Saturday, June 30, 2012

Some of the ways I gardened frugally this year with my pots

This is the day I have been looking forward to, ever since March of 2010.  We had had our home paid off, then took out a home equity loan to remodel our small kitchen, making it more functional and decided to cut back on garden spending this year to help make it happen.  (Here's a link to the posts I did on the kitchen.)

One of the big ways I cut back, was in my tub planting.  I didn't buy many plants for them this year.  I saw that things had reseeded into some of them, and left them to see what they would turn into.  In other tubs, I planted things I dug up from the yard.  I took these photos a couple days ago, knowing this was the day I was going to do this post.

This is the west side of the front yard, next to the area where I am trying to plant mostly plants that are native to Nebraska.

Our four year old grandson picked these pansies out in March.  They have handled the heat fairly well.  I stuck the dianthus in from the yard.

I'm not sure if these new types of rudbeckias lived over the winter, or self-sowed, but they sure are filling the tubs they are in nicely.

This petunia is a volunteer from last year.  The foliage of the nasturtium I started from seed is behind the petunia.

They are joined by volunteer love lies bleeding, a lantana, and some marguerite daisies that I started from seed, which are hidden by the other plants.

Ginger mint has lived in this tub for at least five years.

Last year, I planted two varieties of heirloom marigolds, and they self sowed very prolifically.  I moved a number of them to several different tubs.  The love lies bleeding self sowed in this pot, too.  I am assuming it will not get as large as the ones in the ground.

Here's another tub with volunteer rudbeckias.

One of the books I have on prairie plants said these have no place in a natural garden, but I kind of like them.   If these end up not living long, I probably won't plant more, though.

I planted a couple lantanas, a vegetable type of sweet potato plant, and added an orange cosmos that was on sale.  I am hoping they fill up the space, soon.

A close up of the lantana:

I had to move the shade plants out of this area, and since I was trying to garden cheaply, I moved some red blooming heleniums, liatris, and rudbeckia 'Goldquelle' from other parts of the yard.  The coneflowers were already there.  I am also letting a couple love lies bleeding grow in this bed.

I've shown this pot of gooseneck loosestrife with dianthus on the right a number of times.  Planting perennials in tubs like this is a good way to keep the spreaders in check, and to garden frugally.  Oh, and there is another volunteer love lies bleeding in there.

I think the only plant I purchased for this is the one draping down the middle.  The others, I moved from other parts of the yard, and a flower bed at church where I also garden.  It's hard to tell, but a couple of the sedums are blooming.

I forgot what this is, but it was in a small plastic pot that was in a wash tub I got at a garage sale last year.  I thought it was dead, but when it started growing, I put it in a larger pot.  It didn't bloom last year.  I wonder if it needs some special care to bloom.

These mints have been in the tubs differing amounts of time, from a couple to eight or more years.  There are a couple more pots of them against the garage in the vegetable garden.  I use them to make tea.

I forgot to post a photo of the butter and eggs for Wildflower Wednesday.  I'm thinking it's a toadflax.  It has been in this tub around 5 years.  It's another spreader.

That's the butter and eggs in the tub on the right.  Mint is in the red one.  Those are sweet potatoes in the one by the garage.  That one has two tubs in it.

In with the sweet potatoes in the left side are these little yellow flowers that are volunteers from last year, and some strawberry plants.  I figured I'll give the strawberries more room next year.

In the right side, are a pineapple sage, with lemon verbena in the background, and a couple more strawberry plants and sweet potatoes.

Can you tell I like sweet potatoes and strawberries?  Rabbits do, too, so that is the main reason I plant them in tubs.  That's an ornamental one in the pot on the bottom.  I've mentioned that I've done posts on cooking and eating ornamental sweet potatoes, and people doing searches to find out if you can eat them is probably the most hits I get.  I've decided they are worth eating, but the ones that are actually grown for eating are better.

I think this is sweet woodruff.  It has been in this pot a number of years.

