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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
David Austin Roses, Asian Lilies, Larkspur, Grape Leaves