Friday, May 9, 2008

Frugal Friday ~ Free 'n easy gardening (well okay, the water will cost you)

In the past, I've gone the way of trying every type of pretty and expensive plant I could to beautify my home (I didn't have a garden at the time). I've tried (and killed) orchids, sacred hearts, lilies, and every kind of houseplant imaginable (except those amazing pothos!). Now that I have a garden to play in, my success hasn't been much better. Until I put myself on a budget and simply couldn't buy those pretty, delicate plants anymore. At first I bemoaned not being able to make the garden as pretty as I'd like. But then I realized that there are plenty of robust plants in our yard that are actually quite pretty after a good pruning/sprucing up. These are the plants that actually do better when neglected, which means they are perfect for someone like me to take care of them. They also yield so much foliage that I can fill in the holes in my garden with their offspring. Two plants that are especially happy in our dry desert climate are the succulents (jade?) plants lining our back door:

These started out only a few inches high!

The other is the "elephant ear" plant (I believe that's the scientific name) by our front door:

This also started out as one plant about a foot high

As I was cutting back the jade plant the other day (to keep it from overtaking the doorway) I realized that I should put all the cuttings to good use. We had a ugly blank space by our fence that I'd been wanting to fill with flowers but had just left blank. So I took the cuttings, along with some extra ears of elephant, and voila!

Not only do they fill up the blank spot by the fence, I also know that I don't have to do anything special to them, as they will naturally take over that area on their own.

I've also been known to cut cherry-blossom branches off the trees lining our neighborhoods' streets (is that illegal?) for bouquets, as well as ask neighbors for their extra cuttings for our yard. They are always happy to give away their "trash." And I've learned to work with what I've got instead of trying to "force" a beauty I've conceived in my mind onto my poor, unsuspecting garden. Our garden may not be the most varied or most beautiful, but it's full of green growth, inexpensive, and easy to take care of.

For more amazing frugal tips, stop over at Biblical Womanhood.

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