I forgot what these succulents are, but I moved them to this pot a few weeks ago, from a wash tub I wanted to plant something else in.

The oxalis that almost got dumped are doing well.  I had forgotten what was in this pot, and they had gone dormant.

Between the rabbits and our dog, Heidi, the back yard is kind of a mess.  I don't know whether it's her or them that have shredded some of the hostas behind the house, and dug in the dirt.  I'm pretty sure it's Heidi who digs in this spot so I planted the goldenrod that used to be here in a wash tub.  I added some of the volunteer marigolds to it this spring.

This pot gets overrun with weeds, but I'm trying to grow false solomon's seal that a friend gave me in here.  I did get this batch of weeds out yesterday.

I gave up on trying to grow plants on this side of the shed, because of all the digging.  You can see that the watering can is in a hole.  I need to get that filled.  I also need to get the dianthus here deadheaded.   I added the ageratum this spring.  The dianthus has survived a few winters in this pot.

Our daughter gave this cactus to Larry, for his birthday, I think.  It has given us fits, because it is actually in three pieces, and they keep coming out.  I had to put them into this larger pot, and they still won't stay in.  I did have it on the ground, in hopes of discouraging Heidi and the rabbits from going into the area, but it apparently didn't influence them.

The corner by the fence is another area that gets dug, so I put another pot of goldenrod in, next to some gray headed coneflower.

I grow a few varieties of lavender in pots that we put in the egress window well over the winter.  I used to put them on the other side of the little fences, but had to put them in here, again, because of all the digging.  These look a little stressed, maybe from winter damage that I didn't cut back enough.  I try to get some dried, but this year, they seem to be getting ahead of me.  I think I got a couple little bunches hung, though.

Here's another pot of lavender with some coneflowers, monarda, 'Jacob Kline' and a gray headed coneflower dipping down.

I can't remember what the plant on the left in this pot is, but the right one is Jacob's ladder.  This is their second season here.

This double wash tub is one of my favorites.  I saw it in someone's front yard with a for sale price on it, and called Larry to tell him I wanted it, and would he please go get it when he got off.  I don't remember how much it was, but the price was displayed, and was very reasonable.  These marigolds are from the vegetable garden, which still has oodles of them in it.  I only planted three in each one, because I remembered the ones last year got pretty large.  I hope these get a little larger to fill out all of the space.

There are certain plants that we normally get each season.  We didn't get all of them this year, but I did get these sun coleus plants for Larry for Father's Day, because he always wants some.

I also picked up this hanging pot at 40% off for him, but as you can see, it got too dry, and is in stress.  I need to trim back the petunias.

In the shady part of the deck are the houseplants that live in the house in the cold months.

Larry has kept this rabbit foot fern a number of years now.  He has to water it in the shower in the winter.

I like angel wing begonias.  This one needs to be trimmed, it looks like.  The bay plant has been in the pot awhile.  It was on the front porch awhile, where it was getting too much sun.  It likes shade when it's hot out.

We like our little succulents, some of which need some attention.

Our daughter gave me the calla lily for Mother's Day.  I've never grown them before.  I put it in a larger pot.  It's a little stressed.  I hope it comes out of it.

When I brought this tub home from a garage sale, Larry asked if he could have it for a water garden.  He added the pump this year, and it seems we've had more birds visit it than in the past.

I forgot what kind of iris this is, but it has a bloom or two off and on most of the summer, if I'm remembering correctly.

On the west side of the back yard is my small herb garden, which now has a number of bird feeders in it.  This is a pot of garlic chives that have been there a few years.  In the place we lived for 18 years, before moving here, I had garlic chives try to take over the garden, and found that they did not stay pulled or even dug out, so it took me a few years to be brave enough to grow these in the pot, but I have been faithful to deadhead it before it can go to seed.

