We Brits spend around £324 per year on our gardens, which probably doesn’t sound that much but bearing in mind that we get an average of only 60 days of sun is bewildering.
I remember growing up and still living with my Nan, she had full control of what we watched and if it wasn’t the Antiques Roadshow, Miss Marple, or Murder she wrote, there was going to be something on to do with gardening.
As much as I didn’t mind the detective shows, I still watch a few on ITV3, I really couldn’t stand gardening shows, gardening was something those of a certain age did in their retirement, this was highlighted by the fact that when I went to a garden centre there was hardly anyone that you might consider young. This was clearly a misguided perception as Charlie Dimmock was only in her early 30s when she joined Ground Force.
Roll on to today and I’m a homeowner with a garden and I actually don’t mind watching a show or two about gardening.
My only bugbear with some of them is that, though they look nice and you can tell a lot of work has gone into them, I can’t see how the gardens that have been transformed are actually going to maintained to the same standard, without Alan Titchmarsh doing a yearly visit getting his mower out, carrying out a little pruning or sticking his hand in his pocket to buy a few new plants.
An increase in gardening among the young
While our population might be getting older, The Great British Bakeoff, The Great British Sewing Bee and the Great Pottery showdown all have shown that the young are increasingly taking up past times that we might have once considered to be done only by those of a certain generation.
TV shows are clearly mindful of this and my wife’s favourite gardening shows now feature presenters that the young might be able to identify with, Love your Garden has Katie Rushworth and Frances Tophill and Garden Rescue has Harry and David Rich.
The problem is that as nice as the gardens are that feature on these shows, they may well be beyond the budget of any new gardener, young or old.
So here are my tips for gardening on a budget
1. Avoid the garden centres
Long gone are the days when a garden centre just sold plants. They now seem to sell just about anything, our local garden centre sells everything from clothes, kitchen utensils has a restaurant and a delicatessen so these means overheads which are going to be passed on to you the customer
2. Plant year round plants
As nice as some plants might look they might only last a season and will have to be renewed every year. Look for perennials. These plants generally last two years as opposed to annuals and biennials.
3. Grow from seed or bulb
Who doesn’t like instant gratification?
The trouble is you’re going to be paying a premium to have someone already nurturing it to its current state. There are many advantages are that they are easy to plant and look after.
For details of how to cultivate bulbs, I would recommend the RHS website.
4. Take plant cuttings
Something that you might not get right first time, but well worth considering if you have a plant in your garden that you just love but can’t justify buying year in year out.
When to take your cutting will depend on the plant and the season.
The difference in cuttings can be found below.
- Hardwood cuttings
- Root cuttings
- Semi-ripe cuttings
- Softwood cuttings
Visit the RHS website instructions on how to take cuttings
5. Use a water butt
Water butts can be relatively inexpensive and will save money on your water bill and with the right tools you might be able to run your hose and sprinkler from it.
6. Make your own compost
Buying pre-bagged compost can cost as little as £2.50, but if you have the room why not try composting.
Composting isn’t overly complicated and you will no doubt have the waste items needed to create a good compost already.
The Eden Project recommends that you create your compost with Fruit and vegetable waste, teabags and plant prunings and grass cuttings as well as cardboard egg boxes, scrunched up paper and fallen leaves.
7. Do you need to spend a fortune on tools
This is where spending that bit more on your tools is going to save you money in the years to come.
There are instances where cheap doesn’t necessarily equate to value for money and spending that bit more you are ensuring that you have something that is going to stand the test of time will pay dividends.
Do yo have any advice for gardening on a budget?
The tips above were just a few ways that you can save money in the garden.
Do you have any more advice for my readers?