Last Fall we purchased 75 little thuja trees via Amazon. Tiny little guys about 10 inches at most and in 2-inch pots. We planted them along the front of our property and down the whole side of our property that adjoins the junkyard neighbor. Eventually, (we're talking years, here) they will grow up and out into a privacy screen at least 6 feet tall. While I knew they'd get a bit brownish over the winter (we already have several of these trees around our house - at the corners and on each side of the front entrance and back entrances, that have been there for 20 years now) these tiny little guys turned really brown over the winter and we feared they didn't make it. 75 trees wasted! We kept our fingers crossed and checked on them all the time. Now that the weather has warmed up considerably and we've had some nice sunny days the trees have come back to life! Lots of green on them now and they are even starting to grow just a bit. Whew!
DH wanted some type of stakes to put next to each of them and string them up to the stake to keep them growing upright, at least to start, while they are so puny and tiny. Everything I could find to purchase from garden centers or online was so pricey! Then the other day I was walking down the baking supplies aisle at the grocery store and the wooden kabob sticks caught my eye. They were about a foot long, came in a pack of 100 and was less than $3! DH used one for each tree and they worked perfect! I love when I can find a cheaper alternative.
Now, I am trying to find some low growing ground cover for the area along the fence on the other side of our property (good neighbor). It's a strip about 80 feet long by 3 feet wide. We tried to plant some clover seeds last Fall, but as I feared, it was probably not the right time. The clover never did grow. Now DH wants some type of low growing ground cover shrubbery. I don't want to do ivy - it would take 2-3 years to fill in. I had decided on a juniper called blue rug juniper and thought, based on Lowe's webiste, that they carry it for $5 for a 2.5 qt size. I'd need 14 plants - but apparently not at our local store. So, now I either have to try to see if any of the other garden centers in the area carry it or find something new to plant there. I don't have a lot of money to spend on this project either. I wanted to keep it under $100, but I also want something that is fast growing but stays low to the ground. There is a small mom and pop type garden store just down the road from our house. We have purchased a few trees there over the years but they are pretty pricey. I think I'll stop in there and see what they have and what they suggest to plant. If I can get this done for under a $100 with them, that would be great.......
Later in the day: I went to the little nursery near our house and talked to the owner about the juniper and asked if he had any better suggestions for the ground cover. He said my choice was a perfect one, they grow fast and practically no maintenance and he had just ordered a few of them with his order, but not that many, so he would add to his order and they will be in next week. They are pricier than Lowe's plants (but Lowe's didn't carry that kind, so it's kind of a moot point) at $8 each, but I'll still come in pretty close to my $100 budget so I told him to order them for me. Plus I shopped local, which is always a good thing and I like that he was so much more knowledgeable than the big box stores garden people. Heck, the lady at Lowe's today had ZERO clue what I even was looking for and said the "expert" wouldn't be in until the afternoon.