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Chicago526
04-11-2006, 04:53 PM
It's our first year in our own single family home. I want to put flowers in the flower bed in front, along one side, and in the back.

Buying flats of flowers and just transplanting is easy (I watched my parents do this, heck I helped!) and they usually "take" and grow nicely. But it gets real expensive, real fast for the amount of space I want to fill in.

Seeds are very cheap, but I've never started flowers from seeds. How difficult is this and is it worth whatever extra effort it might take. Target had a lovely seed collection when I looked last week.

We're going to have to spend a lot of money this year just getting the soil in shape for the flowers (landscaping was neglected for several year prior to our buying the home) so I won't have a lot in the budget to spend on plants themselves.

Any ideas are welcome! :flower3:

Chickysmom
04-11-2006, 04:59 PM
You might want to check out the freebie threads for some free sample packs of flower seeds! Not sure how well these do, but heck, free seems like a cheap investment!

jennifer293
04-11-2006, 05:04 PM
My MIL owns a horse boarding business so she has plenty of "POO" and she has always started her seeds in a pile of "POO" and she has some of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen. So if you know how you can get your hands on some manure for free that should be an easier route to getting them started. You can buy bags of it at Lowe's I believe but I think it is kinda pricey..

When we moved into our house we had nothing but red clay for dirt and very little grass, so we got trailer load after trailer load of "POO" and sprinkled grass seed on it and it grew in sooooo fast and sooooo thick we have to mow it about every 4-5 days or so to keep it down at a reasonable length.

It smelled REAL NICE out here for a few weeks.. :rotfl2: Luckily my nearest neighbor is a far away from us.

Chicago526
04-11-2006, 05:06 PM
Several horse farms in the area do have free manure, but I don't think my neighbors would appreciate that....but thanks for the tip!

Edited to add: Oh, but I guess we wouldn't need as much as what you had! Maybe it would work, I'll ask DH, he grew up in the country and knows all about poop!

Chickysmom
04-11-2006, 05:11 PM
Maybe you could get some manure for free and mix it into your soil to add nutirents, which will get things growing nicely. Doing this is does not have as bad of a smell as using manure only...and it only last a little while anyway.

vanyel
04-11-2006, 05:17 PM
A lot of flowers wouldn't like straight horse or cow manure - it can burn delicate plants.

You might think about perinnials. Do you have any gardening friends that could divide some plants for you?

If you live near me - I've got some hostas I could share ;)

Chickysmom
04-11-2006, 05:26 PM
Things like Shasta Daisies grow like crazy and people are always thinning them out of their beds. Or ask some friends/neighbors to divide some bulbs for you too! they are not instant color, but just wait til fall or next spring, what a surprise!

Hannathy
04-11-2006, 05:41 PM
If you have sun think marigolds. very very easy to start from seed, it's usually what we give kids to grow. You can even get the cheap seeds at the dollar store(4 for a dollar or cheaper) and they will grow. If shade get some impatiens and leave space between the plants they will spread and grow into big clumps and then you will have clumps of color and can mulch between them and end up with a lot of color for little money and a pretty garden. Have Fun

Grumpy's Gal
04-11-2006, 07:01 PM
I have a friend who moved to another state a few years back. She emailed all of us and told us that she missed us and said she wanted to start a friendship garden -- would we all send her our favorite flower packet of seeds or some bulbs etc.

We all sent her something -- I sent her bulbs from my garden. They arrived fine and she planted everything. She has a great garden now.

Grumpy's Gal
04-11-2006, 07:05 PM
you also might want to post this over on the gardening board -- might be some people who live near who would be willing to share when they divide their existing plants.

pamouselover
04-11-2006, 07:32 PM
I want through the same thing a couple years ago. I made a flower bed along our wooden fence.It is a very big fence that outlines are back yard, but faces the street.
I first started out with a lilic bush,Purple coneflower's, lavender and some Liatris's. I have over the last four years purchased some more perennials, but I usally get flowers from friends.If I see something growing at a friends house I like, I ask for a peice of it.
I bought two new plants every year and after four years I still have spots, but it's looking full, like a english garden.
My favorites I have growing are the bee-blam and Black eyed susans! They both do great,and mulitipy quick.Coreopsis is great too, It takes over your garden.
If you think you would like to do perennials in your garden, let me know.
I could try and ship some peices of a few flowers to you! :rose: :daisy: :flower1: :flower:

clh2
04-11-2006, 07:49 PM
Just a couple of thoughts for you.

There are several nurseries around Milwaukee that "blow" there annuals out for cheaply starting around Father's day. If you can hold out that long, you can still find some nice ones, and they will bloom the rest of the summer!

