The author cited several ways to get free plants and how they just weren't quality plants of any account. She completely left out propagating plants. You can get almost any plant to root in some way shape or form. How do you think they amass so many kinds of plants of the same variety in the stores? All those fancy echinaceas won't come true from seed so they do root cuttings. Those beautiful shrubs you see are propagated through stem cuttings. Sure they take time to grow from a little 6 inch cutting to a large bushy foundation planting but you absolutely CAN get great plants for free. All you have to do is know someone who has the plant you like and ask to take a few cuttings at the right time of the year - then propagate!
Oh wait - maybe it isn't completely free - you might have to pay for gas to get to your friends house...
...but if you were going there anyway it's FREE!
So what free plants have I made lately? I'm glad you asked!
Firethorn or pyracantha - greenwood cuttings made about 6 weeks ago. 5 of 7 rooted.
River Birch - Betula nigra. The first two cuttings from this batch of 5-6 rooted a couple weeks ago. These two took a little longer but are well rooted now.
Hydrangeas! Two of them are my favorite variegated lacecap kind. Easy, easy, easy to root! Did I say easy?
'Otto Luyken' Cherry Laurel. These root just the same as a the Schip laurel. Of course these would probably all be termed as 'boring' plants but you know what? The smallest 'Otto Luyken' you can buy in the stores runs about $20. Larger pots can be over $50. I have to say I like the price of the free ones!
So what do you think? Do you have to spend a ton of money to have a great garden?