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Gardening cheaply ???
Member Name: ANDREWSJK
Date: 24/07/01, updated on 08/09/01 (200 review reads)
Advantages: Cheap, Cheerful, Looks Good
Disadvantages: Neighbours, Hard Work
Several of my friends have asked me for advice on gardening in general, so here we go. This is basically a tale of how to keep a largish garden looking presentable for as low a cost as possible.
I have recently been turning the garden of a friend's council house from a field to something a bit more presentable. The grass and weeds were about four feet tall to start with. At least one of my circle of friends here on Dooyoo have suggested I get some sheep to graze out there to start with as the area was fairly large at 110 feet by 20 feet. However I ruled out this Somewhat Useful opinion on the basis that in my experience it is quite difficult to get sheep on buses, and if I moved them in my car they might eat the seats. I did follow another suggestion though and introduce some birds to the garden, these proved useful not only in their attractive appearance, but also could provide the regular supplies of Stella Artois and coffee needed for the hard work ahead.
On with the work now, and on the basis we were starting with no tools, so the first thing I did was to buy some shears and secateurs. These can both be purchased for about £4 and £2 respectively from either pound shops or Woolworths, but I would recommend buying as strong a pair as one can afford. These were purchased first because the grass and weeds were so long and matted that cutting by hand at first was the only option. Having covered the whole garden by hand and getting everything down to a height of about two inches, the next piece of planning came into operation, where to put the rubbish. A space was chosen as far from any house as possible, and a large pile began to be accumulated.
At this point a cheap lawn mower was chosen, which can be purchased for about £30 from any superstore such as B & Q or Homebase. I chose a hover mower because of the undulating nature of the ground but one must remember that a cheap mower is less powerful so any job will take slightly lo
nger. At this point another essential gardening item became necessary, a mobile or cordless phone, essential because it is an extreme nuisance to walk back the whole length of the garden to answer a phone call selling double glazing. Once the grass was to a suitable and shortish length another purchase becomes necessary, a rake. All the grass area should be raked over to remove all dead grass and moss etc.
This initial work of getting the grass into reasonable condition can take a considerable time, in my case a year, but is worth it in the long run. Any bald patches can be resown with seeds (but this didn't help my hair), and now having an attractive lawn hopefully, regular watering will be required, so a hose will be required at about £8, perhaps with an added sprinkler for about £5. Around this time or perhaps a little earlier the rubbish will need removing, I burned mine. I did this one night. As the by now not inconsiderable heap was as far away from any house as I could get it, I decided to burn it one wet and miserable night when some of the neighbours were on holiday, and the rest would not have had washing out. At this point another essential gardening item was used, a very loud radio to drown out the wailing of neighbours saying "You can't 'ave a fire at this time of night mate !!. Some people will whinge about anything won't they ??
With some of the excess earth and ash and compost now laying around I made a rockery in one corner, it's amazing how many spare rocks and stones of very attractive colours there are laying around on beaches and moors which no-one seems to own !! At this time of course, two more purchases were made, being a spade and a fork, both at £3 from a boot sale.
At this point while remarking on the transformation already achieved a neighbour said his Irish Wolfhound had been put down. Talking to neighbours is a nice bonus to gardening, I asked him why. He said it had been out in
the garden gnawing on a large bone, and when it stood up his back leg fell off !!
Borders were now made to line out the area required for plants, in this case very small because it was intended to be a fairly low maintenance garden. Bordering material can be purchased fairly cheaply, the cheapest being old bricks if done carefully and properly
Plants, so far for low cost, roses, flag irises, daffodils, tulips and conifers have been planted, most being accumulated from boot sales for under £1. Roses can be fairly well pruned back each year and are hardy enough to benefit from that, there was in fact a huuuuge rose bush there already, about nine feet tall, and this has been cut down by about five feet and is very healthy and growing well. Flag irises grow basically on the surface and every year can be thinned out and replanted, so within a few years quite a collection will be accumulated, all of my friends have been donated quite a few.
Well, there is the story so far, I will perhaps give more specialised tips in other opinions in the future, except to say that this story of cheap gardening is now taking another twist, a shed may be required to put all the tools in !!