I also agree with the poster who suggested starting a perennial garden. It'll just keep growing year after year. Most nurseries also start to mark those down in mid-july.

My DD wanted to start her own perennial garden last year, and while we were out and about, we ended up passing a bunch of signs that said "perennials". This was a sale at someones house. Apparently they had been doing this for years, they divide up their perennials every mid-May, and sell them. We got tons of stuff for about $30. An advantage here was - you know the stuff will last through the winter.

Spread the word at your work - that if anyone is dividing up perennials, to let you know! You would be surprised that some people might just through out, because they don't know could use some of their plants.

AlaskaMOM
04-11-2006, 07:50 PM
You didn't say if it was a sunny, shady or both. But since sunny or part sunny is the norm, that's what I'll go with. I'd start with a few GOOD perennnials like daisy, brown-eyed susans, cone flowers, veronic, or achillea. Then I'd buy just a few "clumps of annuals to fill in big empty space. Lastly I'd sprinkle seed around all the beds. I'd use a wildflower mix OR any of these will grow easily and reproduce themselves: bachelor buttons (centaura), oriental poppy (not golden they're a little more difficult), sunflower (dwarf varieties), alyssum, lobelia, violet.
Also have you thought about putting in an herb garden? You could easily incorporate one into a flower bed.
Good luck and have fun!!

Plantlady
04-11-2006, 07:58 PM
We are just in our second year at our house, so, I understand where you are coming from. Perhaps there is a freecycle in your area, people give away perenials on my local freecycle.

Seeds are very easy to grow, just keep them misted. Don't let them dry out, and they will do great. Follow the back of the package for the best time to plant them. You can also start them inside, and transplant them, just like you do the flats you are familiar with. (I have a window seat currently filled with seeds myself).

Chicago526
04-11-2006, 10:04 PM
It's the east, north, and west side of our house we're working with this year. The south side we are planting lilac bushes, but not until we move our a/c unit, it's going on that side and we don't want to plant bushes until we know exactly where we are putting it.

I figured impatients for the north side, they do great in shade. Sounds like they'll do okay from seed, so I'll give it a shot. I also wanted to plant some rose bushes (I love roses, they're my fav! :goodvibes ) so I'll be sure to incorperate those. I'll check at work to see if anyone divides out flowers to fill in some spots. And we can afford a few flats, so that will help. I was planing on an herb garden, I didn't think to mix them with flowers, that's an interesting idea.

Thanks so much for all of your suggestions! Can't wait for the end of May, when it's finally safe to start planting outdoors in NE Illinois!

pamouselover
04-11-2006, 10:26 PM
:rose: Roses need a lot of TLC, and well drained soil,mulch and more TLC!
I love roses also, and Have a couple planted in a row. I also have a mini rose bush.
impatients love the water...the more more water the bigger they will grow.
impatients can also be planted in the full sun, as long as you water them at night.I know new guinea impatients are for sun, but all impatients can be plant in sun if given enough water.
impatients are my favorite annual! :)
If you plan on starting them by seed, you might want to get on that ASAP.
I already have ones growing, along with veggies.
It takes a good month and a half before they are ready to go in the ground.
You might be better, getting the bed ready and buying some mircle grow soil in the bags, and starting the seeds in the bed ASAP.
Up here in north PA., they have annuals out already. :confused3
I dont plant anything till after Mother's day, unless I can bring it in the house. :rolleyes2
Frost was on my car this morning! :furious:

swilshire
04-12-2006, 05:39 AM
Check your local schools for greenhouses. Two nearby highschools here sell plants for $7 a flat. They are very healthy. We usually buy vegetables, but they actually have more flowers.

We also found a greenhouse at a school for the handicapped last year that had very good prices on plants.

Sheila

snowwite
04-12-2006, 07:13 AM
[QUOTE=Chicago526]It's our first year in our own single family home. I want to put flowers in the flower bed in front, along one side, and in the back.

Buying flats of flowers and just transplanting is easy (I watched my parents do this, heck I helped!) and they usually "take" and grow nicely. But it gets real expensive, real fast for the amount of space I want to fill in.

Seeds are very cheap, but I've never started flowers from seeds. How difficult is this and is it worth whatever extra effort it might take. Target had a lovely seed collection when I looked last week.

We're going to have to spend a lot of money this year just getting the soil in shape for the flowers (landscaping was neglected for several year prior to our buying the home) so I won't have a lot in the budget to spend on plants themselves.


