Gardening is a great hobby which has both physical and mental health benefits. It is possible to spend lots of money on expensive tools, plants, garden furniture and a tool shed. However, there are plenty of ways to save money and still have a lovely garden. You may even find your garden is more individual because you have had to be creative in order to save money.
Here are ten ways to save money but still have a lovely garden.
1. Buy smaller plants rather than large ones when purchasing from a nursery. A small plant transplants more easily and will quickly grow to catch up in size to a larger more expensive plant.
2. Ask family and friends for cuttings. If you are lucky they may even strike the cuttings for you. Shrubs which grow easily from cuttings include jade, geraniums, pelargoniums and daisies.
Pelargoniums grow easily from cuttings. Image: Marie Vonow
Herbs such as mint, rosemary and lavender are easy to grow from cuttings.
Rosemary grows from cuttings. Image: Marie Vonow.
If you have an established garden you can swap cuttings from your garden in return. It adds a special something to your garden to have plants grown from pieces from a friend’s garden.
3. Save seeds from vegetables such as pumpkins, tomatoes, capsicums, chillies, cucumbers and fruit such as melons. Let some vegetables and herbs go to seed in the garden and collect the seeds. Ensure any seeds are completely dry before putting in a labelled envelope and storing.
Pumpkin seeds. Image: Marie Vonow
4. Bulbs can be expensive if bought from a nursery. Sometimes bulbs can be bought cheaply by mail order. Watch local markets, garage sales, thrift shops and the internet for cheaper bulbs. Ask friends if they want to swap some bulbs. Mention your interest to friends and family who may pick up the hint and give you some as a birthday gift.
Sparaxis are a colourful plant grown from bulbs Image: Marie Vonow
5. Join a swap group. There are groups that meet and swap garden produce, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, established plants, pots and information on how to grow plants. No money exchanges hands. An advantage is the items are local so you know they are suitable for conditions in your area. If there isn’t a group locally perhaps you could start one.
6. Buy pots, garden decorations, tools, garden shed/tool shed and garden furniture second hand through
• Garage sales
• Trading Post
• Thrift shops
• Community notice boards (Try posting a ‘wanted’ advert.)
• Newspaper adverts
• Your local rubbish tip/recycling centre
7. Some items may be available free through internet sites such as Freecycle, Ziilch and Oz Recycle. Even if what you want isn’t currently available, if you are patient and check regularly you may find it at a later date. People who are moving house may be looking for a home for large pot plants, cement statues and other items that are difficult to transport.
This was from someone who didn’t want to take it to her new home. Image: Marie Vonow
8. Sometimes people will give away horse or other manure if you clean out a stable and collect it yourself.
9. Keep an eye out for demolition sites where you may be able to get free bricks, stone, railway sleepers, sheets of tin or pavers if you ask. Let your networks know what you are looking for.
10. Borrow gardening books, magazines and DVDs from the library. The internet is also a mine of information. Check the information is for Australian conditions and seasons.