New Year, New Yew

The longest month of the year has come and gone but many of us still feel the pinch of the new-year-new-decade. It is a great time to start looking at ways to save money and, low and behold, you can save a Randela or two by changing up your patio or indoor plant game – and create a happy space that does more than just bloom. Think Friday sundowners without the need for an Uber.

Sit tight and listen up while your wallet takes a sigh of relief because we will be looking at 5 money-saving tips for your plants and their care.

1. Evaluate what you want and what you have.
Contours Design Studio predicts that the new trend in the green industry is colour. Not just plant foliage or flowers, but accent colours, from dark teals to bright yellows and dull pinks, accent colour is the new IT item to have. Look at your current garden or plant decor, if you have old pots that no longer suit your new style, give them a new lease on life by painting them a new colour! This saves you a ton of money and gets the creative juices flowing. Perhaps incorporate some colour onto the garden walls by creating patterns with painters tape.

2. Be thrifty as heck.
No one is beneath a good dumpster dive. Well, it depends on the dumpster and the depth of the dive. But truly embrace the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and you will be smiling all the way to the bank. Municipal drop-offs or waste management facilities, especially in the Cape Town area, have managed to come up with a shop system. Anything that they deem useful, from old wooden pallets, doors and crates, to chairs, typewriter and old birdcages are up for grabs for a ridiculous price. I got some wooden pallets for a DIY decking project and all the wood needed cost me a staggering R120.00/ USD$ 8.5 and the deck looks just as rustic and good as I wanted. I would have easily had to fork out over a grand if I wanted to buy the wood new.

3. Upcycle
That single-use plastic item you are about to trash can easily be modified into a container for a plant or become an eco brick that you can use in the construction of a new garden wall or a furniture piece for outdoors. Old wellingtons? Cut holes in the toes, fill it up with some drainage stone and plant it up for a quirky planter. Old socks make great pot liners and keep stones from spilling out. Use an old chandelier and put a little succulent in the light holes – a beautiful green chandelier as you’ve never seen before.
With a little bit of imagination and a hot glue gun, you can achieve all your goals.

4. Grow your own
Even if you have limited space, propagating your own plants is easier than you think. We can easily propagate most plants in a jar of water; just keep the water fresh by replacing it every third day and once you have a substantial amount of roots, transplant them into a new pot. A good rule of thumb is to have more mass below ground than on top, this will ensure any transplant shock is minimized and your success rate is almost guaranteed. You can grow seedlings of vegetables on the kitchen counter and transplant when needed. It also doubles as a fun project for the kids to see how certain plants grow and track root development!

5. Trade
Just like you used to trade pokemon cards in your youth, you need to trade plants, cuttings and seeds with your fellow plant enthusiasts. I am not endorsing the cutting and or stealing of bits of plants from shops and nurseries; I am talking about trading fairly and asking someone if you may have a cutting or twelve. There are more plant parents out there then you think. