Gardening on the cheap: End-of-season sales!

by Amy on July 12, 2009

Think it’s too late to add annual and perennial flowers to your garden?  Think again.

This time of year, at least here in Southern Ontario, the garden centres are slowing down.  Many of them are getting ready to close for the season, especially those that are erected for the short-term, like the garden centres that spring up outside of grocery stores every spring.  Almost every year, I try to swoop in on the last-minute sales at the Loblaws garden centres.

Right now, the Loblaws garden centre near my house has everything marked down to 50% off since they’re closing on July 18.  This means that the hanging baskets of geraniums that I  bought back in late May at the price of 2 for $25 are now 2 for $12.50.  (Naturally, I bought two more to hang outside my kitchen door.)  And I have to say, they are in just as good condition as those I bought back at the beginning of the season.  I also picked up an 8-pack of nicotiana, originally priced at $6.99, now marked down to $1.44!  German ivy that was priced originally at $3.99 was also down to $1.44.  I used this opportunity to change over the planters on my front porch from a spring arrangement of violas and pansies, now looking a little worse for wear, to a summery nicotiana and german ivy combination. 

When shopping for sale plants toward the end of the season, be aware of the following:

  • Perennials may have already bloomed in their plastic containers.  This doesn’t mean that it’s too late to buy them.  I’ve bought past-blooming perennial plants late in the season many times.  Sure, you won’t have an instant colour impact, but next season they’ll come back in your garden better than ever.
  • Both annual and perennial flowers on sale might look a little ragged.  If you can look past yellowing or dead leaves and spent blooms, you’ll see that most of these plants are still in salvageable shape.  I usually clean them up right there at the garden centre, leaving a neat little pile of dead leaves, stems, and deadheads behind. 
  • Do avoid buying sale plants that are covered in powdery mildew or show evidence of other disease or insect infestation.  No sale price is worth the spread of disease among the existing plants in your garden.
  • Some garden centres will even mark down their tools, planters, fertilizers and potting soil.  This is a great time to stock up if you have space for storage until you need these items.

If you have a little patience and an eye for a bargain, this is a great time of year for budget-conscious gardeners to pick up some additional colour for your garden beds and containers. 

What deals have you found this year?

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