Do you check the bargain section first?

flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)April 18, 2011

I don't buy many plants. I don't have much space and I like to propagate my own as much as possible. Plus I'm always amazed at the price of large plants even though I understand all the arguments about the cost of growing them. When I see something priced in double figures that I have grown at home from a cutting I blanch.

But I do like to snoop around the shelf at the end of the garden centre where they put the half dead and past it stuff. If you know what you are looking for you can pick up some amazing bargains. Today I got a large pot of Erythronium 'Pagoda' reduced from 6.50 ($10.50) for 3.00 ($4.80) because they had finished blooming and were looking a bit ratty. When I got it home it contained 10 large plump 'bulbs' which will look great come next March.

Who else here is a plant first aider?

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I love buying plants...period. In the spring I just can't wait to put stuff in the ground and have been known to drop a bit more than I should on premium priced plants. I'm trying to curb the free-for-all. Love the bargains just as much. Last fall I spent $50 on a ton of end-of-season plants. Looks like they'll all come out of winter alive. An inexpensive investment in the fall and I've already got a bunch of new plants this spring that I haven't seen before.

On the bad side of bargain shopping is the justification, "Well, I had a coupon," for things I didn't really need but bought because it was on sale. :)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 2:59PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Wow, that Erythronium was a great find.

I DO generally make a bee-line for the sale racks when plant shopping. I've been doing this awhile so know where each nursery keeps theirs ;-) Some places have one up all the time to put seasonal things when they stop blooming or other plants when they look ratty. The best times though are obviously in summer and fall for the end of season clearances. Can't even count the number of things in my garden that have been from those sales!

Lowes sometimes even marks down things that are still in thier prime just for the fact that they need to make room for a new shipment or some such. Last year in late spring Lowes (not the one near me, another one that seems to discount things better) I found a major deal of Heuchera and Heucherellas. I got 'Tiramisu', 'Miracle', 'Kimono', and 'Alabama Sunset' for $3 each!! They had other ones and I keep kicking myself for not getting more, lol!

Yes, the sale rack can be a dangerous thing for a gardener!! ;-)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 3:37PM
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I love the bargain section - however we usually get the bargains at the end of the season. The stores often give those group of plants for one flat price though which can be a bargain. I don't like buying large plants since I know the small ones will reach that size in no time.

Sometimes I go the recycling area of the store where old pots are dumped or seemingly dead plants are disposed. It's there that I am able to fetch free plants.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 4:24PM
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I am not at all good about waiting for bargains....I confess.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 4:43PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

In general I buy plants as I see them, but I definitely check for deals (especially on shrubs and trees) at the end of the season. I prefer to do a big shopping in the fall when I can see the leaf color, etc. and also get a great deal.

Last year at a local nursery they had a sign out that said "make an offer". We got a 7-8' Katsura tree and a 7-8' paperbark maple for $125 delivered. That may sound like a lot but if you saw the original cost you'd choke and around here delivery alone is from $50-75! They were both on my want list so I was thrilled with the price.

I have one nursery that has a section way out afield where I roam once in a while. I had been looking for a Buddleia alternifolia for years and had never seen one in a nursery. At that time they were even scarce online. Well, in early spring I stumbled upon a scraggly shrub in this nursery's "not so nice looking so most normal gardeners would not buy!!" section of the nursery. There was my buddleia. I rescued it, borrowed a worker's pruners, pruned it up and asked if I could buy it. Again, another major score since it had been on my want list and they charged me barely anything for it.

The cost of plant material has gotten a bit out of control (IMO) so I have been doing more from seed and I'm lucky that my mom down in NC does a lot of shrub propagation so if I'm looking for something she'll take cuttings for me and grow them until ready for me up here in NH. It may be a couple years but they're free. In fact, I'm visiting them next week and can't wait to "shop" at her nursery! It's also great because I can try to push the zone a bit and not feel bad if something dies since it didn't cost anything.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 5:21PM
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I always & absolutely check the bargain section first. A few years ago I got peonies 'Shirley Temple' & 'Festiva Maxima' on the 'reduced for quick sale' rack behind some displays of garden tools. Another rack I always check is one I've heard people refer to as 'the morgue' where they put plants out of sight that are not looking their best.

But my best place is just a few miles up the road at a farm & garden nursery. Their gallon-size perennials are reasonably priced during the prime selling season but I always wait until late October/early November when they're marked down & BOGO. About the middle of November, Veronica (who works there and knows me by now) sells them to me for $1 each. Even after catching me harvesting perennial aster seeds last year, she insisted on giving me the plant from which I was snatching them.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 6:16PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I just picked up two pots of very healthy 'Rip Van Winkle' Daffodils for less than 1/2 price, of course they have finished blooming but they should bloom again next spring.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 8:39PM
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always always check out the bargain racks - got 15 Clematis for $1.25each one year because they had wilted from lack of water - I only lost one and that was probably more my fault after I bought it. Most people want 'perfect' plants in full bloom. I don't mind nursing them back and waiting till the next season.....


