SHOP BY DEPARTMENT
Houzz Logo Print
melissa_thefarm

How much do you spend on your garden in a year?

melissa_thefarm
12 years ago

Someone asked this question a few years ago, and now I'd appreciate an update, plus information on the size of your garden, from those of you who're willing to share. Plants, soil amendments, paid labor, tools, everything. I want a certain sum for the fall, and my husband thinks I'm crazy. I think he has no idea how thrifty I am. Could be I'm wrong and if so the feedback will help me adjust MY ideas. Anyway, that's the story. Thanks!

Melissa

Comments (26)

  • silverkelt
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Rose Order 1 $150.00 with shipping
    Misc Rose Budget $50.00
    Day lily Seedling Budged 150.00
    Misc Nursery Budget $50.00
    Seed Budget 50.00
    Fertilizer / Alfalfa or misc chemical 50.00

    Labor free.. Me,
    Compost free.. dump has it and lets you go get it...
    Mulch.. sometimes free.. they have to cut down trees on all of our roads due to powerlines.. last year I grabbed a couple truckloads worth.. but I also chipped my own and that cost me 150.00 but I had to do it as I had tons of brush..

    I think each of us has certain amounts we can spend.. I have around 400-500 a year but I have to break it up throughout the year.

    Tell your husband if he wants to start saving money to start moving the rocks himself =).. I just built a rockwall that took me a couple days, all the rocks are from the surronding hills, after the rain washes them off it will look nice, I still have to add compost in front and back of it though.

    I also wintersow.. for the promix and 100 jugs of annuals , perienals , and veggies, I can pretty much fill large portions of my gardens that way, If I dont like it I just rip it out, becuase heck the seeds and soil cost me a few bucks at most.

    I just moved in, my first garden beds in front is now around 60 feet long by 10-15 feet wide depending on the spot, I started another small bed in front of my rock wall thats 20 feet long, behind and to the side will be a bog garden 15X 15 or so.

    I have a daylily seedling bed around 10X 10 and a mixed blueberry bed with other stuff same size.

    I will be starting work on my back bed soon though, it will be around 20 long and 30 wide or so. I will then start making shade beds, a spot for a couple of apple trees.

    The problem I have is cutting and removing the trees, again its my labor or sometimes my dad helps, so that saves a ton of money.

    If you added labor to what Im doing in a years worth of time, I would add 3000.00 to 5000.00 dollars worth on my other stuff. The plants would be the cheap part probably..

    Some of my Rock work so far.. I will be adding more as I go, just takes alot of effort and time..

    This one will look much better once I finish it , but this one will never be finished, Im hopping through the years to make it 100 feet or so long..

    {{gwi:251134}}

    Retaining wall I built last year..

    {{gwi:216703}}

    Garden beds dug by hand after removed trees..

    {{gwi:216705}}

    {{gwi:251135}}

    Start of back bed.. I cut more trees down to allow more light..

    {{gwi:251136}}

    Its going to take me years to get to where I want. If I estimate time ive put in so far in the last 2 years , I would say 300 hours in just tree and bed formation work, let alone planting and maintaining..

    More of a finished look, I have extened this bed all away around front now though, which I will be planting this year with roses and daylilies and other perrenials...

    {{gwi:251137}}

    I have elongated my veggie bed now as well, to around 15 long and 10 wide, Ill add a foot or two a year till im done with it.

    I always have more plans than time... I cant wait till it matures a little more like my last gardens though, it was a drag not to have that massive early summer blush of roses.

    Silverkelt

  • catsrose
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Melissa, I'm a residential landscaper/gardener and for the last several year have worked solo and kept it a very simple practice. I charge the cost of materials + labor. The labor is $20-$35/hr, depending on their age and address/income bracket and in Santa Fe I charged $5/hr more plus gas if I had to go more than five miles from the center of town.

    When I give estimates, I figure on $7 for a gallon, $15 for 2-gallon, 30 for 5 gallon plants. I figure one 20lb bag of generic fertilizer for a "typical" suburban yard per spring-summer, $300 for shredded mulch, and $50 for assorted soil amendments. I throw in an additional $50-$100 or sometimes 10% for miscellaneous. If there is hardscaping, irrigation, beds that require heavy composting orother specialties I get prices on those as well.

    In my own garden (I have 1.25 acres) my biggest cost is the roses themselves. I've been buying about 50 a year for the last few years. If money is tight I do without mulch and use the compost from my leaf pile and the kitchen peelings. I don't spray unless it is a horrible year for blackspot. I scrounge a lot--bricks and rocks for borders. On good years I buy arbors and fancy nutrients. Last year I spent $1000 on cleaning up my oak trees.

    The things about roses is they are pretty tough. They will survive the lean years. A few years ago I had to replace my furnace and that just killed my garden budget. I bought the roses and that was all. I stuck them in the ground and crossed my fingers. Almost all of them made it.

  • Related Discussions

    How much do you spend on your garden per year?

    Q

    Comments (3)
    Yes...Nice Wagon! I've never really kept track of it, but do think it might be interesting to see just how much (or how little) I spend on my healthy obsession I call hobby gardening. This season (so far), it has been one small plant coop (cost-can't remember) 4 bales potting mix-$28 total 30 tomato plants-$5 Pepper plants-$4 2 shrubs...a variegated boxwood, and a new lilac (to add to my collection)...about $12 total unknown amount on postage seeds trades unknown amount on postage on plant trades...but so worth it for for what I receive in exchange. Yesterday I spent $12 on plant trade postage. I should figure up just what all I receive in return for that small investment. When trading, the digging, labeling, and packing of the boxes is the biggie...moreso than the actual cost, as it involves so much time to do it with great care and attention to packing them the best possible way. Sue
    ...See More

    how much do you guys save on your grocery bill from your garden?

    Q

    Comments (20)
    It would be difficult (and time-consuming) to add that up, but especially if you buy organic vegetables, you will save money. Last year I purchased two kale plants and at the time I bought them I thought they were sort of expensive, I think they were over a dollar apiece. But they produced enormous amounts of kale for many months, until our weather got really hot in the early summer. I think I could have kept them alive through the summer if I had tried, but I needed the space for other things, and by then the kale leaves were tasting bitter. But for all those months, I noticed that organic kale of the same variety at the farmers market was about $4 a bunch. If I had bought just one bunch each week I guess would have saved between $80 and $100 just on kale. I was eating at least that much of it, and giving more away. Then there was the organic looseleaf lettuce I grew. I paid $2 or $3 for a large packet of mixed seed (still using it this year) and also supplied myself, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Organic lettuce was going for $2 to $3 a head but since I cut my lettuce leaves with scissors and let them regrow from the roots, I used the same plants all fall and winter and spring and saved an awful lot of money for myself and others. Beets were another good example. They are ridiculously easy to grow and a seed packet seems to last a lifetime. Yet organic beets (heck, even non-organic fresh beets) are very expensive at the market. Not every vegetable provides such a drastic cost comparison, of course. Zucchini squash is usually pretty cheap at the store, and of course it produces so much on the vine that you want to pay people to take it off your hands. Some other vegetables can be bought cheaply, although if you buy only organic vegetables most of those will cost twice as much as non-organic and that makes your cost comparison with homegrown a little more meaningful. But as most every gardener points out, the taste of homegrown food is much better, and the knowledge that food you grew yourself is safe for you and your family is priceless. When you factor in pride of accomplishment, convenience at cooking time, and the joy and pleasure of being close to nature, the value of gardening rises exponentially.
    ...See More

    Okay, tell the truth. How much do you spend

    Q

    Comments (50)
    i've already spent about$300 on compost and potting mix.I bought 2 yards of the potting mix for my plants I bring home from work and my ws babies.I do my own cuttings also. i use the seed exchange forum for about 95% of my seeds so not too much cost there.. just stamps I think I spent $20. recycle the bubble mailers. I used to spend a ton of money on plants. i've cut way back. hubby builds my arbors and fences and such with wood off of jobs he's done. He brought me a sunflower bird bath from a demo job and brought me posts and troughs, a swinging bench that he dug out of the dump. he's a very cool guy. my brother is giving me a bunch of pavers and edging and soil that he and his wife decided not to use. decided they don't have a green thumb and are moving to an apartment. they are taking the lavander rose I gave them as a wedding present. it was thier color for the wedding. she's going to have me pot it for her. she's afraid she'll kill it. But, back to the original question i spend about $500 a year or so. Oh, I havent gone out to Northwest gardens yet....oh my...do I hear a cha ching coming on? flowerchild5
    ...See More

    How many hours a week do you estimate you spend gardening?

