Back to Military Life

Where to get great plants

Where to go, where to save, when making a garden grow

Creating a unique and cost-saving garden is possible here in the Northwest. File photo

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

If you want to make a statement in your garden this summer, knowing where to resource unique plants, and knowing how to save, are two concepts every green thumb should know. 

We are blessed to garden in Zone 8b (that is how you define the South Sound) because most plants are hardy here, meaning, we have a wide range of opportunities and time to grow most things. 

Here are some facts to get you started.


If there is one thing every gardener looking to plant lots of things in their plot should know, is how to save money. Garden plants aren't always cheap, especially ones that aren't in every other person's front yard. The more unique, the more ca-ching. But there are a few tips to consider. 

First, if you like what your neighbor has, and you are on good terms, ask for a cutting. To do this, just watch a couple YouTube videos on taking plant cuttings and you'll be ready. Cuttings are free.

Next, know where the discount shelves are at Lowes and Home Depot. Every day, practically, they move perfectly good plants that look worn to these racks and typically cut the price by half. You just need some patience. For example, they'll put daffodils they didn't sell while in bloom there. The only caveat is, you'll plant these bulbs this year and not get to enjoy them until next year. But heck, cheap is cheap. They'll also move other plants that wilted a little, or the leaves turned a bit brown. Nothing is dead, though. Bring them home, cut them back, and next year you'll be glad you did. 

Another way to save is join the email list at mail order companies like Brecks and American Gardens. They are always having sales, and if you are patient, and know your prices, you'll pick up some good deals on starter plants. These are typically small, sometimes bareroot or just the bulbs, but in the long run, you'll save money as you slowly build your dream space.

If you are up for a trip to Silverdale, every year Farmland Pets & Feed (9000 Silverdale Way NW) offer rhododendrons and azaleas at rock-bottom prices. These plants are roughly five or more years old - so a good size for under $30 each. They are healthy and as with rhodies, they will outlast you, so broken down on a yearly basis, they only cost pennies.

Finally, Fred Meyer is a great resource for plants, because unlike other garden centers, they focus on tons of perineal and annual starts. The plants aren't fully grown, but they will be in a couple months. Basically, they are the size they are supposed to be now, and will be great in your gardens this summer. By buying them smaller now, you save half the price for something you'll pay much more for this summer at the box garden centers. Plus, Fred Meyers has a huge selection of these, so load up on foxgloves, lupines, peonies, cosmos and much, much more for roughly $3.75 each.

Fruits and Veg

Our vegetable and fruit opportunities are immense here, because in Zone 8b, you literally can grow food year-round. No, you won't have tomatoes in January (unless you have a heated greenhouse), but you can grow cold-weather lettuce, cabbages, onions, garlic and more right through the winter. Raised beds will work a little better because they hold heat; however, start small and expand your farming skills as you go. And the cheapest way to do this is with seeds. Ed Hume has a good line of PNW-compatible seeds at most stores, or go more high-end with NW companies like Territorial Seeds online.

Unique Plants

Now, if you want to "invest" in your yard while building an amazing garden, there are a couple favorite places for great selections of plants. These are the places you are going to splurge; however, you'll bring home varieties you'll never find at Lowes or Home Depot. I am a fan of West Olympia's Bark & Garden Center (4004 Harrison Ave. NW). They are incredibly knowledgeable of what they sell, and their variety can't be beat. You can get Fatsia Japonicas, Candelabra Hydrangeas, Spanish Lavender, and Mexican Orange Blossom, just to name a few.

Plan to make this summer enriched by creating a space for retreat and beauty.

Read next close


Ice cream season

comments powered by Disqus