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Grow your savings.

You don't have to spend a fortune to have a beautiful garden.

So here are some tips on how to create a garden on a budget: ? Seeds of change - Many plants grow easily from seed, including sweet peas, cosmos, flowering tobacco, cornflowers and Californian poppies. A packet of 100 seeds can cost you a fifth of the price of one plant. From mid-spring to early summer, just scatter them directly on to finely-raked garden soil in a sunny spot, rake them in and water well.

. ? Club together - If you're buying online, group your purchases with friends to save on postage costs and look out for bargains if you order multiples of a specific plant.

. ? Garden centre or car boot? - Don't rule out cut-price pound stores and car boot sales, which often have good plants for much less. When buying plants, don't buy the ones already in full flower. Look for those with unopened flower buds or wait until the end of summer to buy shrubs and perennials, when garden centres discount their stock. Autumn is also a good time for planting.

. ? Pots for a pittance - Use your imagination. Upcycle old containers such as tins, bowls and colanders to give your garden instant character. If you want to go big and brazen, brightly coloured plastic tub trugs can make good flower and fruit containers. Alternatively, ask your local deli for huge empty tins which have held olive oil, or other vintage tins, taking off the labels and letting them rust naturally. Just drill holes in the bottom of them. ? Thrifty topiary - Box topiary was one of the hot trends last year. If you want to recreate the effect of topiarised box, use Ilex crenata, or Japanese holly, instead. It looks almost the same as box and can be pruned in the same way but tends to be more affordable and won't suffer from box blight, a disease that can wipe out the plant in a flash.

. ? Hedge your bets - If you want to create a hedge, take advantage of bare-root offers at the end of the planting season, which runs from winter to early spring. Good offers tend to come up at this time as nurseries are trying to get rid of their bare-root stock.

. ? Pave the way - If your urban garden has an old concrete path you want to renew on a shoestring, be warned that the cost of breaking it up and removing it may be high. If the concrete is sound, you can lay paving stones on top of it - or alternatively use tiles, laying them on a layer of mortar or a resin bonding adhesive.

. ? Gardening on a Shoestring: 100 Ways to Create a Garden on a Budget by Alex Mitchell is out now.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 11, 2015
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