    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 12:01PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

Most of my plants are from the clearance rack at nearby Lowes stores. I have purchased a $20.00 hanging basket for $1.00 when all it needed was a trim and some water to be beautiful again. I recently picked up 14 Orange Sedge plants for $1.50 each. They were fresh stock in perfect condition and were priced at $6.98 but they decided to mark them down because they wouldn't appeal to their average customer.

Getting so many plants on sale helps me fill my yard for less and I have found many unique and special plants this way as well.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 2:49PM
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I always check the bargain sections first! I have a hard time paying full price for plants, I'll admit that. I guess I'm lucky though that a close relative works at a large local florist as their "Green Plant Lady". I get all of the castaways!!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 3:25PM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

I just got home from Lowe's bargain racks. They had geraniums and african daisies for 10 cents a pot. It was almost a riot in that area!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 4:58PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Not always first but always before I leave. Two of my bargains from a few years ago are budding and will bloom soon, 25 cent primroses and 'Ivory Prince' hellebore. They have bloomed well several springs for me.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 5:21PM
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sharoncl(z5 WI)

At one of the local nurseries that is the only section I shop. The nursery is really overpriced compared to some of the other nurseries, but their bargain rack is awesome! One year, I found a mislabeled gallon container (with 3 different perennial geraniums planted in it) for $5--'Johnsons blue', 'samobor', and 'hocus pocus'.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 6:46PM
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backyardgrown(7b-8 NW MS)

Online sales, half off racks...yep.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 10:05PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

Kathy - I got there first and cleaned out the perennials, they were marked $1.25 and when I checked out the guy marked them down to $1 because it was easier. Then I stopped by the other Lowe's and found two roses reg. $29.98, marked $4.00. Seeing your beautiful gardens and finding bargains on the way home, can't beat that for a great day.

Pics tomorrow!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 10:55PM
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plantmaven(8b/9a TX)

You mean you left my house and went there? How rude! hahahaha

Diane paid full price for a hydrangea. They were unloading them when we got there. I must confess, I paid full price for a lantana. It is pastel shades of yellows and pinks.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 9:08AM
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I got lots of clearance plants at Lowe's last summer...mostly petunias and other annuals that were not watered well, but recovered easily, once I got them home. Best buy there were two clearance John Cabot roses, for $3 each. No one knew what they were so nobody was buying them! Finally a zone 3 rose at Lowe's :)

Fred Meyer (my favorite store) puts things on clearance all spring and summer and I almost always get a great deal on little shrubs. Butterfly bushes, blueberries and forsythias! Unfortunately, forsythias (at least these) were NOT deer proof, so they found a new home at my mom's house last month. More like deer dessert! LOL

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 9:42AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Lowes has a clearance rack (got 6 tulip bulbs for $1 the other day), but they and HD don't mark down the 6 packs or flats of annuals that don't look good. They say they get credit from the Co. when they return them. I think they just don't want people like us nursing them back to health! LOL
My other scores are the county fair flower show has a sale the day after the fair ends. All sorts of plants for good prices. They've really been going up the last couple of years, though.
Also our county jail has a program where the best inmates can join this program where they actually learn a trade!All plants are grown organically and they have unreal prices! 1 gal plants are 1.50 and trees in large wooden planters go for $100!! Probably $500 or more at a tree store!
I also score plant from Sonomacountygardenersexchange we trade and offer cuttings etc.. ALSO (hmmmmm more than a couple!) there is a free seed bank each month!
Sonoma County is a very ag area! Nancy

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 2:01AM
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teeandcee(Florida 9b)

I love hearing about these bargains. I always check the bargain rack first. I'm sure you all know that thrill you get when you walk in and spot that rack right away.

A couple of years ago I found several somewhat ratty looking salvias for $1 each, gallon sized, that are doing wonderfully. Last year I found an end-of-season 3-gallon Japanese maple for $12. I just put it in the ground last week and it's perfect for the spot.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 9:04PM
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natalie4b(7b GA)

Paid 75 cents for Easter Lilies today. Hopefully they will come back next year after I plant them, and the next...
I was told peonies might go on clearance this Thursday in Lowes, since they are done blooming (that will be 3 dollars each).
Clearance racks are my life saver, considering the amount I buy.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 2:02PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

Hi Plantmaven, yep I did conduct a raid on your Lowe's on the way home. I picked up three Russian Sage and a Betony. I had a Gaura too but the lady next to me asked about it. When I showed her its butterfly flowers the little girl with her was so mesmerized I handed it over. It's only a plant after all.

I sent you an email.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 4:38PM
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I always check the clearance rack at Lowe's. I stop by the store several times a week.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 10:15PM
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