Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Procuring Plants from Odd Places

Maybe I should title this, “Procuring Plants from Unconventional Places.” Nah, I like the word odd better.

Let’s start out by getting the conventional places out of the way: greenhouse, store, seeds, friends and family's gardens. There, I think that covers it.

Now – the odd and unconventional places I’ve gotten plants:

  • Freecycle.
  • Yard & garage sales.
  • Church/library/school/town plant sales.
  • The side of the road.
  • The woods behind my house.
  • The lounge of the building I had a student worker job in.
  • My college’s landscaping.
  • The abandoned part of my previous office building.
  • The dentist.

Freecycle, yard/garage sales, and local sales are great places for free and cheap plants that are pretty darn likely to grow in your area. I’ve gotten some really nice plants this way. These fall more into the unconventional category.

As long as you ask permission (if you can determine who the owner is) people are generally generous with sharing side of the road plants. There was this really cool, feathery grass I dug up once. And catnip.

I’ve dug up several interesting things from the woods behind my house and put them on the north side of my home where it’s super-shady. Technically, the land belongs to my neighbor, but she’s given me permission to do whatever I want out there. Just no motor vehicles. (Paintball is apparently OK tho – seriously, my 70-something year old neighbor told me it’d be fine to play paintball out there. Her great-nephews told her all about paintball and she’s fascinated.)

There was a nice lounge in the building that I had a student worker job in, way back in college. There were all of these great pothos ivy plants, so I trimmed a few and ended up with a few dozen starts. You couldn’t even tell I’d been in there.

Speaking of college, my college changed their landscaping every season, and probably still does. As in, threw away thousands of tulip bulbs every spring to replace them with summer flowers, and then threw away those summer flowers and replaced them with fall flowers, and then threw away those fall flowers to plant bulbs for spring. So wasteful! No wonder they charge through the bleeping nose. Jeez. ANYHOW – I happened to be walking through one day when the landscaper was digging up one of the plants that I had particularly admired. I asked him if I could have it. Not only was he glad to give it to me, he told me how to take care of it and everything. He also told me about the college’s landscaping policy. It still boggles my mind.

Five years ago or so, I was hired as a temp at a company who had just laid off half of their workforce. Literally, half of the building was empty after they relocated everyone to the front of the building. I was perusing through the abandoned part of the building, looking for office supplies to finish a project I was working on, and I found two orchid plants. Yes, two orchid plants. I totally took those puppies home.

And, finally, my dentist’s office has some gorgeous plants. TONS of gorgeous plants hanging from tall, airy ceilings. One of the admins in the front office takes care of them, and man does she have a green thumb. The last two times I was there I’ve come home with plant cuttings – one handful of philodendron and three cuttings of heavily variegated pothos ivy. They’re happy to share cuttings, and I’m happy to take some home! -- By the by, my dentist is HOT. Smokin’ hot. Like boy-next-door melded with Dr. McHotness, hair flopping across his forehead and a trimmed beard, gorgeous. <le sigh>

So, where are the oddest places that you’ve procured plants? Any more ideas for a plant-o-holic like myself?

I want to stress here - asking permission is A MUST. Don't just go and dig up or cut plants from other people's property without asking permission.

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