Many gardeners think they can buy their way into hortus sanus. Others despair that they don’t have a lot of money to spend on their gardens, so they’ll be forever in a statue of hortus insanus.
But money doesn’t have all that much to do with hortus sanus. Experienced gardeners know this, new gardeners soon learn this.
It certainly helps to have money – to hire stronger backs than you have, to buy bigger plants, nicer patio furniture, a sturdier fence, etc. etc. etc.
But no money? No problem!
You can spend very little and have a healthy garden, hortus sanus.
It takes no money to make your own compost from your own leaves and garden clippings. And get this – many of your neighbors will let you take their leaves for FREE. Not to mention that utility companies and some cities offer free mulch made from trees cut back along utility right-of-ways or donated by other homeowners.
The plants themselves offer a lot of freebies, too. You can dig and divide some perennials to get more plants, and they’ll thank you by growing even bigger as a result. Other plants self-sow freely which results in more plants popping up all over the garden. And open-pollinated vegetables and annual flowers are just waiting for you to collect their seeds, store them in a cool dry place over winter, and then sow them the next spring. They are depending on you to do this!
And if you have too many of one kind of plant, you can find other gardeners who have too many of another kind of plant and exchange plants with them. For free!
There are many other ideas for how to garden with very little money, including shopping at thrift stores, performing daring plant rescues at big box stores, and even driving slowly down the street on trash day to see what folks have left at their curbs for you to repurpose for your garden.
If you set that as a goal, to spend very little money on the garden, or you just have no extra money to spend on the garden, don’t despair. If you are a passionate gardener, you’ll figure out all kinds of ways to not spend money and still have a beautiful garden.
You will learn, too, that there are places to spend money… on good design, on good hardscape, on good tools, and occasionally on must-have focal point plants, the "bones" of the garden.
But mostly, you will learn that money doesn’t buy hortus sanus. Time in the garden does.
And once you figure that out, hortus sanus, a healthy garden, is within your reach.