    Q

    Comments (15)
    In the spring, 24-30 hours. Taking care of the leaves left over from fall is rough. The I completely weed each bed before adding mulch. I often don't finish that until Memorial weekend. One bed in the wild yard didn't even get that treatment. It's been lucky to get water this year. Right now, I probably spend 14-20 hours a week. I once had someone ask what I had to "do" in the garden... wasn't I "done" yet? LOL. I started physical therapy last week, this time for my shoulders. She also asked what I had to do. "You move plants??" I'm very envious of my next door neighbors who have a fabulously perfect yard. They're also 80 years old and were retired before we moved here. I figure I have time to get to that point. Then I can be a full time gardener.
    ...See More
  • harborrose_pnw
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Melissa,
    are you in a major expansion mode and that's what is at the back of your large budget?

    It seems to me there's a difference between maintenance costs and minimal replacement costs of a settled garden and expansion costs.

    Maintenance in Alabama would have been for alfalfa and fish emulsion ($50?) and $100 for new roses. Horse manure - free. Gardening labor - well that's me. Mulch - free (tied to my labor in shredding leaves and chipping downed branches).

    New garden here in Washington ... lots more, but mostly tied to plant costs- new roses, clematis, daylilies, perennials, annuals, containers, soil, stone, wood for trellises, etc. Still free labor, still in the scrounging mode for manure, mulch, etc.

    Gean

  • melissa_thefarm
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Expansion mode, absolutely. I'm hoping to create a display garden and use it for teaching purposes one day--dreams!!!
    Melissa

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    At a rough estimate about $1200 a year which includes purchase of roses, other plants, alfalfa meal, bagged soil and water. Leaf mulch is from our property. We have 1.63 acres but only garden on the areas around the house. I have 92 roses, with an additional 50 roses that were discarded, and don't know how many companion plants. My husband supplied the majority of the labor with me contributing most of the weeding and all the mulching, deadheading and fertilizing. Hardscaping was already in place and we built no structures such as arbors or pergolas.

    Ingrid

  • hoovb zone 9 sunset 23
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Easier to convince the DH to spend $ on the garden when you also grow veggies and fruits. When I added up what we saved by growing our own, the gardening budget suddenly got to grow. :)

  • lavender_lass
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Good point hoovb! It makes it easier to get the roses in, when there are also fruits, vegetables and herbs in the garden :)

    I'd have roses all around my potager, if it weren't for the deer. I'm thinking of transplanting some of the wild roses around it, which the deer don't seem to like.

    My budget was nice sized this year, but I doubt I'll have that much in the future (we refinanced the house). I have probably spent about $700 for roses, a metal arbor with two benches and fencing material for the potager. I may have to wait until next year to get raspberries and more blueberries and a few more apple trees :)

  • le_jardin_of_roses
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Melissa, in the few years that I have had a garden, it has varied a bit, but generally between $500 and $1500 a year. I tend to buy expensive pots and outdoor decor, as well as rose orders, soil, rose food etc., etc. You got me thinking about being better with my garden budget. I tend to run wild when it comes to my garden. You see, I have this vision of how it should all be that I keep chasing. :)

    Juliet

  • Campanula UK Z8
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I am guessing about 1200 goes on plants, bulbs, seeds, tools, sundries such as fleece and netting, fruit bush renewal, soil nutrition, most years. This does not include any structural stuff such as paths, hard landscaping and so on. Like catsrose, I also work as a garden designer/builder/maintenance and charge £18 per hour for labour with material costs passed on to the cutsomer. The average cost of a smallish build with very basic features such as terrace, lawn, plants, beds and paths is about £3,500 - £5,000 but I have worked on gardens where the bill was more like £22,000. But hey, melissa, you really do get what you pay for - I am staggered at the meaness of some of my fellow allotment holders, some of whom have never replaced a single fruit bush or even strawberry plant even though theirs are virused and pest-ridden. You can do your own work, make your own compost and save your own seeds - I do all that - but you need to spend money for a decent garden - people who claim otherwise are being disingenuous. BTW, my allotments (2) are only 60mx20m (both together) and my garden is 7mx11m...but this is my major pleasure and I begrudge not a single penny.

  • ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    When I think about how much pleasure the garden gives me I can't really place a dollar worth on it. We don't smoke, drink, party or buy many luxury goods. None of those things mean anything to us, but the garden is something we live with every day and we and even our visitors enjoy it very much. Obviously if you don't have the money for extras you'll be frugal by necessity but if some extra money is available, what better place to spend it?

    Ingrid

  • lori_elf z6b MD
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I am in maintenance mode and not expansion mode, so my garden budget is pretty frugal and I do the work myself.
    My estimate would be:
    $110 for 6 new roses including S&H to replace dead or underperformers
    $120 for mulch and compost
    $50 fertilizer
    $60 perennials to fill in bare spots
    $60 bulbs for fall to fill in
    $55 for blueberry bushes
    $30 seeds and seed starter supplies for annuals and veggies
    ~$500 yearly cost. Was much higher in earlier years or if I have a specific project idea.

  • melissa_thefarm
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Well, I want to spend more than anyone who's written in so far, but I'm in expansion mode and have a big garden: my husband estimates about one hectare (about two and a half acres) although half of this is an area we've just begun to develop in the last year. I've told him I would like to have 2000, currently equal to about $2,700, for plants this fall, always assuming that the money can be found. He considers this outrageous, but the problem isn't really the sum itself, but rather having it and spending it in a brief period: the autumn, our planting season. We simply have different spending styles. My husband is a fritterer. He has no expensive tastes and doesn't spend money he doesn't have, so his frittering money away isn't a big problem. I'm strictly frugal and think twice before I buy a cup of coffee, but my garden is my life, and that's what I spend money on, and not a whole lot else.

    My proposed plant budget is roughly a thousand dollars for roses, all from specialist nurseries who are the only ones who have them, all bareroot, all the cheapest nurseries who have good plants and service. Last year I spent less--it was a bad year from a financial perspective--but the previous two or three years I had bought sixty-some roses each season, obviously one rose per variety.
    Most years I place a big order for the baby trees and shrubs that we so desperately need for hedging and woodland plantings and the garden beds. I buy from Dendroflor over in the neighborhood of Bologna. They supply baby plants to retail nurseries that grow the plants on and then sell them; but they sell to individuals like myself, with just a minimum price per order and plants in whatever number one pleases. A heavenly place: I was overjoyed when I discovered them because I need hundreds of trees and shrubs and just can't afford the prices for retail-sized plants. The owners are thoroughly competent and very nice. So we buy seedling oaks and flowering ashes, box, Berberis thunbergii and julianae, species laburnum, Italian pines, Mahonia aquifolium, ligustrum, and all the other innumerable common plants that make up gardens in northern Italy. Say three hundred dollars.
    I'm sick of never being able to find the perfectly common standard climbing honeysuckles that Italian nurseries don't sell (esp. varieties of L. periclymenum), so I want to buy several from a German nursery I found online that has a reasonable collection and good prices. Honeysuckles are plants that, once you have them, you have them, and they should be dead easy to propagate, so I can share them around. Say $100-$150.
    Clematis. This is one category I may be able to bring myself to put off, as I've found that several that we planted last year in spring are alive after all. Local nurseries carry them in spring, along with all the flowering shrubs, while the correct time to plant is almost always fall. The specialist Italian nurseries are expensive, but one of my gardening buddies who explores nurseries in the material world and online told me of a German nursery that has an excellent list and prices. Perhaps $150. I have no faith in my ability to propagate clematis, but I think I'd better begin learning.
    Lilacs. This is a big one. I have a weakness for large unfashionable slow-growing plants that have a brief but glorious, fragrant period of bloom that is their only beauty, and that essentially live forever. Lilacs are really hard to find in Europe, at least in my experience, beyond a handful of common varieties, and for all the foregoing reasons they're expensive. In Europe it appears that Mr. Lilac is Ole Heide of Denmark. I had a pleasant telephone chat with him about a year ago, and found out that a baby lilac will cost me, very roughly, about $25 including shipping. Last year I couldn't come up with the money, but really, lilacs are worth it, and I want to order a dozen plants and get them in the ground this fall. No doubt it will be five or six years before the plants really get going, but when, one day, I'm an old, old lady, in April I'll be able to hobble down to the bottom of the garden and rejoice in the lilacs, immortal even if I'm not. Lilacs thrive our conditions here and are one of the most typical flowering plants of our area, along with tall bearded irises, and I think a collection would be a fine thing.
    I also have a bad case of peony mania this year: see the comments above about lilacs, which apply almost perfectly to peonies as well. I'm particularly interested in Mediterranean species and hybrids, but also want a couple of the classic fluffy pink enormous Lactiflora hybrids. I've found a promising Italian nursery.
    Daphnes at this time appear impossible.
    Spring bulbs are indispensible as well as nice, though I have many clumps I can divide up.

