Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Glorious Gardens Can Cost Nothing; Grow from Seed, Take Cuttings, Find a Friend to Share Bulbs ...There Are So Many Ways to Get Flowering Bling for Very Few Bucks

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Glorious Gardens Can Cost Nothing; Grow from Seed, Take Cuttings, Find a Friend to Share Bulbs ...There Are So Many Ways to Get Flowering Bling for Very Few Bucks

Article excerpt

Byline: Pattie Barron

SOME of the best gardens have been created for almost nothing, using plants raised from seed, grown on from cuttings, divided to make more and sometimes swapped with like-minded gardeners for other plants. This is real gardening, with the added buzz that comes with knowing you have created your little paradise yourself.

It's a lot more satisfying -- and far cheaper -- than buying ready-grown plants from a garden centre.

You might not even need to buy any plants if your borders need replenishing.

Perennials that are crowding out the competition -- and one another -- can be lifted in one large clump and divided up into smaller sections to make more. Groundcover geraniums, bearded iris, bergenias and sedums are just a few examples that take to division with ease. Discard the weakest pieces and distribute the rest in other parts of the garden, in revitalised soil. Plant them out at regular intervals and you have the bonus of an eye-pleasing rhythm running through the borders.

what you sow, you will reap Plant self-seeders that will spread through the garden, giving you plants for free, and making your plot look established. One or two scraps of Mexican daisy, Erigeron karvinskianus, will spread themselves into nooks and crannies that you couldn't orchestrate any other way. The Welsh poppy, Meconopsis cambrica, will do the same, softening a hard landscape with its translucent yellow flowers and pretty fern-like foliage.

Buying summer annuals is folly when you can sow them so easily yourself, and open up a far wider selection than you could ever buy. If you can't be bothered to sow, transplant, pot up and plant out, then sow direct in spring -- nothing could be simpler. Scatter the seed on to a patch of bare ground, rake it into the soil, keep the patch moist and come summer you can revel in azure love-in-a-mist, purple opium poppies, cayenne-tinted marigold Indian Prince or ink-blue Cerinthe major Purpurascens, or perhaps a dazzling mix of all four, making a Persian carpet for pence. Moreover, they will settle and spread, so for a few moments' work, you will always have these treasures. And who can have too many purple poppies? …

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