This tub of woodland phlox moved with us 13 years ago, and even though they say they prefer some shade, these have done fine, except the violets need to be pulled out from time to time I think that's a sunflower trying to bloom quite small.  The squirrels planted corn all over our yard, and in the neighbors'.  A couple of them are letting it grow.

A couple of my rosemarys did not survive winter in the house, so I got a couple more, which are doing well.  I tried to get the baptisia plant out of the tub of thyme this spring, but in order to do that, I was going to have to take the thyme out, too.  I'll probably end up cutting back the baptisia.  The basils I planted from seed inside are doing very well, but I need to be making some pesto, because they are starting to want to bloom.

I planted nasturtium seeds in this tub.

One of the two yellow summer squash plants in the tub next to the nasturtims was found by a squash stem borer.  I hope this one won't be.

 This is the rosemary that survived winter inside.  We need to get our deck painted.  At some point, we'd like to take it down and put in a smaller patio.  Larry's dad built it, though, so even though it's clunky, and not what we would have chosen, it will be hard to see it go.

 I took the rest of the photos today.  After I paid the loan off, I went to a few estate sales.  At one, I found some flower frogs.  In line, I told some ladies that what I was really looking for were wire baskets that people put liners in for planting flowers, but that I wanted them to put over plants to keep the rabbits from eating them.  One of them told me where a sale was that had lots of baskets and, I thought she said pots.  Well, when I got there, I was disappointed to see it was wicker baskets she had!  When my eyes landed on this tub, though, I was glad I was there.  None of my other tubs have diagonal corners like this one does!  A month ago, I may not have gotten it, but I was in a celebratory mood, after paying off the loan.

I didn't think I was going to plant anything in it yet, but when Larry and I went to Fazolis to celebrate being debt free, I saw that Westlake Hardware's plants were 75% off, and so, I planted more ornamental sweet potatoes, a couple ivy geraniums and some annual phlox.  I think I forgot to include photos of Larry's miniature roses that have survived a few winters in the egress window well.  They looked a bit bedraggled this spring, and have not totally come out of it.

I replace the parsley from last year that was blooming with some that I got for 25 cents each.  I have some coming up from seed in the herb garden, but those have normally been for the swallowtails.  I feel bad, though, because now that Larry is feeding the birds again, there are a number of them hanging out, and they will probably assume the caterpillars are for them, too.

These are the tubs by the garbage cans on the east side of the property.  I need to move the plant that I think is rigid goldenrod or something like that out of the tub with the Virginia mountain mint.  This evening, I planted the stevia that I got for a quarter, and the two gazanias that hadn't been planted yet.

This is another pot of mint.

I am so tickled and relieved to be debt free. We could live on what Larry earns right now, and the little bit I would get if I retired in the next few years, but then we wouldn't be able to afford to get old.  Health care is very expensive, so we need to save up in case we need it.  There are also repairs that the house and vehicles will need. Since I know I won't be able to retire for awhile, I have asked to have fewer hours starting next year, so that I can spend more time gardening, and hopefully, working out with weights to improve my bone mass, since they say I have osteoporosis. I think that is going to work out, since the woman who worked fewer hours last year wants more.  I am looking forward to this change.

Well, I hope you are finding time to get outside in the parts of the day that are not quite as hot.  I saw on the news how large the area of temps over 90 is.  Oh, my!  I have been praying for those affected by all of the fires, not just in Colorado.

Have a great and safe weekend, and if I don't do another post before then, have a great Fourth of July!  Normally, the daylilies are just starting to bloom, but now, some of them are almost finished, and some are stressed from all the heat.


  1. Congrats on being debt free again. That is great news. I remember when you did the kitchen re-do a few years ago. You have so many lovely pots filled with 'freebies' ... We had to cut back on what plants we purchased this year too. I only bought for our front porch hanging baskets which I packed with RED geraniums, some kind of WHITE trailing plant and BLUE petunias. All of our tomatoes and veggie plants in the garden were planted from seed. It really does save a ton of money to collect and use your own garden seeds. It's also nice to share with friends and neighbors. Have a wonderful 4th of July holiday.

