Free Flowers

Free Planters, Free Seeds, Free Soil

Free end-of-season plants.

I live near a country market that sells seedlings and hanging baskets supplied by a nursery.  At the end of the season, these plants get marked down until they are no longer salable. Then they are put on a "Free" table. I shop at that table : )

Rescued Impatiens
The local X-Mart Stores follow the same procedure except for the Free table. Often they are glad to have me remove a group of flats so they needn't handle them. Sometimes I pay a pittance for them. Often I can trim them back to new growth and enjoy them during the autumn months.
But I always get MUCH more than I paid for,  because they include soil Amendments that get spread on my garden,  and  next years Seeds, and hanging Baskets, plastic Flats, and Pots that don't help clog the landfills.

I get flats full of spent flowers that may or may not have blooms or identifying labels. But they always have Hundreds of Seeds! No matter how dead the plants are, the seeds are Very much alive. 

And these seeds just happen to be some of the Highest..Quality available, since the nursery only delivers the Very Best seedlings. However, if they are from cross-pollinated plants, they may not produce 'true'.

A bloom photographed on July 15, 2002 would be numbered 020715- 01Pansy Pink. A different bloom on the same day would be  020715- 02 Mallow Blue, etc.

If there is a label, I mark the date on the back and put it in the airtight container with the seeds and a packet of Silica Gel. 

If I cannot identify the plants, I put the seeds in a container marked "mixture Short" or "mixture Medium" or "mixture Tall". It's always a pleasant surprise when these unnamed mixtures sprout and bloom in my flower gardens the following year.

If you know a Boy Scout or Girl Scout group,  or have a Nursing home nearby,
the members may be delighted to have your contribution of Seeds or Flowers.
And your affiliation with them may make Garden Centers more anxious to donate their rejects.

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