Bargains galore

by Pippa Greenwood

Whenever I stop to think just how much effort has gone in to the raising, nurturing and production of plants in nurseries and garden centres I can't help but be amazed how inexpensive they are...

HollyI'm like pretty well anyone else I suppose, a bargain is always welcome. Now, whenever I stop to think just how much effort has gone in to the raising, nurturing and production of plants for sale in nurseries and garden centres, I cannot help but be amazed how inexpensive they are (don't like the word 'cheap' as it seems to knock the product down a peg or six!).

No, I've not got more money than sense; it really is incredible when you start to think about the initial materials (say seed, or cuttings), the compost, the feed, the potting-on compost, the containers, in some cases the pest-sprays, the lighting and heating sometimes too. And that is not including the man-hours - probably the most unreliable, stressful and costly element in the equation!

The other day I bought some plants specifically for a step-by-step photo shoot that I was doing for my Mirror newspaper gardening column. There were lots of very reasonably priced ingredients, but what struck me as the most crazy bargain of all: A carry-pack containing six gorgeous, well-formed, compact, vigorous, perfect-looking shrubs, for planting in winter containers. It includes hollies, euonymus, variegated pieris, Choisya ternata, which look great in that sort of planting. But my point is, six fantastic plants that'll go in to several containers...and then could end up as full-sized gorgeous plants in my garden...all for just over £1.00 each. Crazily good value; I just hope whoever propagated them got a decent cut. But how could they have at that price?

P.S. Never grumble about the price of plants again - that is an order!!

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Gardeners' World Web User 08/12/2007 at 17:39

I love to hunt for bargains in the big DIY stores, you get some brilliant plants for next to nothing and they usually just need a bit of TLC to bring them back to life

Gardeners' World Web User 10/12/2007 at 12:39

Yes there are some very, very good bargains to be had on the past-their best shelves!! I still think plants are amazingly inexpensive when you consider what goes in to their production, and I have yet to meet a hugely wealthy plant grower/nurseryman, whatever some of the garden centres might add on...and they really do have an all-in dedication-needing job, can't go off on hols for even a day in the summer!I suggest you suggest clients visit garden centres themselves to get an idea of prices?

Gardeners' World Web User 20/02/2009 at 10:22

hiya im new to gardening ,well nearly my 1st annaversary ive turned my lawn at the front of my house to a veg patch can u all pitch in and give me some advise ive double dug were my potoatoes are going and worked in some organic matter and just single dug the rest added a bit of sand for drainage but i need tips on growing all your secrets please

Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:30

I agree that there are some bargains in bedding and packs to be had, but generally, as a self employed gardener and planting designer I have been shocked at how much more plants are costing at Nurseries this year compared to the last few years. This is not really a reflection on any particular Nursery we use as it seems to be general but Shrubs especially have increased in price, some to £12 or more when for the last 3 or 4 years they have been around £8. I should think the weather and upkeep of Nurseries has caused this - they must have struggled with the climate this year. But it is hard to make clients understand the dramatic rise in costs.