  2. You have the most incredible collection of tubs/pots. I used to be able to find them pretty reasonably priced, but over the past couple of years, prices have gone through the roof on them. I rarely buy them anymore--though this past trip I did find a couple for a dollar.

    1. Sue, Let me know if you subscribed to these follow up comments. I have not seen any place to leave comments on your blog for awhile. Are you not allowing them on purpose? I am glad to see you are back home and have such a nice harvest of veggies, and flowers that are doing well. You even have some weeds to pull to get you out into the garden.

  3. Congratulations Sue and hubby for being debt free again. Being debt free is a wonderful feeling.

    I hope you are able to work less hours this coming year so that you can putter in your fantastic gardens. I cannot believe all that you have growing there in the ground and in your containers. I love your shaded patio area and the little pond garden, and that new tub of yours is wonderful.

    Thanks for a lovely and inspiring tour of your home sweet home.

    Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

  4. You did an excellent job filling the containers "cheaply." I'm envious that you can get marigolds to self seed. I have to make sure I save the seed and replant them each year. I don't know if the birds eat the seed or if our winter gets them somehow. I like the rudbeckias. Such happy colors. Total score on the tub with angled corners. I've never seen one like that before. Nice find. The elevated water garden is great. I never considered trying to give one some height. Congratulations on being debt free!!!!!

  5. Sue and Larry-congratulations on being "debt free" as Dave Ramsey says-it is the BEST FEELING. Good for you. Your garden relects alot of the love you devote to it. Really it all looks lovely. Whenever I am in your part of town I drive by just to get a look.
    The Bike with Sedum is so neat. I am looking for an old bike for my garden. I am pulling alot of weeds. Hay was just harvested in our pasture and our neighbors and lots of birds are all about gathering the remnants. I am not so ambitious with the heat. Glad to get to your blog-hope to see you soon. Sara

  6. My goodness you have quite an assortment of containers in your garden. It is beautiful too!
    Love the water feature.

  7. Trying the new pop-up window.

    Your grandson made a good choice of pansies. The more you pick, the more they bloom. When I was not much older than he is, Mama's cousins let me pick all I wanted. I thought it was because they liked me.

  8. I wrote a comment, but it didn't work. Could be my browser.

    Congratulations on being debt-free! We did that in 2005 and it feels so good!


  9. It is good to pay off a debt I have one more payment on my teeth then I will owe no one it has been a long year. You are brave to have this many pots and tubs I forget to water mine. What is the name of the bronze Rudbeckia. I have the Goldilocks I thought it was dead but low and behold it came back. They really hold their flowers a long time. love you garden

  10. Hi Sue! Thanks for your kind words. I had to disable comments due to some problems.....but not to worry--I visit your lovely blog often and you can't keep me quiet-LOL!
    Hope you had a great weekend, and again---LOVE those containers. Have you ever counted just how many you have????

  11. Sue, once again your garden amazes me. You have very creative and fun ideas you have implemented in your garden. I just love it! The pictures are also fab-great job!

  12. Sue, Congrats on being debt free! Good job! You have many pots/tubs, and I am quite amazed by them all! Your mystery plant that has not bloomed looks like an amaryllis to me. Have a good week!

  13. I am amazed at your tub and planter collection, and i bet you are also frequented by butterflies. I love most that water garden, i wish to do it too, but we don't have cheap tubs here. I still recall your trailing sweet potato last year, i see it again now. Did it give you some roots to eat as vegetables?

  14. Congrats on retiring the loan. Always a good feeling. I love all your tubs, and it is good to be reminded that we don't HAVE to buy lots of new plants every year and still can have a full garden.

  15. Well done on clearing the loan, Looking forward to one day being mortgage free!

    The pots look stunning and even better for being mostly self seeded. Its amazing how much nature will give to us if we let it. You really cant tell that you have cut back at all!

