Sprucing up gardens at minimal cost

Spring is in the air. April showers bring May flowers though this year it will probably be April snow storms.

Spring is in the air.

April showers bring May flowers though this year it will probably be April snow storms.

Sooner or later spring will be here and the snow will disappear. Looking around your yard may need some help to look its best.

Plants are always a good option. Here are some great ideas to spruce up your garden and keep your spending in check.

When it comes to plants try to use more perennials as they grow for at least two years. Using annuals that have to be bought over and over seems a waste.

One trick when buying new varieties for the garden is to separate one pot into two or three.

Often when plants are bound together in one pot for resale you can separate them.

Remove them from the pot and use a saw or a knife to cut through the root ball, plant right away and they should be just fine.

Also remember that plants will grow and spread out do not fill in every inch of space.

Stop in at your local nursery. Since they are locally owned and operated they do not have shipping costs added into the prices.

Check out a plant exchange if your community has one. These work the same as a clothing swap. For those people who are just starting out this is a wonderful place to go for knowledge and gardening tips.

People are more than willing to share what they know.

Look for end of season sales. Most retailers offer huge discounts as to get rid of their remaining stock. Be careful to pick out healthy looking plants. Stop back in at the greenhouse as well.

They also have good bargains and sometimes free plants that would just end up in their compost pile if they do not sell.

Talk to your friend and neighbours ask if they have any plant divisions that they may be chucking out.

Get cuttings and start your own plants. Get the kids involved and let them grow their own little gardens in an indoor window box.

A way to help reduce costs is to look at drought tolerant plants. They require a minimal amount of water and less attention.

Giving you more time to sit back and enjoy your hard work.

These plants grow well in rocky and poor soil conditions.

This is a good starter plant variety especially for someone who does not have a green thumb.

One example is the coneflower species they have blooms in many shapes and colours. They are also self seeding, meaning they will spread out every year on their own.

Other drought plants are ornamental grasses, day lilies and blue and creeping phlox.

Use other reclaimed items as well. Try using rocks from your yard for a border. Be inventive and have fun.

Take your time the perfect yard does not have to be done overnight. Do a little bit each year. Gardening/landscaping is supposed to be fun and a way to unwind.

Enjoy being outdoors winter will be back soon enough.

Sandra Nolan is a freelance writer from Rocky Mountain House. Her column appears every other week in LIFE. Contact her at slnolan@xplornet.com