I planted out a small flower bed a couple of days ago, only about three square meters, but it had dozens of plants in it. I paid full price for two of the plants in there, a lovely Eryngium and a beautiful red Achillea, both purchased because they attract bees and I thought they were beautiful. Everything else in that flower bed was either very reduced in price, grown from seed myself or given to me free.
There are four Geranium plants, the cranesbill type, in the bed, the first of them was given to me by Blooms for Bees (@blooms_for_bees) when the Undrgardener and I went to see them for a talk on bees and a bee spotting session at Coventry University.
I bought the other three geraniums as two litre potted plants from a local chain garden centre. They had already flowered and had been given the ‘Chelsea Chop’ and put on the bargain trolley for £2 each. Geraniums like these tend to re-grow and flower again if cut back, so I’m hoping to see them flower this year.
There are Foxgloves, Geums and dwarf Lavender that came as tiny plugs in a tray of 36 from Thompson and Morgan (@ThompsonMorgan) when they had an offer on for a lucky dip of 6 plugs of 6 perennials for a penny each plus postage. I didn’t know what I was going to get, but I also have a lot of strong Verbena plants of two species growing in my back garden from that offer.
There are also Verbascum plants, Lavateras, Sweet peas and Antirrhinums that I grew from seed earlier in the year. These got re-potted and rehoused to a small plastic greenhouse where they grew bigger and are looking very healthy.
Lastly I bought an upright Lobelia and a Delphinium the day before when I visited a small, local garden centre and nursery to buy some Sylvagrow (@Sylvagrow) peat-free compost. They were part of a display of perennials being sold off for about a pound, so I picked a couple of nice ones.
The whole flowerbed cost less than £30 to plant out, although had I bought less established Achillea and Eryngium, they wouldn’t have been as expensive. Without them, the established plants cost a tenner and the seeds just under a fiver. The plug plants were 36p for 36 and I used about half of them in this bed although I did have to pay postage but as they were part of a larger seed order the share of the postal cost for these plants came to about £2.50.
So £18 for the vast majority of the plants and a display that won’t take long to get going.
I tend to take advantage of any good offer I can find on the web or in magazines. On T&M’s website I frequently go for their lucky dip offers – I don’t know what I’m going to get, but I always get lovely plants. I also go through their section with seeds for 99p or less per packet. It helps to soften the blow to my purse from my slight seed sowing addiction.
Of course, they’re not the only website that has offers; Mr Fothergill’s (@mrfothergill) have plenty, Dobies (@DobiesOfDevon) also. Suttons (@suttons_seeds) currently have a nursery clearance sale on as I’m writing and Unwins also have offers on their homepage.
I often buy Gardener’s world magazine, especially when they have seed packets attached and as I’ve recently had six packets plus a pair of nice gardening gloves from a single magazine I don’t consider it a bad buy, especially when I also take advantage of the offers inside – the last one that turned up in the post for me was a Jasmine and a grafted Wisteria Sinensis for just the £5.65 postage.
I’ve bought lots of other magazines before, especially when they have seeds with them that I want, because I love to read about gardening, especially when the weather is grim and I can’t go outside and do it for real. However, these added extras are only a real bargain if you use them, so open the seed packets, send off for the plugs and plants and get stuck in!
Some of my favourite plants have come from friends and family. My mum sometimes gives me small fuchsia plants that she’s rooted from cuttings and it’s great to return the favour. I’ve given and received plants that have been propagated at home and it costs very little to do so.
If you have a plant you love but wish you had more, propagating from cuttings or seed you’ve collected yourself is a great way to fill up your garden. I’m growing Rosemary cuttings from a bush in my garden at the moment and some of my Nasturtiums are the third generation that I’ve grown from the seed of my original ones. Also when your perennials get too large dividing them is not only sensible, it’s a great way of ensuring that your original spend goes a lot further.