    This list went on a lot longer than I intended. I too am a very thrifty gardener, a valiant scrounger, composter, recycler, and propagater, and one who puts the absolute minimum amount of money into hardscape, as for me it's really the plants that count. The hardscape has to be honest, but rebar pergolas are fine with me: I just can't afford costly. We do all our own work aside from occasional tractor hauling. I also have a number of gardening friends who like me love to propagate and who are generous as can be with cuttings and rooted plants: the garden is filled with their offerings. We don't do any kind of treatment for pests or disease, fertilize only with hay mulch and compost, and water principally to keep young plants alive the first summer.

    A last note: you might reasonably ask, why all the haste? Well, I'm fifty-two, I was never an iron woman, and my knees aren't in good enough shape to allow me to dig a lot; and my husband is seventy-five. He's a vigorous and active man and a most willing helper, but the fact is is that in a little less than five years he's going to be eighty years old. "But at my back I always hear/ Time's wingéd chariot hurrying near...."

    Melissa

  • harborrose_pnw
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    re, the haste - when that winged chariot has left your garden bereft of its gardener, what will happen to it? is there anyone in your family that will inherit your property and want to continue your garden?

    None of my progeny are inclined towards the pleasures of manure and thorns, and I expect whatever garden I am toiling in to be bulldozed at my demise by forward thinking future owners. This makes me enjoy every moment of what I do now.

    But I wonder if any of you plan your garden thinking about getting older and the difficulty of maintaining large gardens? I haven't yet but probably should. After I finish this last order...

  • seattlesuze
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Annualized costs for our shy quarter-acre garden run about $1500. Most of that is bulbs, labor and compost/fertilizer. We also buy seeds and propagation materials as well as climbing structures, chips, soaker hoses and so on. Our water cost is steady at $40 month. Our garden is planned with aging and impairments in mind. It's set up with good bones and if, god forbid, someday many of the roses have to be removed, it will remain pleasurable through the seasons. I find myself annoyed with lilac suckers from those we currently have and yet covet several of those in the Anne Belovich collection. It never ends.

  • elemire
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Melissa, did you try H.W.Hyde & Son for lilies? (http://www.hwhyde.co.uk/index.htm) I bought a few from them last winter, was quite pleased by the quality of the bulbs they have sent. Shipping costs were reasonable as well.

    Well, being married to a Dutch lad, I came to realize that a lot of small bills for the garden is better than one big one. :))) 3 roses for 10 euros is all fine, but 1 for 30 - it is sooo expensive. Generally though I have my own small budget and do not bother my DH with details. Also, DH most favorite plant is thistle, so if any online order contains a thistle, it usually all worth the money... Then again I do not shop for shoes, make-up or any other typical female thingies, so garden is the only expensive hobby I have.

