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Local Deals for Green Thumbs

May 25, 2022

By Caron Blitz


Finally! Gardening time has arrived at long last.


Before you head to the local nursery to buy plants and flowers for your garden, do your homework! Here are some of the best ways to prepare:

  • Take an inventory of how much sun is hitting the areas you intend to plant (as trees grow, that can change from year to year)
  • Buy flowers for sun, partial shade, and full shade. For example, roses need at least six hours of direct sun versus hostas and ferns, which prefer shade
  • Make a list of which flowers and plants you want and where they will go
  • Make a list of how much soil and mulch you will need. Either buy smaller bags so they are easier to lift and carry, or have them delivered
  • Work the soil so it’s ready for the new flowers
  • Add the appropriate plant food and/or organic nutrients
  • Smooth the soil with a rake
  • Keep as much of the root ball as possible when removing from the pot
  • Plant the flowers at the same soil level as they were in the container
  • Mulch the garden bed with 1-3 inches of wood chips or organic mulch to prevent weeds and disease, and to conserve moisture
  • Consider buying a garden bench and knee pads to help prevent knee and back pain

The Chalet in Wilmette offers a bi-weekly webinar “Garden Coach” to help you “be successful in your garden.” The webinar is every other Friday through the end of June followed by a Q&A so you can ask your questions. Sign up at www.chaletnursery.com.


What to plant?


Before you buy, make sure you find out this information for each plant:

  • What are the plant’s needs for light, water, and temperature?
  • How long will it live?
  • How big will it grow?
  • What color is it?
  • How long will it bloom?
  • When can I plant so the flowers don’t sit in the store containers too long?

Where to buy?


While the big box stores tend to have a large selection, there is value in shopping at local nurseries where you can get guidance on purchasing flowers perfect for your yard. If you are a member of Chicago Botanic Garden, remember to use your “Garden Value Discount” booklet with 10% off coupons at 13 area garden shops.


Also, before you head to the garden retailers, visit their websites for weekly specials.

As a 60+ Savvy Shopper living in Riverwoods, Caron Blitz understands what folks our age look for in products and is always on the look-out for fun finds” and the best values. For future columns, tell her what you,The Shopper, would like us to feature. If you are a retailer, let us know what special products and services you offer for older adults. Email: SavvyShopperColumn@gmail.com