Morley Library Association – Garden Raffle
Day 2 – Time to let the potential winner know what to expect.
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Simple enough – Once the winner is picked I’ll make arrangements to meet. We’ll walk through their yard and discuss the possibilities the current landscape presents. I’ll want to know what you like, how dedicated a gardener you are, where you spend time in the yard, what windows you look out of, if you’d rather impress the neighbors than have a hidden backyard garden and countless other little details that will help me design a garden that you’ll appreciate.
$1000 worth of materials and labor:
The possibilities are endless but limited by the budget. A $1000 sounds like a lot but it really isn’t these days. Between plants, stone, other materials and labor a 1000 bucks really doesn’t ad up to very much in my opinion.
Potted perennials can now cost between 8 and 14 dollars each. As few as 50 can eat through a budget fast. One thing I try to do is ‘steal’ plants from my and other gardens I’ve established. Gardeners can be very generous. Try visiting an avid gardener and see if you can get away without having something ‘shoved’ on you.
To buy wholesale I go to the far end of Long Island. I go so far because the PLANTAGE has some of the best stock I’ve seen. Besides the plants being vigorous, the varieties number in the hundreds. Prices are good but unfortunately travel expenses level the prices back to what I find locally. No bargain there but I do get some very nice plants that you can’t find here.
For the library garden I will rely on heavily on some of my favorite perennials that I can ‘borrow’ from others in order to get as many plants that don’t add to the budget. I’m also going to hit up a couple local nurseries and see if they’ll donate some plant materials. Anything I can get for free is passed along at no charge – always.
For me a garden is lacking without stone in it. And I look at stone like a kid looks at ice cream cones – bigger is better. If I can pick it up – it’s too small to use. If it’s too big for my truck it’s just about right.
The good news – field stone and boulders are free. The bad news is moving them is labor intensive. It usually takes me 4 to 5 hours to load a boulder on my truck, transport it to the site and then set it in place. At $45/hour you can see a ‘handful’ of boulders adds up the expense quickly.
||I love to work with large sandstone slabs. Natural stone walks, patios and small low retaining walls beat manufactured block and pavers any day in my book. So much so I refuse to use artificial materials unless I can’t help it. The problem – I have to buy sandstone and it’s not cheap at $200 per ton. Going to Redwood to get it means an average 5 hours to load, transport and unload. Even ‘forgetting’ drive time the cost adds up quickly. I hate to admit it but I usually don’t make much when I do a sandstone project. I love working and creating with it and forget a lot of the labor since I have a hard time charging people for my ‘play time’.
Again for me a garden isn’t complete without some type of water feature. But even a simple disappearing fountain can get expensive. Stone, water pump, electrical hookup, liners and labor all add up. Expect even a modest water feature to eat up half the budget.
Now here’s the brightest spot of all and that spot is the St. Lawrence University horse bedding/manure pile. Free for the taking anyone can go and get as much of the semi-composted wood chip/shavings as they can carry. It’s the complete weed and feed solution. It makes a great soil additive to work into the ground or the perfect mulch. Anyone can be a winner by going to get some for themselves. You can be sure I’ll be using it. In fact without that source I’d seriously consider quitting gardening.
I did mention my hourly rate is $45/hour. It’s going to go up to $50 this year as I attempt to keep the demand for my time down. But that seems to be a counter productive approach. The more I raise my fees the more I seem to be in demand. Go figure.
Now that I probably have everyone completely discouraged I should say that $1000 will go a long way. It won’t completely landscape a yard but it is enough to make a distinctive mark somewhere. We’ll just have to see how to make the most of it. I promise the end results will look like you spent twice as much.
I want to have the winners garden completed by Memorial Day. But unexpected delays and holdups are always part of working outdoors. Spring is also my crazy time, I usually need to be at least 10 places at once. This year is even worst – two big projects are 400 miles apart and both are going to require more time than I have available. But I always seem to make time for something small and I’ll have your garden finished no later than the end of June.
I’ve had to limit how far I will go. St. Lawrence County is big enough and the winner has to be within the county. It does no one any good if the budget is busted by travel expenses.
I suppose the last thing to mention is that the $1000 prize can be used as the foundation for a larger project. The only problem there is that a larger project will have to wait to be completed. I have other commitments and you’ll have to go on the waiting list. More than likely I wouldn’t be able to start another big job until after June.
I’ve posted this on my blog so anyone who has questions can easily ask by making a comment that I’ll get right back to.
Bottom line:for 5 bucks you can’t go wrong. The best part is knowing you’re helping our little library that really needs the support.