Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Credit Crunch Gardens; Hannah Stephenson Looks at How the Economic Climate Is Affecting One of Britain's Best-Loved Gardening Events

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Credit Crunch Gardens; Hannah Stephenson Looks at How the Economic Climate Is Affecting One of Britain's Best-Loved Gardening Events

Article excerpt

THE credit crunch has affected some sponsors of this year's Chelsea Flower Show, with the number of main show gardens being reduced from a bumper crop of 22 last year to 13 this year.

However, award-winning garden designer Sarah Eberle has created three fun credit crunch gardens at short notice - costing pounds 5,000 each - to fill the space Fleming's left when it withdrew its show garden due to the bush fires in Australia in February.

Money-saving visitors should be inspired by Sarah's creations, the Overdrawn Artist's Garden, the Off-Shore Garden and the Banker's Garden, which show how to create entertaining, environmentally responsible gardens on a low budget.

The gardens feature hard materials, furniture and other items made from things found at the local scrapyard, while environmental messages include water harvesting and urban drainage.

Sarah, who runs her own business from Hampshire, says there are many things gardeners can do to save money during the credit crunch. "Use your imagination and think outside the box as to how you could use materials, making your garden more personalised," she suggests. "It's much better to have something charming and slightly more informal than trying to do something that the professional landscaper would do." For those who want a selection of new plants, but don't want to have to pay a lot for them, Sarah advises hosting a garden party.

"Invite your friends around and ask them to bring plants instead of wine. Alternatively, visit your local summer fete, which always has a plant stall and swap with friends if you have to lift and divide clumps of different plants." When choosing plants, she says anything slow-growing and evergreen is going to be more expensive.

"Choose plants which are naturally prolific as they may grow quickly and self-seed." She recommends grasses which can be grouped together and can give you real value for money. …

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