    We have rather small garden (at least by US standarts) but since it is still in a process of development, it can be costly some years. This year I think it was roughly about 2000 euros, but that's partly because of the wood for the arbors and the soil improvements. My autumn budget will be much smaller though, I think somewhere around 100 euros, and that's mostly because I plan to buy a few fruit trees and bulbs.

    As for garden-after-gardener-is-gone, I have to deal with it from a bit different angle, since my parents health is getting worse and truly I still haven't decided what to do with their garden after. I really would hate to see it bulldozered, since finally it is mature garden and some plants that we planted 20 years ago finally are impressive specimens, but realistically 1000 km difference is a bit too big to even visit it frequently. Oh well, I better take cuttings I suppose.

  • Campanula UK Z8
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    melissa, most of your costs seem to be on plants but, if you are having any hard landscaping done, I forgot to mention that a good rule of thumb is one third materials to two thirds labour. Another thing worth mentioning is do not pay anyone to do any work unless you have seen what they are able to do - there are many cowboys out there who seem to believe that there is nothing to building. If you do get professional builders in and they do a good job, it will be money well spent. Once the foundations (paths and borders, structures etc.) are in place, they should last for many ,many years - much like building a house.
    Frankly, for the size of my plots, I know I spend a lot of my income on gardening, even though, like you, i also grow most of my own stuff from seeds and cuttings (and regularly do a september foray into our local botanic gardens with seed bags!) but I truly love plants. And I can understand your desire for certain types as I go through this too. But, you are creating beauty in the world and I feel that this excuses excessive spending. And in truth, I could spend on gardening like a maniac but I bet it wouldn't compare with many people's eating out or clothes buying budgets - and what do these pursuits create? Although plasnts are, in themselves, cheap, there are also so many of them...and all are totally desirable. For me, an average autumn bulb order will be around £80 and a bit less on the summer ones. I have also been replacing and adding to my fruit trees and bushes and have spent £300 or so over the last 3 years. Veg seeds are between £50 - £120 depending on whether I have got to seed swaps or not. This year, I bought 12 roses, so thats another £150. These are really not shattering sums of money, given the inherent value. Also, I am 53 and being a gardener makes you very aware of how many more growing seasons you may live to see. Although I am patient, waiting 5 years for some plants to grow from seed and shrubs to mature makes me spend even more money as I want to see something new and novel EVERY season. Look, what else would you want to spend money on - I have to say you must get your priorities right and, if you are at all similar to me, gardening is a huge priority, especially now that offspring are growing older and independent....and the all-pervading, almost overwhelming pleasure it gives me - I am not a religious woman but I feel plants provide all the miracles and wonders anyone could possibly ask for and have probably made me into a nicer, more tolerant and optimistic version of a better self. (as opposed to the generally cynical, curmudgeonly misanthrope I usually am)

  • cweathersby
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Not telling how much, cause it's WAY too much for a single chick with a government (small) paycheck.

    But all the money is on plants. No labor, no hardscape (one day in my dreams it'll be something other than mulch paths), ammendments are cheap compared to the money spent on plants.

    I live on 2 acres. Not in expansion mode... more like replacement mode. Since fall I have bought dozens of koi, 39 roses, 40 clematis, 4,000 bulbs, and some expensive but hard to find winter blooming plants. And miscellanous cool nursery purchases.
    You do the math..

    But,
    I am a total tight wad. People laugh at me for driving an old truck, for not buying jewlry and clothes and all of the stuff I would need to keep up with the Jones'. But I'm happy just being me.
    And being me means enjoying the HE*L out of myself in the garden.

    As far as getting older in an expanding garden goes- every single thing I put in is no maintenance. If I wanna play in it then I can, but if I don't, then it'll live.
    I honestly can't wait till I'm old and gray and get to see some of my slow growing plants - like camellias- fully mature. And if I stop babying everything right this second, then the majority of it'll still be here 100 years from now, barring a bulldozer.

  • ogrose_tx
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Probably about $500 this spring on landscaping soil, mulch, 5 roses bought online, pots, petunias, some brugmansias, a crinum. Probably $200 spent over the winter for asiatic lilies and other odds and ends.

