Depot and asked if they had any reduced plants for sale. I was told that they don't reduce any plants because they can get credit for them and just throw them away. What a waste!! That's why I choose Lowes to shop at. Seems to me their policy makes better sense, when it comes to plants. I've gotten some good discounted bargains.

The best place I have found for free/cheap plants is from generous gardeners, especially during fall cleanup.
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:42 PM
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Here is another idea of how to get free or cheap plants that I previously posted under another thread but thought it too would be some good advice to share.
I wanted to share a tip with everyone that worked really well for me.
I live an a community where the Home Owners Association hires a professional gardening company to keep the common areas mowed, clean and mulched. This company is also responsible for planting annuals, perennials and bulbs in areas like the entrances of the community and sitting areas through out the community.
To get on with my story / tip. The other day, I noticed the gardening company was replacing the beds by one of the main entrances. The beds were filled with blue and yellow annuals. Scattered throughout the annuals, I noticed the dying leaves of tulips that had bloomed and were now withered. The men were tossing everything (annuals and tulips) into the back of their dump truck. So I asked if I could take the tulip bulbs. They said OK and even helped me collect them. When I was all done, I finished up with over 200 tulip bulbs. Needless to say I gave the foreman a $10 tip for him and the men to get a cold drink. They were happy and so was I.
I washed off the dirt and dried the bulbs, which took me a while. Then I divided the batch of bulbs with two of my daughters for their homes and kept some for myself and stored them properly for the fall. I am not sure what colors they will be when they bloom but it should look nice regardless.
So my suggestion is that if you live in or near a community where there are professional gardeners, keep your eyes open to see if they are changing up the beds with something that you can use at home. After all, they will just be throwing it away and you will be giving the plants a second chance at life.
Steve
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:33 PM
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working an outreach ministry when super well and a few years back


I wanted and needed some flowers and meijers guy said he has to smash them adn wreck them nd i couldnt even get them from store dumpster they have to be all destroyed, I just do not understand this at all,, its a terrible waste of life, and it seems too evil deliberate on the part of these big stores, you dont help lives better that way, you destroy our environment and deprive many of the joys simple joys in life,? I dont like going there , I didnt realize all the stores have the same destructive mentality,, its terrible and very destructive message to pass on, if you dont get sold you are useless and will be destroyed, and will not be salvaged,, so much for the green planet? Its too bad greed has to have gotten that way, I guess I need to not utilize all the places who wrecklessly destroy goods,, in this manner,, blessings,Beth Lets all do what we can to pass along rather than destroy our seeds and plants and flowers and cuttings,and unwanted items,,
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Old 06-12-2009, 11:04 AM
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Free gardening 'stuff'


I've been watching these last few weeks as an old grain and elevator was torn down, always with the idea, of course, that there might be something to salvage. Well, finally, a few days ago the owners sent the big bull dozer and front-end loader in to tear up the concrete ramps, etc. It took me a coupld of days to get it, but finally I had a brainstorm I called the # on the For Sale sign and learned that they no longer owned it, but the person on the phone advised me to get as many 'rocks' as I wanted. So I got a 'load' in my little Suburu Forester, but it was enough to encircle my shade garden at the foot of my walnut tree. Oh, I forgot to mention, they look like limestone rocks an THEY WERE FREE!!!!


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Old 06-12-2009, 02:46 PM
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Hi bhscarlett,
Sorry to hear about your misadventure with the store. fi I were a betting man, I would have bet that you went to Home Depot, because in dealing with them in the past, I too have come across a similar situation with them. Needless to say, I no longer go to any Home Depot because of the way they treat their customers. I now shop at Lowe's Home Improvement. They are much nicer to their customers and do offer items on clearance.
Don't get discouraged by this minor set back. There are plenty of good people and stores that do the right thing! Have a great day!
Steve
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:50 PM
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That's the way to do things, Shirley!
With one or two phone calls, you were able to get some wonderful looking stones that help to beautify your tree. You are a girl after my own heart!
Keep up the good work,
Steve
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Old 07-02-2009, 01:38 AM
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Got to be careful bringing plants to your home from a business or church, you can introduce new bacteria and insects to your home and soil.
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Old 07-02-2009, 09:33 AM
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A thread after my own cheap heart!

I too have had a lot of luck with getting plants on the cheap from gardeners and from Lowe's.

I've recieved cuttings of curly willow for the asking from a lovely lady up the road; started weeping willows this spring from a large branch that had fallen beside the road from a large tree. Have a hedge of rose of sharon and another of perennial hibiscus, both started from seeds swapped or given by friends and neighbors. Got permission from the owner of a piece of property nearby to dig some of the daffodils growing rampant in the woods and have a ring of gold around the perimeter of a large bed each spring.

Lowe's is good for not only sale plants for the yard, I've found some good bargains on houseplants too. Picked up a couple of chinese evergreens and a bucket of sanseveria for $1 each because the pots were damaged and they were about to restock with summer stuff. Got a couple of small 'firesticks' pencil cactus for a nickel because the pot had been knocked over and most of the dirt knocked out. Also have picked up pieces of succulents near their cactus and succulent rack and asked the employees permission to take them--I've always been told to go right ahead.

And they all look so happy growing at my house!
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Old 07-02-2009, 05:01 PM
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I can attest to Lowes Discount indoor plants. I have several hundred dollars worth of discounted plants... total cost to me.. less then 30 bucks.

If it's wilted badly, if its dropped its flowers (orchids in particular) if it has been dropped or has damage.. even if it isn't on the discount rack.. ASK. I've two 15 dollar retail orchids... no flowers.. they were 50 cents each. African Violets... bloomed out, they were 9, got them for 2. Now.. these plants may be a bit difficult to heal up (Lowes orchids are notorious for bad roots) but at worst, the little bonsai pots they come in are worth the 50 cents. A badly overgrown clump of authuniums that was selling for 35 dollars.. 5 bucks. Someone had forgotten to water it. Just look around and you'll find something you like.
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Old 07-03-2009, 08:23 AM
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They would rather "trash " it


The town I live in the local Walmarts would rather trash the plants than for some one to take them, marigolds hanging full of seeds . TRASH What is wrong with these people.....
I also have a friend whos husband wants to "Replant " her flower beds when they look rough from a dry spell , I have went to her house and dug up whole flower beds brought them home went through the rubble and came out with things he had left from digging up and replanting !!! It was well worth the sweat ! Just always listen, one persons trash is another persons treasure !!Also if you have a local flea market right before people start to leave they will almost give stuff away ... Got 18 gerber dasies for $5.00 Also other plants 2 for $1.00..My friend and I like to scope these sellers out when we first get to the flea market ask them about how long will you be here? They say 1:00 we are back at 12:45 waiting on the mark downs !!
Have a wonderful weekend, and happy planting...
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Old 07-03-2009, 08:53 AM
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Going thru the trash...


I stopped yesterday at the little nursery where I buy produce and my roses, and they had just pulled out their stock that had been beat to death by the sun. I noticed in the trailer where they were dumping the stuff that there was a dahlia or two. I carried one to checkout, happened to get the owner, and asked her if I could go thru her trash. She looked suspicious, but since I'm a good customer, she said 'well okay' and handed me a box. She told me to get what I wanted and take them directly to my car. I only went for dahlias, but I got 8 or 9 that I will be able to nurse back to health and have nice plants next year. Free. For nothing.
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