  16. Way to go on being free of your mortgage. Eric and I sort of did things wrong by buying a new house in our fifties that we will be paying for till our eighties! I love all your tubs and containers.I've started adding some in our garden too - now if I can just get the watering schedule down...

  17. This is a most AMAZING post in my opinion! I have never been very successful with container plants, but I am inspired to try harder after scrolling through your post.

    I'm assuming regular and frequent fertilizing and watering?????

  18. Sue, A+ for your frugality and A++ for your ingenuous containers...There are several that I would gladly have in my garden! I am so glad you plant what you want! gail

  19. I remember your bicycle basket from last year--great idea to plant succulents in it! Your tubs are wonderfully whimsical. I've had trouble growing Calla Lilies, too, but I LOVE 'em! And that Iris looks like some of the ones we saw in New Orleans--gorgeous!

  20. I have totally enjoyed the creativity in this all these planters! And congrats on being debt free too, what an accomplishment. (o:

  21. Sue, you have an amazing garden that apparently takes up your entire yard. I don't know how you can keep up with it all. So many different kinds of plants would boggle my mind to keep them straight. The heat here in eastern Nebraska is extreme as well. Hopefully, it will break and give us some rain soon or gardens will be in trouble. They are on the edge of being really stressed out now. I've been hauling water to the new garden just to keep it in the survival mode. Gardening a 5:30am (sunrise) has kept me from getting over heated.

    Have the best day that you can in the garden.

  22. I hope you had a lovely 4th of July. How great to have cleared your debt and have some nice plans to look forward to.

  23. Thanks everyone, for the nice comments. Andrea, I can't remember now how many potatoes I got from the ornamental sweet potato plants last year. I'm thinking that it wasn't very many. That is the most common search that causes folks to find my blog, wanting to know if they can be eaten.

    Rebecca, Most summers, the tubs only need to be watered every other day. Since we've had very hot weather lately, we've been watering them every day.

    I have been reusing my potting soil, at least in the bottom half of the tubs. I have been trying to use organic potting soil with worm castings in it the last couple of years. It is more expensive, but since this ends up on my compost at some point, I decided to go ahead and spend the extra money for it. Even before doing that, though, I rarely fertilized. If I do, it's worm castings, fish emulsion, or something like that. That would be once or twice a season, and some years, I space it off. The garden centers would like us to think we can't have a garden without a plethora of the products they sell.

  24. Love the goose-neck loose strife. It is gorgeous, along with everything else growing in you fantastic garden!
    The unknown looks like an amaryllis of some sort. I have found that if you take them in around November, un-pot it and leave it in a dark place for two months: then pull it back out and re-pot it, it will usually grow double the size and flower. Oh course, you probably already know this. Anyway.......beautiful pics as always.

  25. Sue,
    Your garden has finally filled in, it looks great. Our garden has finally done it also.

    The malware at my site was from the Inadvertent Gardener whose blog I loved visiting, no post since last fall. You might drop any blogs not posted in the last year and see if that helps. I have a mac so malware does not register here.

  26. Hello Sue, I had a little time this morning so I spent it in your garden. My, you are a busy, busy gardener, everything looks so healthy.

    I love the new kitchen redo, too. Our kitchen is in need of an overhaul so it was inspiring to see what is possible if we could ever commit to what we want. Yours is gorgeous!

    So good to pop in for a visit this morning. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  27. Congratulations on being debt free! A wonderful feeling we all strive for. Your side yard is lovely! I don't even see any signs of drought stress. It is still so full and happy. The galvanized water garden is simply wonderful. I think it makes quite an impact. One day I hope to do something similar. Sorry your blog is having trouble. Sometimes that happens to mine too. I did not have any problems viewing your blog. Under webmaster tools on your account page you can check your blog for problems. It is easy. I find broken links and what not can affect my blog occasionally but I keep up on them pretty good. Happy gardening!


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