I would like to reclaim the word cheap. To me it does not mean stingy, miserly or of poor quality. In this post-recession era I believe it now signifies resourceful, ingenious, grateful and green. I love to garden but don’t relish spending hundreds of dollars on it. I prefer splitting plants in the spring or fall, buying plants on sale that propagate well and taking really good care of the plants I have so they spread and thrive.

So this blog post is dedicated to a cheap gardening trick that will yield a brilliant fall show. I have a lot of chrysanthemums, commonly referred to as “mums.” They are a popular perennial that blooms profusely in the fall. These plants, along with your asters, need to pinched back or they will be long and strangely leggy by the fall. The general rule is to be sure to cut them back before the 4th of July. So get on it! Then just let them grow until the fall. Basically, you just use a good clippers to cut them so a few inches of green leaves and growth is still left on the plants stem. In the case of mums, save those cuttings!

This is what the mum cuttings look like.

Once you are done trimming the plant prepare a pot for your cheap garden magic! Just put in standard potting soil (you could do this in a plant bed, too) and wet it. They take your mum cuttings and pull off the bottom leaves so there is more bare stem to work with. Stick the cuttings in the soil and water them in. You will have to water them often and perhaps not all will make it, but the photo below shows what your mums and asters will look like around Halloween.

Thanks for reading! I am always looking for great photo stories to tell in the Chapelboro area. If you know of someone or something that should be documented please write to me at kophoto@chapelboro.com.