Alison Levey reveals the magic of getting “plants for free”

Gardening is a very flexible past-time.  It has its constraints, but it is very facilitative in that if you really want to do some gardening you can usually find a way.  Even if it is owning just one spider plant or a window box or going to the grand scale of many acres, there is gardening to be enjoyed.

Most people have a budget, a limited amount of money with which they can pursue their gardening habits.  Some budgets are large and will include large statues, a landscape designer and a herd of wildebeest.  Other budgets are far more limited, each packet of seed, each plant, each tool has to be costed for, saved for and maybe not afforded at all.  It is therefore good that some of the best and most favourite plants I have in my garden are the ones that have been free as I have propagated them myself.

There are many ways to propagate plants and this time of year I am gearing up for seed sowing and dividing.  Dividing is one of the simplest and most satisfying way of creating more plants you can do.  These days when I buy a plant I hardly ever buy more than one of anything.  I peer into the pot and try and determine how many plants are really in there.  Some perennials you can see definite clumps/crowns of growth that if you cut carefully you can slice between, pot up individually and grow into several more plants.  This is of course not always possible, but generally after a year or so plants will have grown enough to allow this to happen.

A good example of this was last year I bought some asters, when I looked in to the pot I could see some new growths coming up towards the edge of the pot.  I used my sharp gardening knife to cut down deeply to make a cutting that would include a bit of root and potted these waifs and strays up.  I checked in the greenhouse the other day and they were still growing and will make nice additional plants.

Of course I know not everyone has a greenhouse and this is the first time I have lived in house with a garden large enough to have one.  Previously I have used windowsills, even the floor in a sunny room, any surface that was warm and has sun (and preferably away from where the cats might walk across them).  Those small, vinyl covered greenhouses are very good and when I only had a backyard were extremely useful.  They also lasted a lot longer than I thought they would, they can be quite hard wearing.

The other joy of making plants for free is that you can be generous with them.  I regularly swap cuttings/divisions and seedlings with gardening friends.  I can look around my garden and see plants I identify with specific people and that gives a small happy memory.  For gardening is always so much more than just planting and growing.

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2 thoughts on “Alison Levey reveals the magic of getting “plants for free”

  1. shaungagie says:

    Really good suggestions for increasing your plant stocks at no extra cost. This also helps reinvigorate old plants. Happy gardening!

    Like

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