Post by my sweet friend Ashley Daly co-owner of Retro Den in Tulsa, OK, a vintage furniture & housewares store. If your ever in Tulsa you have to check it out!
I’ve discussed clipping branches from your neighbor’s curb-dumped Christmas trees, now let’s talk about getting into their beds. Flower beds, that is. It hit me that this form of plant acquisition is really the vintage shopping of gardening. I look at my vintage wedding band and love that it says “Ring ‘O’ Happiness 8-25-28” inside. Because wearing it is being part of a legacy of love. Because my husband and I got it from some awesome people at a pawnshop at the bottom of my dad’s office in downtown Tulsa. The ring’s history and my acquisition of it is meaningful. And so it is with the newest plant additions to my yard this year. Call me a small business owner, but it doesn’t hurt that they were also free.
I am no plant expert (yet), but I do know the plants I’ve had the best success with are ones I got from friend’s yards. They are hearty, proven for the local climate and well past any stunting treatment garden stores may or may not have used to keep plants happy longer in their selling containers. What follows is a list of what plants I’ve been given and any notes on how that worked out for me.
Daylilies: My first venture into plant sharing. A co-worker gave me clumps of them on a cardboard tray five years ago. I planted them in my front beds, and they have bloomed before my eyes and into my heart every year since. The cool thing about these guys is that the clumps get bigger and bigger, and they stop blooming if they get too big. It’s like they are asking you to share them. I got to split mine this year and spread them into my backyard beds. Catch me next year, and I might share some with you.
Tiger Lilies: Got em from a friend’s parents yard. They were so happy to share how they acquired all their plants from friends. My new lilies represent several generations of Tulsa front yards. Makes my heart warm with city pride. #planthistoryrocks
Irises: I went to a lady’s house to buy some things for the store, and I came out with furniture AND free plants. She also happened to be one of the most cool people I’ve met recently. She was very active in the Civil Rights Movement, and is besties with the photographer for the Dalai Lama when he visits Canada – things I will forever get to associate with my purple blooms.
All I did was ask her for the flowers. It’s actually good for the plants to be divided, so really, you are helping the owner.
Zenias: Gorgeous cutting flowers, as are the others above. These are annuals, so they have to be replanted each year. But, hold up, all you do is wait for the stalks and blooms to die and dry out, then clip the tops and save them in a paper bag for next year. While they are blooming, the more you cut them, the more they bloom.
Eggplants: Bought some seeds one year, then volunteer eggplants popped up the next year! Didn’t plant them year two, but oh, we ate them. And we definitely saved the seeds for next year knowing how willing they are in Oklahoma.
Swedish Ivy, Airplane Plants and Pathos: This is a new trick for me. Drew, a customer who knows I am testing out being a plant person, clipped these for me and my husband recently. He says if we leave the stems in water for a bit, they will grow roots which can be planted. Stellar. Plants are a miracle in my book.
Whilst doing a little web surfing about these plants, I ran into an old-wives’ tale saying that when getting plants from someone’s yard, you never say thank you; it’s bad luck and your plants may die. Instead, just say, “I’ll give it a good home.” And then, f-ing give it a good home. Understand?