Frugal gardening

As I mentioned previously, I’m TRYING to add to my flower gardens this year by starting plants from seeds, instead of buying ‘starts’ or bigger ‘potted’ plants.  I have a LOT of area to cover and since I’m ‘just a renter’ I’d like to keep the expenses to a minimum.

Although I did ‘splurge a little’ last year and bought about a dozen gallon perennials (on sale of course!) to give my front garden a bit of a ‘jump start’.  Since I moved here the end of June though, it was close to the end of July before I was settled in enough to start ‘decorating’ the outside.  I KNEW it was really ‘too late in the season’ to get much out of them last summer; BUT they put me AHEAD of the gardening game THIS year. With a fair number of big established plants, I don’t mind starting the rest from seed.


All too quickly my ‘thrifted stash’ of the little pulp starter pots was used up.  I found a ‘few’ more at Dollar Tree; 10-packs of the little 2.5″ pots; but not nearly enough to plant all the rest of the seeds I had.


HINT:  Do NOT try using the cardboard egg cartons to start seeds in.  They will fall apart almost INSTANTLY when they get wet.  Yep!  I learned that one the HARD way.

Next on my list of things to try was TP roll I decided to try to make some of my own.  I had seen where the TP rolls were made into pots by cutting slits and folding the slits in to create a base, like this:


But I wasn’t confident that the dirt wouldn’t just ‘fall out’ when you picked it up?!?!  So, I nixed that idea and came up with my own.


I cut my TP rolls in half; paper towel rolls can be cut into fifths.


I actually use a small square of paper towel in the bottom of my ‘store bought’ pots to prevent the soil from falling through the hole; so I knew that it would hold up.  For the TP pot bottoms I used 1/2 of a ‘select-a-size’ paper towel; folded into fourths.

Then stapled the four corners to the TP roll.  HINT:  The ‘cut end’ of your TP roll half MIGHT pull away when it gets wet.  I just try to be sure that I use the cut end for the BOTTOM where I attach the paper towel; but with paper towel rolls you will have TWO cut ends.  In that case I just added another staple at that second cut end.

P1270074THEN, after spending a LOT of time stapling paper towels to the TP rolls; I decided to re-think the ‘folded ends’ option.  BUT, I added slits to the last two folds to interlock them to prevent the bottom from falling out when handled.  I have NOT yet had time to ‘test’ this method though.  The paper towel method holds up very well, and I have transplanted several of those.


The BACK side of my place is the most ‘daunting’ area to tackle.  I live in a duplex and in the back, the two units ‘run together’ and visually appear to be a single unit.  I added some big concrete stepping stones in the middle where the faucet is so I don’t have to get muddy every time I use the hose; but visually, it STILL looks like a ‘single canvas’.  The designer in me felt compelled to plant the ‘whole area’ as if it were one; and my neighbor gave me permission to do whatever I wanted.

This big area is going to need some BIG plants.  Since it faces west, it gets the hottest sun of the day, so that instantly limited my plant options to those that like full sun.  As with the front garden area, I wanted to plant perennials so as to not have to plant again every year.

The Delphiniums I planted at the trellises you see in the above photo just were NOT ‘coming up’; and I found a GREAT deal on bare root roses.  I dug up the Delphiniums and replanted them in the front; and moved the Japanese Holly (between the trellises) closer to the patios on both sides . . . to make room for the roses.


It was late afternoon on a Saturday and my doorbell rang.  I opened the door to find a 4′ tall box waiting for me.  What IS this?!?! Holey smokes!!!  It was my ROSES!!  HUGE bare root roses.  Ten of them.  I had ordered ONE bare root rose from the nursery that I bought my strawberries (also bare root) from; and that one was about the size of my pinky finger.  So the enormity of these (especially for the BARGAIN price I had paid!!) was quite a surprise.

The only ‘bad thing’ about this order was that I couldn’t tell which ones where which color?!?!  I had ordered two ‘sets’ so that I could plant them to ‘match’ on each side of the back of the unit, so I really NEEDED to know what colors the were.  I searched the website for the nursery that I ordered them from, to no avail.  Each start WAS labeled with the NAME of the rose; (Sunset surprise. True Love etc) so I did a ‘general search’ on the internet for those names to find out what colors they were.  NOW I was ready to plant them.


This area is a bit of a ‘challenge’ to plant as there are underground wires that run right down the middle!?!?  sigh.  So I planted the roses towards the back, close to the unit.  Those are ever-bearing strawberry plants, two rows of them, closer to the front.  I don’t remember which color rose I planted where (off the top of my head that is)  but I planted them so each side will ‘mirror’ the other side.  So, instead of planting them “1-2-3-4-5” and the other side the same order “1-2-3-4-5”.  I planted them “1-2-3-4-5” and “5-4-3-2-1”.  In my MIND they will look better in that order.  I hope the reality matches!


Can you believe how BIG these starts are?!?!  I got them from Springhill Nursery; via a special offer I got in the mail.  It was called a ‘Rainbow of Roses’ 5 bare root plants for $19.99.  And you could DOUBLE the offer for just $37.99.  You can’t even buy ONE potted rose-bush for that price!  The colors they sent me are Red, Pink, dark yellow, Peach, and Deep Purple.

A few days after I had planted the roses, and while I was pondering what to plant in front of / between them; I found a bag of ten peony starts at Costco for $19.99.  It’s going to be SO pretty when they all finally bloom.  I’m not expecting much in the way of blooms this year, but next year should be spectacular!!


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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It’s going to be beautiful! Wish you were MY neighbor!!

  2. OMGosh ! Can’t wait to see your garden this summer.. 🌸🌻🌺

  3. some people use egg shells for seed-starters–would that work for you? What a difference you’ve made in your yard!!!

    • The egg shells are a little small; AND I worry that the squirrels will dig them up! aj

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