Equipment and Materials
For the essentials, eg. spade, secateurs, trowel and fork buy the best tools and equipment you can afford. Save money by not investing in the nice to have but unessential items until you find they are indispensable (if ever).
Landscaping and design lines can be a lot cheaper at a builders merchant than a garden centre. Plan what you need and buy in bulk.
Plants in Growth
Trees and shrubs need to be healthy and well grown because you don’t want to be changing them once planted. Buy and plant at the right time of year from a reputable and appropriate supplier.
Perennials bought from a specialist grower may give you access to special varieties and insider tips.
Small plants may grow on but take their time. A larger plant will cost more but fill a space instantly.
Plug plants and immature plants need more care until they are established.
Annuals may be cheaper if home grown but buying stock from garden centres will often give better value than from supermarkets.
Seeds & Bulbs
Mail order is a good way to buy these items.
There are many web based suppliers who will email umpteen ‘offers’ once they have your details. Don’t let they con you.
Rooted cuttings and micro plugs seem popular this year. They are little better than germinated seeds and need care and attention for the first 4 weeks.
Where to Shop
Regular readers will know I favour independent nurseries.
Open gardens local plant sales and visitor attractions often have something a bit special on offer.
Market stalls have a high turnover but stock may be offered to suit the retailer not the customer.
Garden centres can be very professional and have had a hard time this year due to the weather. Much of the stock will have been imported from Holland or other growers.
Supermarkets and local shops often carry plants to catch the impulse purchaser.
Mail order catalogues give you lots of pictures and some growing information. With the advent of the internet and cost of print they are becoming a bit generic.
Internet purchasing is a sensible way of buying mid priced items but for key plants you want to inspect them first.