My mom planted some wildflowers.We dug up a bunch on side of road.They grow fast and are pretty.

hsmamato2
04-12-2006, 08:40 AM
also keep this in mind, you said a large part of your budget will go to making the soil workable, that honestly should be your lowest cost of all, amend the soil with rabbit,horse,chicken or cow poo, which can be gotten for free in many places,also rake upi last years leaves, run your mower over them and mix them inot the soil, this is the best compost I've ever tried,and it's free- I don't spend any money on commercial growing products, i hate chemicals anyway- and it's not cost effective- my gardens always grow well with free soil amenders- you can contact your local agricultural college or state run place,they'll give you tips for growing in your area-
I like to buy the small inexpensive flowers, mix annuals which bloom a lot, but only last a season with perrenials which don't bloom as long but last for years-
check anyplace that will let you dig up pretty stuff and haul it home and plant it- it pays to know what flowers grow where,i.e. sun or shade-
freecycle is great

ajksmom
04-12-2006, 08:40 AM
Besides asking friends/family to divide some plants to share with you -
Check with any local garden clubs - the ones around here have sales scattered over the 1st 3 weeks in May and you can get things really cheap!! Great big pots of perennials, flats of annuals, even small bushes sometimes!!
Also, local churches and senior centers often have them as well. Senior centers are the best, you find lots of good solid performing "oldies" being sold. Keep your eyes peeled for ads in the newspaper, or signs by the roadside.
Here in CT we have a regional farmers market thats HUGE. During the month of may they also have flowers, shrubs, and trees. BIG bargains there. If you have something similar in your area, plan on going early - I've got to be there before 5am to get decent parking and the best deals!
Good luck, been there, done what you've got ahead of you. It'll be beautiful.

budbeerlady
04-12-2006, 08:54 AM
I would suggest perennials. I have a very limited outdoor flower budget and went 100% perennials now. A local nusery by us has HUGE memorial day and labor day sales with things for cheap. So I stocked up on the items I wanted to buy then. For example I got 1 gallon containers of Sedum for $1 as some one had planted verigated and non-verigated together and they were a huge mix up. (I dont care its in my back yard and I bought 4 of them. All planted by each other it looks all right. ) I buy daylilys in different colors for about $3 there. Daylilys are awesome space takers, easy to grow. And I split mine each spring, free flowers! (Maybe a friend or neighbor would split theirs for you) I have some dwarf ones by the walk way and full size ones around my birdbath. Most of mine are yellow as my pinks just arent as old yet. The rest of my back yard border is done with daiseys, black eyes susans, purple coneflowers and indian blanket. (I love the indian blanket, as long as you dead head it, this thing flowers all summer and well into fall. ) I also have some sea grass and rose of sharon in the back.

On the well shaded north side of my home I grow a couple of bleeding hearts. They get huge! And I split them every spring. I had origionally bought 2 for $5 each 5 years ago, now i have 5 going on the side of the house. (My mom has been taking my splits home)

The front of my home is more of a mix. The flower bed by my front door has dwarf day lilys, purple and pink columbine, more daiseys and coneflowers. Then along the front of my house I have it more landscaped. I have a dwarf weeping mulberry tree I found for $20. And I wanted a couple of spiral shaped greens next to my front door. I will not pay $75 each for them, so I looked at the tag on the ones at walmart. Bought the exact same size and varitey and just did it myself. It wasnt had to do. Tie a ribbon to the top of the tree, spiral it around and tie it off on the bottam of the tree. If you like how it looks start cutting where the ribbon isnt down to the trunk. Its easier than you would think (I saw it on HGTV a long time ago) and they just need to be trimmed up a little in spring after the new growth comes it. I think the 2 trees cost me $20 total.

Everything in my yard is woodchipped, it cuts down on the weeding and watering. And I just think it looks nice. Even a circle around each of the trees and magnolias.


Have fun, be creative and if you dont like how it looks determine what you want to change and move. It can be done rather cheap.

WE use Poo for our beds and my mom got me all the blanket, coneflower, blackeyed susans, and daiseys for $1-2 each off a wagon in front of a greennhouse up the road from them. My pink daylilys came from a local flea market.

hsmamato2
04-12-2006, 09:04 AM
Besides asking friends/family to divide some plants to share with you -
Check with any local garden clubs - the ones around here have sales scattered over the 1st 3 weeks in May and you can get things really cheap!! Great big pots of perennials, flats of annuals, even small bushes sometimes!!
Also, local churches and senior centers often have them as well. Senior centers are the best, you find lots of good solid performing "oldies" being sold. Keep your eyes peeled for ads in the newspaper, or signs by the roadside.
Here in CT we have a regional farmers market thats HUGE. During the month of may they also have flowers, shrubs, and trees. BIG bargains there. If you have something similar in your area, plan on going early - I've got to be there before 5am to get decent parking and the best deals!
Good luck, been there, done what you've got ahead of you. It'll be beautiful.
Also in Ct- where is your best pick for markets for this stuff? thanks

YachtClubWoman
04-12-2006, 09:30 AM
I never buy flowers at Home Depot or Lowe's or high end gardening centers.

