Garage Sale Gardening.

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I am a big fan of what I like to call garage sale gardening. In other words, I have gotten quite a few of the plants in my gardens at garage sales on the cheap. Why pay nursery prices when you can get good quality perennials for much less? Personally, I usually find that garage sale plants thrive better and mature more quickly than nursery plants, maybe because they are coming from already firmly established plants. They are also pretty much guaranteed to be suitable for my area.
The biggest tip I have for you when it comes to garage sale gardening is this; most of the perennials you’ll find at garage sales can be invasive. If you think about it logically, the reason the seller has extras to get rid of is because the stuff is multiplying easily. Invasive doesn’t have to be a bad word though (although sometimes it is, so do some research before planting). It just takes a little effort to keep many of these plants under control though.

Such is clearly the case with the sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) that I purchased a couple of years ago. This stuff is spreading quite quickly. But I love the way it makes a carpet of little white flowers in the spring. It also grows well in what many think is a tricky area, in this case under a pine tree.
Another invasive plant that I purchased at a garage sale is cranesbill or perennial geranium. Not to be confused with the annual geraniums that we all know and love, which aren’t actually geraniums at all but are technically pelargoniums.
Another invasive plant that I love is the Anemone. I got mine from my friend Sue, so I’m not positive but I think they are Anemone sylvestris. These are also growing happily under pine trees.
Another garage sale plant in my garden is the variegated sedum in front of these tulips.

This plant isn’t invasive, but it does need to be divided every few year resulting in excess plants.
Bleeding heart is another great garage sale plant. It spreads by re-seeding itself. You’ll find little baby plants coming up all over. I usually just yank them out. Sometimes you just have to be heartless (pardon the pun).
One other thing to be cautious about with garage sale plants is whether or not they are poisonous. Whenever I bring home a new plant, I try to research it a bit before putting it in the ground. If you have pets or small children that might ingest your plants, just keep this in mind.

One last potential downside to garage sale gardening is that sometimes the seller doesn’t know the names of their plants. Such was the case with the blooming plant with the lavender flowers in this next photo. I still don't know what the name of this plant is, do you?
Although I’ve mentioned several cons to garage sale gardening, I think the pros far outweigh them in most cases. If you’re looking for inexpensive, easy to grow plants for your area, consider checking out some garage sales!

And to see more posts about gardening, check out my blog q is for quandie.
Suggested materials:
  • Perennials   (garage sales!)
Linda from q is for quandie
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  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on May 29, 2016
    Moving sales especially! My daughter was moving back across the country, and knew her gorgeous plants wouldn't survive, so sold them at her yard sale. She knew someone would now take care of them, and the buyers were thrilled!

  • Lori Long Lori Long on May 03, 2021

    A great app to help identify plants is picture this. I use this app quite often. 😉