Green Fingers: Gorgeous Gardens on the Cheap

Want to spruce up your garden but trying to save money? Here are some great tips for developing your garden without the need to hire Jamie Drury!

Cheap and cheerful plants

* Choose hardy plants that are suited to local conditions.

* Use plant cuttings – politely ask for them when visiting friends and family. Choose plants that transplant easily, such as cactuses. (In my experience, cactus cuttings don’t even need root powder to take.)

* To help cuttings grow roots in the soil, most of the time you will need root powder. This is available from the hardware store, but you might also want to make your own. Here’s a method for making your own root powder.

* School fetes are often great places to get cheap plants, as the stock has to be cleared on the day. Large nurseries often hold sales or discount days - if there's one near you, sign up for their mailing list to be notified of future sales. Farmers markets sometimes sell plants at reasonable prices.

* Some op (thrift) shops sell cheap plants. My local op shop has an amazing volunteer who paints tin buckets and plants cactuses in them before covering the top of the soil with decorative pebbles. Of course, you might want to do this yourself.

Perfect pebbles and ornaments

* If you want to decorate your garden with pebbles and rocks and are buying in bulk, it’s cheaper to buy them in bulk from a landscape supplier rather than a hardware store. (Try to ensure they have been ethically sourced, and don’t pick them up yourself from natural environments.)

Pots with punch

* Do you have friends or family members with a garden shed or garage full of junk? Offer to help clean it out in exchange for thrifty finds – it’s almost guaranteed there’ll be some pots and garden ornaments you can take home with you.

* Recycle household items, including furniture, to make planters; suitable items are only limited by your imagination. Here are some great ‘out there’ ideas for making planters from recycled materials. The comments in this article about making your own pots from tin cans include additional recycling ideas.

* The main thing to do when making any kind of container for a plant is to provide a drainage hole for the plant. In the case of glass you may have to use a drill. Here's how to drill a hole in a bottle.

* Restaurants are a great source of recycled materials for making planters – as well as throwing out tin cans, they may also be able to supply vegetable packaging (useful for seedlings) and glass containers.

* If you’d rather buy pots, haunt garage (yard) sales for cheap pots, or buy them in bulk from out-of-town pot suppliers, which are often cheaper.

Great garden furniture and ornaments

* Use local council hard rubbish pick-ups and garage or yard sales to find garden ornaments, furniture, and shelving for outdoor pot plants.

Fantastic fertiliser

* Water-soluble nitrogen of conventional fertilisers is a huge contributor to water pollution. The internet has heaps of information about making your own more environmentally friendly fertiliser. There are some great ideas in this article, and some more in this one.

* Compost makes great fertilizer – this site provides very detailed information about making compost.

Marvellous mulch

* Make your own mulch from lawn clippings and dried leaves. If you’d rather buy mulch, landscape suppliers offer mulch in bulk. Another good source is tree removal companies, which often sell prime mulch at bulk prices. Some local councils supply free mulch that can be picked up from transfer stations.

Happy herbs

Grow your own herbs on the cheap. Herbs can be produced from cuttings; this article shows you how. Some brave souls have been known to use fresh herbs bought from the supermarket to propagate their own.

Don’t be a Wally with water!

* Keep a bucket in your shower to catch the flow, and use the water on your outdoor plants. Also use the rinse water from handwashing of clothes. Some people catch the water from running the kitchen tap and recycle it in the garden.

If you’re serious about growing a gorgeously frugal garden, there are plenty of blogs that provide forums and advice. A good one is Frugal Gardening.

Until next time!

If you enjoyed this post, you might like How to be Frugal When Your Friends Aren't.

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