I use coupon's at local nurserys and we have a farm market near us that has a plant auction every week. See if you have a local place that does this.

I get the best buys and don't spend a fortune. I have filled flower beds in the front of my house, down the side of the front yard, beds in the back and many container gardens.

I visist the high end centers to get my ideas, read tags on care, etc. I learned it all by trial and error (we bought our house in 1999. Hard work but fun and the house looks great.

Lisa in PA

ajksmom
04-12-2006, 10:58 AM
hsmamato 2,
I'm up in coventry, where are you?
The regional farmers market is in hartford off the airport rd exit. Best of all for both having quite a variety and good prices. You can haggle with the individual places, get them to throw you a deal. If you go, go EARLY. We've arrived as early as 4am and beat some of the dealers there, but we got good parking so we didn't trudge too far with our purchases. Also, bring a wagon or something so you don't make soo many trips to the car. Seriously, go early.
Gotta fly to my DS's conference. PM me if you have any other questions.
See ya

mickeyluv'r
04-12-2006, 04:26 PM
Here are my tips:

BE patient. Many plants take time. Plants that look sparse the first year, can take off the next. I have a lenten rose that took three years, but this year it was gorgeous!

Pansies are a cheap investment. Sometimes they even come back the next year. From a distance they look really colorful and pretty.

IF you don't have any srubs, I'd really suggest a few. They can be inexpensive and really add some nice green around the house.

I find that I don't need to prep whole beds - just the area where I want to put plants. Prepping too large of an area just encourages weeds. If you use mulch, it will break down over the year, and by the next year, it will really improve the area. I find that the Miracle Grow topsoil is worth the money. Mix a little of that in the area you want to plant along with last year's decomposed mulch, and you have a nice area.

Anything you buy may or may not do well. If they die, then you've wasted the money. I find I have better luck from local garden centers than mailorder, but I do order a few things from Johnny's seeds. I also find that exotics sometimes work and sometimes don't, but common things like pansies and mums almost never fail.

Also, I strongly suggest planting a few herbs in your garden: Basil, oregano, and in a container ONLY - spearmint. Clip them early, and keep the plants low. Do not allow the basil to flower (keep trimming the tops). They really add a lot of flavor to cooking, and I think they can be quite attractive in the garden. You'll find you can make quite a few simple dishes in the summer with that are really fantastic! One of our favorites is baked chicken with calamata olives, olive oil, grape tomatoes, and fresh basil (add the basil after the dish is done cooking). Start the chicken in olive oil. Meanwhile marinate the olives and tomato with alittle balsamic vinegar. Add the olives and tomato halfway through - coat everthing with oil (Stir everything up). Let the dish cool for about ten minutes before you serve it with a little salt and pepper. So simple, so yummy.

StephMK
04-12-2006, 05:03 PM
Another option is your local craigslist.com. I've seen ads around here for free flowers if you split theirs or some split & sell them cheaply. I only plant perennials because it's just simpler & they come back better year after year. Last year, I got a bunch of half dead perennials in mid-July from Lowes for $1 each. I planted, watered & promptly forgot about them. This year they are coming back & look great!

My motto to plants is - once you're planted, you're pretty much on your own so only the strong survive in my gardens! :)

geetey
04-12-2006, 08:16 PM
Check out this article from MSN... http://realestate.msn.com/lawns/Article.aspx?cp-documentid=409676

I think we are going to try the Free Plants & Trees website they mention in the article. ( http://www.freetreesandplants.com/index.html )

Personally I have had horrid luck with starting flowers with seeds when I do it inside. The tiny plants will sprout and then develop some mold or just wither away. I have tried water less, I have tried watering more, I have tried more sun, less sun, etc... I have gone to the realization that I need to just throw the seeds in the ground and hope for the best or purchase the plants.

I have found that I can get a lot more flowers from the hanging baskets at places like Walmart ($5.99 for a hanging basket of impatiens) and I can break those into smaller clumps for planting. I don't go for the fancy expensive baskets - look for healthy cheap baskets. With good care, those spread, grow and put on a nice show. :)

Another thought since you are just getting started out. If you really want color, but want to save some $$, skip the annuals in your beds this year. Put a couple of pots out front as your color while you work on your beds. We moved here in July and that's what I did since I didn't know what we wanted.

kritter
04-12-2006, 10:47 PM
I have gone to the farmers market in CT it is awesome and CHEAP!! must get there early toooo.......