Thrifty Perennial Garden: Beg, Borrow & Seed

Bees love the flowers of easy to grow from seed Centaurea Montana.

Gardening on the cheap? Lots of space to fill and not that much money to spend? You don’t have to have a boring garden full of grass, when you would rather have beds full of perennials that pop up year after year. Shopping at the nursery is fun, but sometimes our gardening eyes are bigger than our wallets.

Seeding your own plants is one of the best ways to get large quantities of garden stock on a budget.You might be thinking that perennials are difficult to grow from seed but many varieties are easy.

The Centaurea Montana plants in the picture at top were seeded by me many years ago and they continue to flourish today. I love their intensely blue radial flowers that remind me of gas jets. They are early spring bloomers and loved by bees. Plus, they self sow, popping up here and there in the garden. I’ve even had them pop up in the grass. While they’re tough plants, they stay in well behaved clumps.

Easy Perennials to grow from seed

• Lupins

• Pyrethrum (Painted Daisy)

• Rudbeckias (Black-Eyed Susans). I’ve had great success with Indian Summer and Irish Eyes.

• Columbine

• Echinacea (Coneflower)

• Blue Flax

I gleaned this Festiva Maxima peony from an old abandoned farmhouse.

Perennials to Beg and Borrow

Get free offshoots from friends and neighbours or quite cheaply at Community Garden Club sales. This list includes robust plants that increase quickly, so your friends are happy to share, but are not invasive.

• Perennial Geranium

• Lamium

• Irises (Regular rhizomatic and Siberian)

• Shasta Daisies

• Chrysanthemum

• Peonies

• Daylilies (Named Varieties only, or the scented Lemon Lilies – Hemerocallis Flava)

• Nepeta (Ornamental Catnip)

• Sedum

• Herbs: Chives and Garlic Chives, Lemon Balm, Egyptian Walking Onion

Think carefully before you adopt any of these so-happy-to-grow-you-wish-they’d-stop-already varieties:

• Goutweed

• Lily of the Valley

• Vinca

• Orange Species Daylily (Hemerocallis Fulva)

Photos: Sarah Battersby

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