    I'm really into amending our Texas clay in a large flowerbed project I've been working on over the winter using the lasagne method, probably have taken on too much for me at almost 69(yikes!) At any rate, I'm hauling soil, planting, looking at the mulch piled in the driveway and the weeds in the other flowerbeds. Always so much to do!

    I'm on family leave from work as my husband is very ill. When he is asleep I work in the back yard, it's very therapeutic.

  • imagardener2
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    When we retired I drew up a budget for expenses to make sure we could afford to retire :-)
    Some expenses are required (insurance, etc) but home/garden comes under "Optional" in case we have to cut back. I budget $300/mo for home and garden and since we have all the furniture we'll ever need and home decor is not my thing that money is spent on in the garden.

    I don't discuss money with my spouse of 30+ years. If I want to buy something I do it unless he would be involved in installation (try not to do that-never a good idea). He does his thing I do mine. Happy marriage. BTW I pay the bills.

  • lori_elf z6b MD
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Melissa,
    Money aside, you should consider the long-term aspects of maintenance of your garden before you expand it. Consider your age and your husband's age and what it would be like taking care of your garden 5 years from now, or 10 years. It takes about 5 years for plantings to get established, but I find that's when the real work starts to maintain it and keep it looking great. Perennials need to be divided, roses pruned and fertilized, step ladders to train climbers, beds weeded, watered, mulched, etc. I hope you realize your dream garden but don't let it turn into a pain in later years. I'm not quite 50 and in good shape for my age, but even so I'm starting to have trouble with hand tendonitis and knee issues (and divorced so I'm on my own) and that's what has driven me from expansion mode to maintenance mode with some planned contraction to make things easier.

  • jacqueline9CA
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Our lot is 1/3 acre, and the house and driveway take up some of that. We have over 100 roses. The rest of the garden is mostly mature bushes & trees & lawn, with some deep shade flower beds where I can't grow roses. We spend over $3,500 per year on it - lots of that is water, as our county has the highest water rates in the country - in the non rainy 8 months of the year it costs about $200-300 per month just to water the roses and the flower beds & the lawn (I know, I know - I have been lobbying my husband to get rid of the lawn, but no luck so far).

    Re what about the garden after the gardeners, we are the fourth generation of one family to be gardening here, so our garden has been lucky. We have old pictures going back 105 years, and can identify some of the trees, etc. in them - even some of the oldest rose bushes! Haven't figured out who the next generation will be, as we have no children - we will have to sell it to nieces & nephews!

