1. Free Plants and Seeds
Flower gardeners are a generous bunch, and most people love to share their plant and seed materials with other gardeners, especially ones who are new to the fold! There are several ways you can get hooked up with plant or seed swaps to find free flowers to start your garden:
2. Free Compost
3. Free Mulch
Have you ever noticed a utility truck lifting a worker in a cherry picker up into the trees, allowing him to cut branches that threaten power lines? After all the trimming is done, the worker feeds these branches into a chipper, and then the company may have to pay a fee to dump these chips at the city’s waste management facility. Landscape companies and arborists face similar dilemmas when removing dead or nuisance trees from homeowners’ gardens.
In many cities, you can ask these companies to dump their wood chips on your driveway, where you can use them as free mulch for your flowerbeds. There are a couple of caveats to be aware of here:
- This mulch isn’t the pretty stuff; it may contain thorns and greenery
- Uncomposted wood chips may attract wasps or ants
- You must wear elbow-length gloves to avoid potential contact with poison ivy
4. Cheap Garden Supplies
Estate sales are a fun way to get a peek into the way some people live their lives, and they are an opportunity for collectors and hobbyists to pay a dime on the dollar for gently used items. You will commonly find all kinds of flower gardening items at estate sales. After all, every homeowner needs a few basic tools to maintain his plot of land, and these are sold when the estate is liquidated.
Even if you don’t need another shovel or pair of pruning shears, look for unique pottery items, gardening books, and even live potted plants. If you’re lucky, you’ll hit the sale of an avid flower gardener and pick up a cold frame or potting bench. Go early on the first day of the sale to snatch up hot items that sell quickly, and go on the last day of the sale for the 50% off specials. You may never pay full price again!