6X12 bare area - ideas for tight $$

bedford8a(8a)August 8, 2012

I am a teacher and in two weeks I need to get a garden bed presentable for an open house before school begins. We usually use this area as a vegetable garden, but the grounds crew pulled out EVERYTHING(mulch, lirope border, etc.) leaving only bare ground!

I need a temporary "display" because the area will be planted by students in late September. I suggested a bird bath or wire sculptures from Big Lots to fill the space to the principal. She says we are on a tight budget so don't spend much.

Do you have any ideas? The soil has already been amended, the garden is irrigated and it gets 6 hours of sun daily.

Thanks so much in advance.

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Perhaps some end of season plants? Lowe's and I'm sure other places has a clearance table where the plants are 75% off, so they are relatively inexpensive. Plus, since you only need them for about 6 - 8 weeks, then the fact that they are end of the season items will make the timing right and you won't mind pulling them for the student's plantings.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 11:42AM
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weldontx(z 8a TX)

Since it will be a student garden, why not make it "look" like a garden. Would the grounds crew till the soil and make rows in the soil? With ALL that time you have with prep and inservice (Joke, Joke) take 4 X 6 index cards and make row markers. Tomato, Lettuce, Beets, Marigold, etc. and put them at the end of each row. Some store might even donate packets of seeds that could be stapled to a tongue depresser and pushed into the soil. Do you know a landscaper? He might have "extra" pots of plants that he'd donate.
AND please know that you are appreciated. Keep up the good work.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 5:56PM
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PKponder TX(7b)

You just have to ask, what was the ground's crew thinking? I have liriope in all of my borders and I'm willing to share if it will help. Timing is not ideal for dividing and transplanting but it's pretty tough and would likely make it. I also drive through Bedford 4 days a week on my commute. Send me an email if I can help.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 10:37PM
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tx_ag_95(7/8 Lewisville)

I like Weldon's idea, especially since the grounds crew should help with fixing their mistake. I'd also ask them if they (or any of their contacts) would be able to provide the mulch for the fall (or even next spring!) planting.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 7:58PM
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I'd stop at your favorite Lowe's and see what's on their pitiful plants sale racks. Recent high temps might mean you get a big selection. You might be pleasantly surprised with some pentas, maybe some perriwinkles or some marigolds that would go nicely as a border to the veggies to be.

How about those little zinnias like profusion or the species type, they are happy to be in a veggie garden and don't take up much space. I love ornamental peppers, but they might bake...but maybe not.

You could tell them your "cause" and see if they have a cheap birdbath or even one that has a crack in it. I have mended my big fountain with a tube of silicone for 2 years now.

Maybe someone has an old wheel barrel you can spray paint and fill with perriwinkles and wheel away at the end of September.

Hope the grounds folks make it a bed again.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 11:36PM
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I agree with Weldon: work on the idea and on what it will be. Would the visitors pass by the area? How about a colorful flower shaped sign stating "Future XYZ Elementary Garden"? You could also make smaller flower or vegetable shaped signs simulating the actual plants stating how gardening benefits your students (real life connections, authentic learning, good nutritional habits, etc). If you want to add a realia touch to it, you can also get 2 jumbo packs of colorful annuals (vinca,verbena, penta or anything available)and plant them among the signs. I recently bought the jumbo packets at $1.50 (6 plants)or individual plants at 98 cents. 15 bucks should get you about 12 plants.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 3:00PM
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I started on the garden bed today and I used all of your ideas. I made furrows in the ground to make it look like we were planting something. I did find clearance garden things at Big Lots and clearance plants at Lowe's, and I will put the plants in a big galvanized steel tub I will lend the school. The ideas for plant markers was really helpful. I'm using old fence wood to make the plant markers, and I will use the wood to also make the "Future XYZ School Garden" sign. The garden should have a child-like, rustic feel to it.

Any more ideas? Keep them coming...I have a little more than a week until Open House!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 4:31PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Oh, sounds beautiful. I thought all these ideas offered on the thread were great and it's wonderful of you to put them into operation. It's a lot of work and as someone above said "You're appreciated!".

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 6:20PM
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Lynn Marie

If you took pictures (before and/or during and/or after) we'd love to see them!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 10:43PM
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Sorry about being so late but I would think as you are on a budget that you should have asked your students if their parents might have plants they could donate. Most gardeners love to share. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 8:39PM
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call the garden clubs in your area, if you go to the swaps in your area get ahold of your fellow swappers.
Our big box nursery has everything 70% off right now, if yu have one of those places this is a good chance to pick up some things you`ve been wanting, plant them pot and all in the garden for now.
Good luck! And thank you for being so involved with the kids.
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 2:18PM
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weldontx(z 8a TX)

Just like an elementary teacher......creative to a fault!
GOOD JOB! Would like to see your classroom.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 8:19AM
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