    Jackie

  • melissa_thefarm
    Original Author
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Gean,
    I have thought about that, and my ideas on the subject are these:
    I have no moral obligation to conduct my life so as to avoid possible waste on the part of posterity. How can I know anyway what will happen after I'm dead, and, as long as I'm responsible and positive in my lifetime, why should I worry about it? True, perhaps the garden will end up in the hands of insensitive jerks who will bulldoze it, but on the other hand it may become the property of unspeakably thrilled horticulturalists. If I don't have to sell our place out of financial necessity before I die, it will go to our daughter. There's a good chance she won't want to live here--but then perhaps she will--and I don't think she's going to be a fanatical gardener like me--but maybe I'm mistaken. Or she could marry a husband who loves to garden. Or I could establish a foundation to maintain the garden and keep it open for visits and teaching. I don't know what the future will bring.
    About the maintenance, I already have more garden than I can keep up with. As I said, the reason I'm in such a hurry now is because I want to get the heavy work done while my husband can still do it: we need to dig our holes NOW, and afterwards the lilacs can grow in peace. I don't see why I shouldn't be pruning roses, pulling grass, and repotting plants when I'm eighty. My desire has always been a low-maintenance garden, without watering system, elaborate fertilizing regimen, or plants that require a significant amount of work on an ongoing basis. Peonies are my kind of plant: once you've dug the holes and planted them, you're basically done forever. I work on getting the soil in good condition and then planting it with plants that will grow well, protect each other, suffocate weeds, and so on: I'm working on creating a relatively stable ecosystem. Obviously it will never be completely labor free, being a garden, but I think I can make a garden that will be able to stand up to some neglect.
    My garden isn't a financial investment: the money comes from income that's there to spend, not out of retirement savings. I'm like cweathersby: my money goes to the garden, and most of the garden money goes for plants. My clothes come from Goodwill, and I shop there on half price day. The car we drive is the worst wreck in the township. I don't care: what matters to me are the hyacinths I planted years ago that come up faithfully, and to my surprise appear to be seeding as well. I didn't know hyacinths did that. The peonies that are budding now, the snow crocuses that have somehow spread down into the big garden, the wildish area where the Viburnum burkwoodii is getting ready to flower and where the wild hellebore we transplanted two years ago has caught and is growing. The garden is a possible source of future income, all the same. I think it can be a workable display and teaching garden, something our province can really use. I'd hope to earn at least enough money to hire help now and then to keep the garden going. I don't believe I'm going to starve in old age, but I have no expectations of even relative affluence. The garden is an investment in another sense: when I can no longer afford to buy many new plants, I'll have a good supply of material to swap for plants, and to give as gifts. If you can give, you're rich.
    A final word about bulldozed gardens. Human life is full of waste: I realize this when I see old abandoned houses and barns around here that are fine examples of brick- and stonework and that are collapsing because no one has any use for them any more. Lord help us, just think of war. Yes, my garden may meet a dreary end one day--or it may not--but does that mean it wasn't worth doing? And not just for my own joy. I profoundly believe that my garden is not just for me: I certainly don't deserve such a large and magnificent share of the world's largesse. I don't want to be like the giant who chased all the children out of his beautiful garden so he could enjoy it all on his own. I give cuttings and rooted plants, bits of succulents, bulbs and iris tubers. Even if my garden is destroyed (and maybe they'll miss some of the better hidden parts), it will live on in other people's gardens. When someone comes to visit the garden and see plants she's never heard of, or roses such as she didn't know existed, or a style of gardening that she didn't know was possible--carries those memories away and perhaps puts some of them into practice in her own patch of ground--my garden will live. Permanence--immortality--call it what you will--is not the issue: the patient, fatiguing, and often frustrating cultivation of goodness and honesty and beauty is. To quote Dickens, who is writing about a man's death at the end of a rightly lived life: "It is not that the hand is heavy and will fall down when released; it is not that the heart and pulse are still; but that the hand WAS open, generous, and true; the heart brave, warm, and tender; and the pulse a man's. Strike, Shadow, strike! And see his good deeds springing from the wound, to sow the world with life immortal!" As the actions of the good man live after his death, so the shared garden will never die.
    Melissa

  • ogrose_tx
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Melissa,
    What a great post, that sums it up perfectly.

  • hoovb zone 9 sunset 23
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Melissa,
    What a great post, that sums it up perfectly.

    Ditto! :)

  • myloki
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I spend in drips and drabs, so it is really hard to come up with a real figure. Besides, I'm sure I wouldn't want to own up to it any how. I have lived on our acre and a half for about 5 years and, even though sunny rose realstate is pretty full, we always seem to be in expansion mode. New arbors, brick edging (salvaged) patio expansion, tree work (oaks are dying), more privacy as more houses spring up around us, new outdoor garden friendly amusement for the kids (like willow tunnels), and fulfilling our dream of adding a pond.
    As for what happens to the garden when you're gone - you just might be surprised. We had a pretty nice garden with over 100 roses at our last house. It was a small 2 bedroom house, but we got way more than we thought we would in a crumby area because there was a bidding war between a young gardener and the couple who ended up BECOMING gardeners after they bought our house. You just never know how and who you have touched with a garden. From passers-by to passalong plants.
    -Stephanie

  • ala8south
    12 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Money wise, I spend less each year. This is a small property and I'm getting things established and running out of space to plant. I do think about how to handle it all in the future and am making small changes accordingly. So I'm starting a new thread on handling weeds....the most labor intensive part of gardening for me.

    Another thing I have thought about is what happens when we sell. Will potential buyers be put off by all the work that will be needed? But then I think, heck, all you have to do is not water/fertilize/care for it a year or 2 and the problem is solved. And if they are too stupid to realize that....then they don't need to own property anyway. Besides....I look at the garden waking up in spring and really don't care! It makes my soul sing to look at all the green and growing things.
    dell