Due to its emerging health benefits, gardening has become more than just a hobby for many people. Dubbed as horticultural therapy, spending time in the garden has been “prescribed” by many health care professionals to improve their patients’ health.
However, gardening may not be as harmless as one would assume, especially on the pockets. In the UK, families spend as much as £123 ($189) a year and £30,000 ($46,000) over a lifetime on gardening.
To resolve this problem, experts share tips on how to make gardening a smarter and more affordable venture.
Get to know your space
Some gardeners can get too excited at the prospect of a new garden, which can lead to overspending for no good reason.
Veronica Perez Diaz, gardener for Better Bankside and Borough Market, has something to say about this. “A mistake most gardeners make when starting out is to buy lots of expensive plants without taking into consideration the requirements of each plant, which often results in a waste of money and effort.”
Getting to know your garden in terms of sunny spots enables you to plant right and avoid this problem.
Know how many seeds you need – and stick to it
According to Tony Woods, founder of Garden Club London, being realistic about your seed purchase can save you a lot of money.
“The most common mistake gardeners make is buying too many seeds that don’t get sown. It’s a false economy to spend £20 on 500 seeds when you simply don’t have room to nurture them,” he says. The secret is to be patient. “Wait and see what comes up,” he adds.
Check with your neighbors
Sue Harris, a gardener for Powell-Cotton Museum, believes that checking in with your neighboring gardens and seeing what plants are growing nicely will help you choose the right plants and grow them accordingly.
Be on the lookout for discounts and bargains
Many think the best plants are found in garden centers, but Harris says more often than not, they can be bought from charity plant stands. “The National Trust, for example, run some excellent plant fairs,” she says. Or gardeners can always ask for some seedlings and cuttings from other people’s gardens, like friends and neighbors.
Have discipline and stick to the routine
The problem is many gardeners tend to rush, causing their plants to dry out and die, says Ian Kavanagh of Putting Down Roots. This makes them start from square one, which doubles the cost altogether. The secret to a successful and healthy growth is sticking to a routine and having the patience to actually tend to the plants.
And finally, good organization applies to gardening as much it does to other tasks. Labelling the best plants while they’re in bloom avoids accidental weeding out, Harris says. Instead of spending money on expensive flowers from garden centers, she suggests going there only to see what’s growing well, and planning to grow them a year after.