10 Summer Savvy Gardening Tips from Squire’s
We are now in peak gardening season, and this year the backdrop is the current ‘cost of living’ crisis. Our outdoor spaces are a great way to escape the worries and relieve stress. Here, are Squire’s top ten money-saving tips that offer some great cost-effective solutions to make the most of our green areas.
Save Money by Growing Your Own
There’s been an increased focus on self-sufficiency and producing more home-grown vegetables, herbs and fruit in our own gardens and outdoor spaces – whatever the size available. With high prices and recent shortages in supermarket supplies, the desire to grow your own shows no sign of abating. Results from a recent survey conducted by Squire’s confirmed 24% of respondents planned to grow more than they did last year, while 40% of respondents intend to continue growing the same amount as they did the previous year. With a bit of planning, some initial start-up costs and an investment of time, there are the rich rewards of fresh produce, as well as the health benefits of being outdoors with nature, nurturing plants in free fresh air.
Invest in Cottage Garden Style Plants
Cottage garden style plants – think lavender, hollyhock, sweet pea, roses, aster, aquilegia and lupins. These are all great plants to invest in as they establish well and provide a wonderful array of colour all summer long and, importantly, for years to come too.
Bedding Plant Cheer
For instant impact, plant up borders, window boxes, baskets and pots with brightly coloured – and great value, low cost – bedding plants. Bedding plants are a bargain because, with regular watering, deadheading and feeding, they will last all summer long. The Butterfly Garden Meadow Mix for example will entice butterflies into your garden with a mix of 6 plants highly attractive to butterflies including asters, echium, rudbeckia and more. Sarah Squire, Chairman, Squire’s Garden Centres, comments: “You can buy some superb and inexpensive bedding plants for the same price as a takeaway coffee! A swap that will bring real cheer to your garden and much longer lasting enjoyment too!”
Get Creative and Upcycle
Pretty much any container can be used to grow plants as long as it can hold soil, so get creative with many different options – both big and small. Remember to add holes in the bottom for drainage. Think tyres and buckets for garden plants and even egg boxes for seeds. Not only is this an inexpensive way to grow plants, but a great way to make a feature in the garden, on the doorstep, a balcony or windowsill.
Ask an Expert
Joining a local gardening group for friendly advice and tips. Visit your local garden centre for advice, no question is too small to ask. Sarah Squire continues: “Look out for our Information Points, normally located in the plant area. Close by you’ll find a friendly Squire’s plant team member who can offer helpful advice – no question is too big or small! They can also give planting ideas if you are after inspiration too.”
Swop Plants with a Neighbour
Swap spare plants or cuttings with neighbours, as well as sharing knowledge and experience. You might be surprised at what you can grow and be introduced to new plants as well.
Look After Your Tools
Taking good care of garden tools and maintaining them makes gardening considerably easier. It can ensure years of use for many essential gardening items – and help keep your plants healthy too. Make sure every-day items, like secateurs and shears, are kept well-oiled and sharpened so they last longer. Poor tool care can see them become clogged with sap. Blunt blades can tear plant tissue and potentially let disease in. Regularly clean down rotary mowers so they run in tip-top condition too and reduce costly repair bills.
Make a Bug Hotel
Re-purpose items – think old pallets, sticks and pots – to create a bug hotel, encouraging nature into your garden. Creating a little haven in the garden is a great way to do your bit with a simple, sustainable structure using a combination of items from the garden and old containers, bricks and tiles.
Pick Up a Pot – for Free!
Rather than buying new pots, pop along to your local Squire’s garden centre and re-purpose used pots. This is not only a great money-saver, but will help reduce the use of plastic. Squire’s has recently re-introduced Reuse & Recycle Stations at its centres, enabling customers to drop off old plastic pots – as well as plastic trays and compost bags – and customers are welcome to collect old pots to take home and reuse. Ross McEwan, Squire’s Sustainability Manager, comments: “Our customers are making great use of our new Reuse & Recycle Stations – both in terms of wanting to recycle pots, trays and compost bags – but also taking returned pots for growing plants at home. This is great news for reducing plastic waste.”
Bag a Bargain
Be a savvy plant shopper and look out for multi-buy offers, such as ‘buy 2 get 3rd free’, and other money-saving offers available on seasonal plants. These provide great value for money and are particularly brilliant if you want to achieve maximum effect with a natural planting look. In addition, sometimes there are great bargains in the ‘reduced price’ plant area of garden centres. Many of the plants that reach this section still have lots of life left in them and may only be there due to excess stock. Chris Carpenter, Squire’s Plant Manager, comments: “There are some great bargains to be had on plants in garden centres – multi-buys offer excellent value for money and allow customers to invest in bigger planting schemes such as establishing plants in ‘threes’ or more. Also, seek out a corner that might offer reduced price plants and bag a bargain or two – these plants may just need a little care and attention for a new lease of life! “