By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America
In The Budget-Wise Gardener (St. Lynn’s Press), author Kerry Ann Mendez offers a number of ways to build your gardens without emptying your wallet. Her publisher has given us permission to excerpt a small portion of the book here. This is from a section called “6 Tips for Shopping Garden Centers.” You’ll want to get the book to learn the rest of the tips and to peruse Mendez’s tips for shopping mail order as well.
- Sign up for gardening newsletters and customer rewards programs. Benefits include early notices about sales and events as well as weekly specials. Rewards programs vary, but all extend some financial incentive for shopping at their business.
- Ask! Don’t be shy about asking for a discount on less-than-ideal looking plants. But don’t ask for free plants! This rubs most staff the wrong way. Garden centers are a business, not a charity. Instead, ask if they would consider a percentage off the price or perhaps sell two for the price of one.
- ‘’Rescue me.” With the new emphasis on greener living and protecting the environment, you can become a “Plant Rescuer.” This certainly sounds better than “dumpster diver.” You might politely ask a manager if you could “save” plants that were going to be thrown away because they were not up to the garden center’s standard. The time and staff effort required to nurse these plans back to retail-ready shape doesn’t make financial sense. You could offer a flat fee to save these plants – or a tray of fresh-baked cookies.
I’ve been known to go to the back of a garden center where the sale plants live. Some are marked down because they’re done blooming, but a good perennial will return next year. – PW
How are you Budget-Wise in your garden?