Come along as the Salvage Gardener shows how to find a great selection of hardy plants for no cost at all.
Just be sure to ask for permission before you dig and watch out for hazards.
My spring salvage gardener activities start like this, I had been walking the dogs by this house for months. It’s obviously been neglected and empty. Next came a for sale sign proclaiming a new build was coming.
The Salvage Gardener went into action.
After requesting permission from the realtor to dig up and take some plants I went to work. I loaded up my shovel, gloves, and a few containers. It’s also a good idea to put a little water in the pots if’s it’s really hot out. This way your plants will stay alive and healthy until you replant them. And bring water for you, because it was pretty cold on this day but I managed to work up a sweat. I was in the front and side yards while the demo crew was tearing up the sewer line in the backyard which had me picking up my pace a bit.
I’m sure they thought I was crazy, but I forged ahead and this is a story about finding treasure in what looked to be a mess of a garden.
As you can see the place was pretty overgrown and the only watering that had gone on was from melted snow in the week prior to my dig.
I could see the tulips flowering from the road
Bring a pointed shovel with a long handle.
I want to add a few tips here.You can dig with a hand held shovel but takes longer. **DIG about TEN inches into the dirt. You’ll see in the photos below what happens if you don’t. The old “off with their heads”. You salvage the bloom but you’ve gotta dig deeper to find the bulb. So my suggestion is to loosen up the soil arouthe plant. Then insert the shovel around the edge of the bulb area and gently lift. Gently is key. Fast will yield a cracking or popping sound and a broken stem. I put all of the plant into a bucket, usually by type of flower.
Much to my surprise I was able to get more than just tulips, but I’ll start with them. As you can see in the blue bucket, there was a lot under all of the weeds and tall grass.
Once I’m ready to plant. And fyi, the sooner the better on this or you’ll risk the plants drying out and dying. So first, sort out in bunches; the flowers with bulbs, bulbs, and leaves to be trashed. If you’ve brought soil from the dig site, keep it. The plants will be in less shock once transplanted into their new home. Once they are in the soil, remember to water thoroughly and deeply for the next few days.
The flowers that became detached from the bulbs will create lovely arrangement for around your home.
One of my favorite parts of the salvage gardener digs is figuring out the history of the plant.
In this yard, there were small bunches of tulips and 2 fragrant purple hyacinths nearby. From the size and placement, my guess is they were gifts, perhaps for Mother’s Day or Easter that had been transferred into the garden after the holiday. As you can see these did quite well in their new homes.
A bonus find came with this dig as well.
I saw these small green healthy-looking leaves attached to some roots, that looked kind of like ginger. After closer inspection, I found there some very small purple flowers attached to them. For those of you who knew to this blog, purple flowers are my favorite. So I pulled a few out with a shovel. My holiday gift theory was still flowing through my head and I discovered these were hydrangeas. Very poor and sickly looking but since there were purple flowers, into my buck they went. Once transplanted into my garden and practically flooded with water, they started to come back to life. It might not be a show stopper this year, but I’m excited to see what blooms in years to come.
Thanks for following along. Please post, share, and ask questions to join in on the garden party for your soul.