Money Saving Savvy Autumn Gardening Tips from Squire’s
Cost-saving autumn gardening ideas
With the approach of the season that is firmly nature’s perfect time to plant, Squire’s Garden Centre’s experts offer some top tips for cost-saving autumn gardening.
Sarah Squire, Chairman, Squire’s Garden Centres, is excited about the arrival of autumn, seeing the new season as one of inspiration. Sarah comments: “Like the start of the new school year, autumn is the beginning of the gardening year. It really is nature’s time to plant. With the soil still warm from the summer and moist with autumn rain, we have the perfect combination of conditions to plant up and deliver autumn cheer, as well as popping in flowering bulbs for guaranteed spring colour, providing year-round interest in the garden.”
Time in the garden
Now is the perfect opportunity to spend time doing a bit of ‘housekeeping’ in the garden, which will pay dividends come spring when everything will be ready to get growing again. Clipping, collecting fallen leaves, sorting borders, planting spring bulbs and lawn care in autumn will undoubtedly ease the gardening year ahead. Create a list of areas to be addressed and steadily tick them off over the warm autumn days to come. And it’s much more fun than housework!
Autumn is the perfect time to plant bulbs which will come back year after year. Andy Dobson, Plant Expert at Squire’s West Horsley, advises: “Plant bulbs to take advantage of the best soil conditions – the soil is still warm and perfectly damp – to give your bulbs a head start. Planting at this time will not only ensure spring colour, but year-after-year displays, which are a great garden asset – and represent a brilliant investment for a modest amount. Think daffodils, crocus, snowdrops for a show of early spring colour, as well as alliums which will deliver a big purple drift through borders.”
Andy continues: “It’s the time to plant trees, shrubs and perennials (think cottage garden plants) – again, perfect soil conditions make it just right for them to settle well and flourish. The autumn environment is an opportunity to plant smaller shrubs, which will prosper in the good climate, coming back bigger and healthier next autumn. Skimmias such as ‘Kew Gardens’ is great in a lovely yellow shade or popular ‘Rubella’ in red work well in borders. Autumn flowering heathers are really colourful additions in shades of reds, pinks and white to add interest, consider heather ‘Garden Girls’.”
Be Smart in Setting-up
There are a few DIY garden additions worth installing to give a great return over the year in the garden and save money too. Brian Philips, Centre Manager at Squire’s West Horsley, says: “Getting a few things set-up now, while the weather is good, will make a big difference to your garden and be good for your pocket too. Install water butts now to harvest rain as and when it arrives – rather than in the spring and summer when we have less rain. Consider making your own compost too. You can construct an inexpensive composter using old pallets. Not only can you create a fantastic quality compost, it provides a good home for cuttings, prunings, grass mowings as well as fruit and vegetable waste which might otherwise go in household waste. I would recommend adding a compost accelerator to improve the quality and composition of garden compost.
“I’d also recommend adding mulch to beds in the autumn as it helps the ground retain moisture and all the good nutrients, as well as keeping weeds at bay too – again easing another job.”
Plant Swap with Friends
Autumn is the ideal time to lift and divide perennials, to create multiple plants, simply divide with a garden fork and replant. You can also take cuttings. Plant your cuttings in a small 9cm pot, add seed compost and rooting hormone and place on a windowsill (or greenhouse if you have one). Kate Haines, Plant Expert at Squire’s Long Ditton, adds: “If you have like-minded gardening friends, it’s a good time to ‘plant swap’ – lift and split perennials. Seed-sown plants for spring and summer can be established now. Agree with friends what you might all like in your garden and you can divide the task, ensuring a lovely range of plants to be swapped between you in the spring and delivering blooms you might not otherwise have achieved.”
Kate also recommends thinking ahead for Christmas, potting up hyacinths and narcissus as perfect gifts for friends and family. She adds: “Creating inexpensive planted gifts offers so much! Not only is there the satisfaction of giving something that you have grown, but it also tells the recipient you have thought of them and certainly delivers welcome cheer and scent in winter. Old plastic pots can be re-used and you can even get these from Squire’s Reuse & Recycle Bin Stations at all our centres.”
Grow Your Own & Save
Growing fruit and vegetables in the garden, allotments and even the smallest of outside spaces from seed is a brilliant and inexpensive way to be a little more self-sufficient – along with the satisfaction it also brings. Home-grown saves money on grocery shopping too, as well as providing fresh healthy food from the garden. With very limited start-up costs and the investment of time, it can be cost-effective and chemical free.
Sarah Squire comments: “We are all continuing to look at ways to save money and be more self-sufficient and, as autumn commences, there are some simple and enjoyable jobs to be done in the garden that can get us ahead for the coming year and garden smarter. “