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  Butterfly Gardens
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  Container Water Gardens
  Container Water Gardens (2)
  Garden Accessories
  Gardening For Bouquets
  Gardening Fun with Children
  Gardening in a Square Foot
  Herbs for a Spaghetti Garden
  Herbs for a Tea Garden
  Inexpensive Gardens
  Nose Garden
  Preserving Potpourri
  Preserving Fruits
  Rose Garden Ideas
  Serenity Garden
  Square Foot Garden Salad
  Starting Seeds Indoors
  Tropical Gardens in Un-Tropical Climates  

Building a Garden From Nothing at All

Gardening doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby. Some of the most beautiful gardens I’ve ever grown cost me nothing but sweat and sore muscles – and paid off with the kind of satisfaction you’ll never get from a paid-for landscape. Throughout the spring and summer, I have the pleasure of tending the miniature rose bush I got for Mother’s Day six years ago, the Virginia bluebells that grew in my mother’s garden, the border of hostas that my son dug up from behind a neighboring store (with the store owner’s permission, of course!) It is a found garden – a friendship garden – a special garden that was never planned, and is all the more beautiful because of it.

Building a Found Garden takes a bit of foresight – but just a bit. To start, you’ll need three things:

A Sunny Spot In Your Yard

Location is everything. Find a spot in your yard that gets plenty of sun during the day – at least 6-8 hours of full sun is ideal. If you don’t have a spot like that, though, you can work around it by being careful in your selection of plants. If the spot you want to fill with flowers is shady, look in other shady gardens for plants that do well in the shade.

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Simple Garden Tools

A spade and a rake are all the tools you’ll need to get your garden going. If you’re really skimping it, and only can afford one tool – get a 4-tine pitchfork. It’s one of the most versatile gardening tools ever created. You can loosen and turn soil with it, shake out the biggest of the rocks, and even use it to mound earth for trenches.

Friends, Neighbors and Vacant Lots

The beauty of a found garden is how it grows and what it comes to mean. If a neighbor has a beautiful garden, chances are good that they’d be happy to share a few cuttings for your garden. The woods behind your house or the vacant lot across the street can yield a bumper crop of stones to build walls and borders. Keep your eyes open for plants along the side of the road.

Building a Border From Found Materials

Borders and walls are an easy way to set off a flower bed or garden patch from the rest of your yard. You can use broken paving stones, bricks, and construction blocks – any material that is weatherproof.  Simply dig a trench around your garden perimeter that is 2-3 inches wider than the base of the stones or bricks, stand them on end, and pack dirt around them.

Acquiring Plants for a Found Garden

If you have gardeners among your acquaintances, you won’t have to look far at all for flowers, border plants, bushes and more. If you do your building during “gardening season”, you can take advantage of the cultivation efforts of friends and neighbors. If you notice a neighbor out in his garden transplanting or moving plants, don’t be shy. Ask for root divisions or cuttings for your own garden. True gardeners believe in sharing the wealth.

DO NOT dig up plants from public gardens, wildlife sanctuaries, along highways or in public parks. It’s illegal in nearly every state, and many states have protected species of flowers and plants. Stick to friends, neighbors and properties whose owners are known to you.

Among the best plants to propagate from root divisions are:

Hosta – Shade-tolerant perennials that make beautiful borders or ground cover, hostas are easily among the most popular border plants in the United States. They spread so easily that gardeners often thin them by root division.

Iris and day lilies – Like hostas, irises and day lilies spread quickly. Gardeners often thin them in the autumn to prepare for a spring growing season, and are nearly always willing to part with a few root divisions. Plant in the fall and let them winter over – they’ll bloom in the spring.

Virginia bluebells – Wildly beautiful, the delicate violet flowers of the Virginia bluebell open in the sun, and close in the shade. They also grow like wildfire wherever you plant them.