Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Gardeners against gluttony- Is it time to rail against the regime?

I’m starting a new campaign, resolution or whatever you want to call it. Gardeners Against Gluttony; where fellow growers, gardeners and greenhousers continue to do what we do best. Share.

image (1)5We love to share our gardening secrets, share garden produce, share our time and share our plants and seeds. Many more open their private gardens for charitable causes or support garden charities in other ways.

So this is nothing new, but it is a backlash against Black Friday, Cyber Monday and anything else the marketing monsters dream up to push sales.
The sight of customers fighting over flat screen televisions was the very last straw for me. It’s Gluttony Gone Mad.

Has there been a power surge that has sent everyone’s telly into meltdown? Do we really need a sixty-inch screen to watch the ‘box’?

And don’t get me started on those disgusting bulk roasts for the festive season, where they stuff one poor, dead creature inside another and another and hail it as a gourmet feast. Really?? And you want to eat that?? Three dead carcasses in one? Gourmet? Indulgent? That’s really quite disgusting.

So back to the greenhouse and my challenge to my fellow greenhousers, gardeners, growers and gardening friends. Can you create a range of garden sourced gifts, decorations and gourmet delights that cost pence and not pounds to delight friends and family?

Of course you can. Just think outside the box and spend a little time plotting, planning and planting with what you have. It’s not about being stingy, it’s about being creative, using your time and energy more wisely and thinking about the environment.

Recycled Gifts from the Garden

image5For example, I ran out of compost this week, so my plans to plant some containers with spring flowering bulbs were on hold. As it turned out, this was perfect timing, for not only did it save me some time and money, but it got me into the greenhouse and out and about.

A visit to the local, weekly recycling event yesterday (the boot fair) was a great success. I managed to buy four large, gorgeous, weathered, vintage terracotta pots for £2, i.e. 50p each. What a result.

Now I absolutely love old flowerpots and when married with a carefully nurtured cutting, or a handful of sprouting bulbs, tied with coloured raffia or ribbon and wrapped in brown paper, well they make the perfect gift.

By the time I’d traipsed around the two hundred or so stalls at the boot fair, I was too tired to visit the garden centre to buy the compost anyway. But revived by a cuppa and a piece of cake and some precious time in my greenhouse I realised that I had plenty of secondhand compost I could use instead.

After all, I reasoned, does it matter if I reuse the compost from my tomatoes and herbs to grow bulbs? The bulbs have already been nurtured and mollycoddled to ensure that they flower next spring? Any tomato diseases are unlikely to affect the tulips and narcissi. It’s not soggy, smelly compost; it looks and feels great. It’s clean compost that has only supported plants for about four or five months. It doesn’t need to be rich in nutrients; it just needs to be well drained and supportive. So I simply shook off all the loose compost from my spent tomato and basil plants into a large container and used it to plant my bargain pots.

A bag of mixed tulips and a bag of Tete a Tete narcissi were plenty enough to fill four large pots and hey presto, they are now sitting in the greenhouse ready to give as gifts. A very satisfying afternoon spent creating some lovely pots of bulbs, for a few lucky friends or neighbours. OK I may keep one of them myself.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in the Garden

I have to warn you that it’s addictive. Cheap skate I am not, but I do love to reuse and recycle and applying these sentiments to the festive season and to the garden and greenhouse just seem to make sense. So here’s the challenge. Create something from the garden to give as a gift that you’d be thrilled to receive yourself. Get the kids involved too and see how creative you can be.

I’m off outside to make a foliage wreath for the door from garden greenery, rosehips and hawthorns. In fact I may make a few and give them to my neighbours as gifts this season as well.