CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Saving for a rainy day: money-saving gardening tips

PUBLISHED: 16:55 31 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:35 20 February 2013

Growing from seed is both economical and rewarding, says NGS chairman Penny Snell

Growing from seed is both economical and rewarding, says NGS chairman Penny Snell

With the economic climate still a challenge, we asked three of Surrey's top gardening experts to share their best budget-busting ideas for the year ahead

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2011

With the economic climate still a challenge, we asked three of Surreys top gardening experts to share their best budget-busting ideas for the year ahead

SUBSCRIBE to Surrey Life magazine
BUY SL online
DOWNLOAD the app

Chairman of the NGS, Penny Snell

As chairman of the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) and an expert gardener herself, Penny Snell is well-placed to offer some good advice. Her romantic garden at Moleshill House in
Cobham is full of colour-coordinated borders and carefully chosen plants
to suit the varying climate. Here, she shares her top budgeting tips

  • Good housekeeping now will pay off later. For example, tidy up shrubs and roses by cutting out dead branches to ensure better flowering.

  • Make free organic matter from garden and kitchen waste to feed the garden. Organise a compost heap or perhaps build a bigger and better one.

  • What could be better on a cold January day than studying the seed catalogues and planning the planting for the coming year? Growing from seed is both economical and rewarding.

  • If you have lifted the dahlias and stored them for winter, look them over in January to make sure theyre not wilting. If you find they are, soak in luke warm water before returning to storage far better value than buying new ones.

The NGS has gardens open across Surrey from February to October. For more information, visit

Garden designer, Cherry Mills

Based in Godalming, Cherry Mills creates elegant gardens across the county. Also a member of the Society of Garden Designers, she likes to remain in contact with her clients to help them get the most out of their garden. Here are her money-saving tips...

  • Dont buy bedding plants, as they need replacing every year. Plant hardy perennials, which survive the winter and increase in bulk each year, such as geraniums.

  • Allow perennials, such as irises, asters and pulmonaria, to grow into bigger clumps that can then be divided and replanted. Let other perennials self-seed for example, Verbena bonariensis, digitalis or sisyrinchium thus creating new plants for free. Then arrange a plant swap with friends to increase the range in your garden.

  • Club together with friends to buy bulbs in bulk (50,100 etc) direct from the suppliers.

  • Trade jobs with your neighbouring gardeners and friends tall people can help with hedges while the less physically strong can do weeding and pruning. Also, club together to hire a shredder to turn hard prunings into mulch, which can be recycled back into the garden.

Cherry Mills Garden Design, Godalming. For more details, e-mail her at or visit

Organic gardener, Gilli Cooling

Based in Carshalton, Gilli Cooling works in harmony with nature, providing habitats for all kinds of wildlife, which in turn benefits her garden with its abundance of organically grown plants. A member of the Surrey Organic Gardening Group, she also teaches local children through gardening classes. Here, she shares a few pearls of wisdom

  • Propagate from within your garden by taking cuttings. It is both easy
    and economical.

  • Recycled objects can make great sculptural focal points or containers. For example, a neighbour was throwing out an old metal bed-head, which I turned into a decorative feature.

  • Also, growing bamboo or willow gives you stems you can cut and turn into stakes for plants (which are expensive to keep replacing), hurdles or even an arbour.

  • Integrate vegetables through the garden to encourage beneficial insects. Its how old gardens used to work, with everything inter-planted.

For more information about the Surrey Organic Gardening Group, visit their website at

More from Surrey Life

Fri, 10:06

We round up 10 of the most beautiful photos of Surrey shared on Instagram this week…

Read more
Thu, 11:11

This edition of Surrey Life features all the local ingredients to make this month special

Read more
Thu, 00:00

To mark the appointment of Peter Estlin, a former head boy at King Edward’s Witley, as new Lord Mayor of the City of London, Surrey Life has joined forces with the 400-pupil school to give away two tickets to the Lord Mayor’s Show on 10 November plus an overnight stay in London

Read more
Wed, 14:33

With The Great British Bake Off back on our screens the nation is falling in love with baking once again. Head pastry chef at Pennyhill Park, Sarah Frankland, tells us about what it takes to make it as a professional

Read more
Tue, 10:51

Wrap up in your favourite coat and scarf, grab your sparklers and a warming drink, and enjoy one of these fantastic firework displays taking place in Surrey for bonfire night

Read more
Tue, 10:49

Home to outstanding architecture, ambitious community projects and arts ventures that are putting these villages firmly on the map, East and West Horsley are among our county’s most desirable addresses

Read more
Tue, 10:43

Chertsey’s best-kept secret, the Great Cockcrow Railway, steamed into a half-century this year

Read more
Tue, 10:34

A taste of Korea has swept into the beautiful market town of Godalming as Bada sets out its stall with a tapas-style fusion of seafood, traditional dishes and spice

Read more
Mon, 16:06

With friendship as the central theme in Adele Parks’ new book, Zoe Richards met up with the bestselling author and her publisher, Kate Mills, to find out how these two Surrey dwellers have discovered a successful working relationship, and become firm friends too

Read more
Mon, 11:37

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend: art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Mon, 00:00

As the twilight falls, the magic begins… There’s something for everyone at Christmas at Kew – and we’re giving you the chance to win one of five family tickets for two adults and two children to the Preview Night of Christmas at Kew on Wednesday 21 November 2018

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Good table manners have long been a source of national pride but in this modern age of social media are our longstanding traditions being left behind? Rebecca Younger visits the stately Beaverbrook estate for a lesson in British etiquette

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The spookiest time of the year is fast approaching! We pick some of the best events to celebrate Halloween in Surrey

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search