The Free Garden

As a garden designer I need to be creative with a design, but also save a customer money!!

Firstly, soil and in particular good compost will aid moisture retention and help suppress weeds, as well as feeding your plants, vegetables etc…

Making your own organic soil improver from vegetable and fruit peelings, leaves, plant waste, grass, tea bags etc is a great way of improving soil and recycling. It is important to mix these materials and leave air pockets to help the rotting process.

Next, the plants themselves and collecting seeds from a previous years flowers…

Make sure the seeds are fully mature and it is best to put these straight into a paper bag. Once collected you will need to filter out any debris or insects by tipping onto white paper to help see the wood for the trees. Finally put in a clean envelope and place in a sandwich box in the fridge or somewhere cool until you are ready to sow. My personal favourites to collect are foxgloves and verbena bonariensis.

“Splitting” larger plants is another free way to make your borders fuller…

Perennials are best split around October time and you can also split larger ferns. I find the best perennials to divide are hardy geraniums, Rudbeckia and Asters etc.

Finally, Recycle and Re-use…

Are there old building materials, pallets or anything else just left lying around?

Pallets are great for standing upright and creating a vertical planter, or even made into a living tabletop and furniture. They are particularly good for making into compost bins!

Some bricks already have holes in or can have circular holes drilled in them for succulents or even just plant straight into the “frog” (recessed indentation) if your brick has one.

Items from inside the house such as old kettles or jugs can be planted up or even left to be excellent little homes for our feathery friends?

Chests of drawers can be filled with soil and planted up, or even old bathroom sinks or toilets!!

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