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Growing Flowers for Less

In between my fruit trees and vegetable plants, I like to grow flowers. Buying flowers from the store to grace our table can be expensive. If you have flowers growing in your garden, you can bring them in to enjoy.

Of course, not all flowers are best as cut flowers. Landscape flowers can give you joy just by enjoying the way they look in your yard. These flowers are even less expensive to grow.

What you grow depends a great deal on what will grow in your area.

Slideshow april lilacs September Lavender


Plant these once, and they will return year after year to your garden. Depending on what you choose, these can be inexpensive seeds to more expensive plants.

In my garden, I grow David Austin roses, lilacs, and lavender. There are a lot more perennials out there (including many flowering bushes) but this is what I have room to grow among the food.

Slide Show hollyhocks Slide Show foxglove


Growing for two years before dying, biennials usually are green the first year (with a few blooms), and bloom the second year. However, they also tend to drop seeds nearby, allowing them to spread. This means you can have a continual source of plants that are flowering. Some biennials are hollyhocks and foxgloves.

Rocket Larkspur Slide Show Johnny Jump Up 2


Needing to replanted each year, some people think of annuals as being expensive because you are buying new plants and/or seeds each year. Nevertheless, annuals can also be inexpensive, as a small amount of seed may give you a lot of flowers. Another advantage--annuals may go to seed, growing on their own the following year (or years).

The first year in our house, I bought vincas in six-pack containers (cheaper than buying individual 4" containers). I wasn't able to get as many as I would have liked, because more were not in my budget. At my last house, I would rip my vincas out in the fall and replace them with pansies (which grow all winter here). When fall came the first year in our new house, I didn't have money for pansies, so I let the vincas grow as long as they could. They lasted until the first frost in November.

Sundial late summer

Vincas in my garden--all from reseeding themselves

The following June, my husband thought we had lots of weeds in our garden. I looked carefully at the plants, and they were vincas! I was able to transplant the seedlings to all of the areas that I had wanted to grow vincas the first year. The last two years I have had vincas throughout my garden because of that first initial purchase and careful transplanting each year.

Another option is to plant wildflower seeds. I like this company: Wildseed Farms, because they sell seeds in bulk, and they're not expensive. In my current garden, I plant rocket larkspur and Johnny jump-ups from them.

Slide Show Lilies Slide Show paperwhites


Bulbs can be a very expensive part of your garden, if you plant all "annual" bulbs (and depending on your climate). I live in a zone 9, and most bulbs will not flower a second year here.


A good choice for bulbs is to choose naturalizing bulbs. In you live in a zone 7 or colder, there are lots of choices for bulbs that will cost you once and return every spring. Even in my zone 9, there are some bulbs that will come back each year (mostly miniature narcissus varieties).


Another way to save money on the cost of bulbs is to buy in bulk. I have been very happy ordering from Van Engelen. They ship the bulbs in time for the pre-cooling (10 weeks) needed in my warmer zone, and their prices can't be beat. Their bulbs all flower (which I have not seen from other companies) and they are nice and large.

lemon branches, apple branches, flowering basil, blackberry branches, lavender, bare branches from the peach trees

Everything Else

One of the great things about floral arrangements is that you can easily add in other things from your garden. You can cut blooming bushes and bring them in, or flowering branches from your fruit trees. I like to add grape leaves to my arrangements.

Slide Show Artichoke Flower Slide Show onion flowers

Also, remember to use the flowers that are really food. Artichokes are beautiful flowers, as are the flower heads of green onions! Both can be brought indoors for lovely arrangements.

Collect seeds from your flowers that drop seeds, and keep them for growing next year or for sharing with friends. Take cuttings from those flowering bushes that will allow you to, and make more plants.

May flowers 500

David Austin Roses, Asian Lilies, Larkspur, Grape Leaves

Flourish 1

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What I grow in my garden in Las Vegas
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Herb Garden
English Thyme
French Tarragon
Genovese Basil
German Chamomile
Greek Oregano
Italian Parsley
Sweet Lavender
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Vegetable Garden
Butternut Squash
Armenian Cucumbers
Green Onions
Sugar Snap Peas
Swiss Chard
Early Girl Tomatoes
Yellow Pear Tomatoes
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Early Elberta Peach
Desert Gold Peach
Katy Apricot
Royal Apricot
20th Century Asian Pear
Bartlett Pears (2)
Green Gage Plum
Pomegranate (2)
Stella Cherry
Apples (15), including Dorsett Golden and Granny Smith
Meyer Lemons (5)
Algerian Tangerines
Rio Red Grapefruit (2)
Oranges (2)
Mexican Lime
Red Grapes
Green Grapes
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Miniature daffodils
Johnny Jump-ups
Rocket Larkspur
David Austin Roses
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Garden Tours
Is your group interested in a garden tour and class?
Look here for current tours and classes. If there isn't one scheduled, email me to request one.
For a sneak peak at my garden, see here.
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This is a wonderful source for flowering bulbs in large quantities:
Two sources for seeds that I have grown with some success: - Tomato HP Logo

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Garden Links
Plant a garden without tilling! Instructions
It doesn't have to be cold where you live to grow apples. Learn here about Growing Apples in a Warm Climate
His downloadable e-book, Growing Apples in the City, has information about types of apples, grafting, pruning, and espaliering trees. It's well worth getting.
Growing an edible garden in the city: Garden Girl
She makes the most of the space she has. If you have a small garden, check out her site for ideas.


Planting, pruning, fertilizing, and plant choices for the desert:
How to take cuttings of plants to make new plants:
How to determine your gardening zone:
Get fruit for free from gardens other than your own: Gleaning Fruit
Donate extra garden produce to a participating food pantry near you:
Don't have a space to garden? Have space and want to share it? Check out Sharing Backyards to learn more.

Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners

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