That’s me, the tightwad gardener. It’s not that I don’t spend some treasure on plants and garden stuff, because I do. It’s that the garden is of a size and diversity now after eleven plus years of blood, sweat, tears and broken fingernails that there are other options besides buying when it comes to adding to the zoo or sprucing up the hardscape. (Above shot taken May 1, 2011.)
Use, reuse and reuse again and again and again can be spoken of rocks and stones. The original stone purchase for the front facade of the addition, read about it here, yielded mass quantities of overages due to my husband, The Financier’s calculations. In truth, we both agreed that too much stone was better than not enough. Many were used for the rebuilding of the pond for the umpteenth time. Many were taken away to the North Carolina garden of offspring Brokenbeat for use in his own pond contruction. The rest have been used to build and rebuild walls to shore up eroding soil from our steep slope, give protection to container plantings and newly disturbed beds against the devil digging squirrels and to edge the boundaries of pathways. (Above shot of the pond taken March 29, 2011.)
Extra bits of wood and metal, some found on the property under decades of unrestricted Japanese privet and honeysuckle growth gone wild, after it was hacked back, have been recycled and upcycled and whatever the latest buzzword for tightwadedness is now, for art and function. As needs change, plants grow, new projects ideas are hatched then executed, these bits are drafted into action. Leftover wood is especially valued and the raised box planter made entirely by me from extra lengths of deck boards from the garage deck redo has been a fine area for planting those tricky ones such as Dahlias and Eremurus. (Above shot, taken October 24, 2011 showing Dahlia ‘Gallery Cobra’ and the leftover cinder blocks from the garage construction.)
Metal reinforcing wire leftover from the paving of the driveway has been shaped into good sized tomato cages, fences around the veggie patch to keep out marauding critters when covered with plastic rabbit fence, along with providing support for bean and pea seedlings to reach for the sky. I did have to buy a special cutting tool to snip the heavy gauge wire, but that has been used so many times it has more than paid for the initial investment. Besides, tools last forever. (Above shot taken August 24, 2009.)
Even if they break, the good metal parts can be fashioned into um, interesting art. Sort of. If only we could weld. There was an old rusted out wheelbarrow found on the property, at the back edge where many of these prized bits of scrap were found, along with a pile of broken bricks that made perfect edgers. One of our own old wheelbarrows also rusted out and both of these have been made into planters with good results.
Several volumes could be written about the use and reuse of found objects here, but let’s move onward to my favorite topic, plants! Looking around the garden, there is hardly a plant that has not been divided and spread. Except for trees and some shrubs, the effort was at least made to make more of them. We have learned from experience to allow a new purchase to settle in for a season before attacking it with the hori hori, shovel or folding saw. And let us not forget about the joy and wonder of seeds! Look at those stacks of flapjack seeds and multiply that times the fifty or so blooms to get the feel for my tightwad elation. Each pod was squeezed and sprinkled in the area last year. Hopes remain high for babies. (Above shot, May 5, 2011 of Salvia ‘Caradonna’ and a fecund seedhead of Fritillaria meleagris.)
At the moment, bulbs are being screened for possible division. When I see the crocus blooming so abundantly, (above shot taken January 23, 2012), for one single second I do think, oh how pretty. But immediately afterwards, the hori hori comes out and these babies are divided and spread. A large overgrown clump can yield dozens of small ones that given enough time, will grow to become clumps of their own. Timing is everything in this endeavor, with the cool moist earth of late winter being the most welcoming to the freshly dugs. No watering necessary. See the post about dividing daffodils that was written last year here, or the year before’s post about lily bulblets here to see how it’s done.
There could be so much more written on this topic, it will be added to the list of categories. Older posts that qualify will have this category added to them, as well. Maybe I will make a page of tightwadedness. I am a font of tightwad ideas. The page is up and running, click here-Tightwad Gardening or on the sidebar list of pages to see it. (Above shot, taken March 2, 2011 shows germinated Allium christophii babies from saved seeds, hidden under a broken rake head and a saved plastic flat with leftover wooden finials on each side. Do you see what I see? A future mass planting of Allium blooms.)
ps, Happy Birthday, dear Brokenbeat! ♥