TLC in the garden...it pays off!

Hello All-

I am getting some MAJOR spring fever here in snowy Calgary, so I thought I'd do a garden post to help quench my plant withdrawals!

I want to introduce you to the newest member of my dining room garden collection...a small bonsai tree.  I bought this little guy from Lowes on the Clearance rack.  I think I paid a whopping $3.00 for it!  When I first purchased it, it was bare and without many leaves...I wish I had a photo.  I showed it to the hubby, and he just shook his head.  He's used to me bringing home nearly dead plants.  In my mind, the pot it came in was worth more than the $3.00 it cost, and I was happy to have avoided the original price of $19.99 they were asking for the healthy ones.

Now look at it!  A bit of water and some south-facing sun, and it looks good as new!  I am so excited that this gamble paid off. 

If you ever find yourself in the garden center looking through some discounted plants, there are a few things you need to ask yourself before buying any of them:

  1. Why are they marked down? In some cases, the plant is fine but the pot is cracked.  That's an easy fix.  We also bought some awesome outdoor plants for 50 cents each last year when a frost hit Home Depot and they didn't know if the plants would make it...they were beautiful in our garden!
  2. If the flowers have passed and they marked the plant down, is it one that will come back again next year?  If so, take a chance!  Plant it now for color next year!  If it won't come back or you're not sure...pass on it.  If you're looking for green stuff to clutter your garden without providing any color...I've got some weeds I can sell you! 
  3. Is the plant simply looking for some sun and water?  Feel the branches...do they bend or snap.  Pass on any snapping branches.  They are too far gone.  If they still have some bend to them, they can likely be saved.  Bring them home, give them a good soaking and some TLC and they should bounce back.
  4. And finally, is the discounted price worth taking a chance?  When I buy on clearance, it has to be a "too good to be true" deal.  As I said, my bonsai was supposed to cost $19.99...I paid $3.00.  If they marked it down to $10.00, I would have passed...simply because I wouldn't have paid that for the salvageable pot.  Outdoor filler plants for 50 cents...sold!  Any more than that, and you're better off buying the full priced ones that you know will grow.
I hope that helps to give some insight when purchasing less than stellar garden plants.  With spring here, but the snow still falling, now is the time to check out your local chain stores for deals.  In many cases, their corporate buyers have already sent the spring flowers to the stores, but they can't put them outside yet.  You can score some fantastic deals!!  Also, if it warms up and then we get another flurry...run to your local garden center.  They'll be slashing prices on their droopy plants. 

Finally, with Easter right around the corner, start stalking your grocery stores for lilies.  The day after Easter, they will all get marked down.  Buy all that you can, enjoy them inside for a bit, and when the flowers die off, let the bulbs dry out and store them.  You won't have lilies this year in your garden, but you can plant them in the fall for beautiful color next year and a fraction of the price!

Happy Planting and Happy Spring!


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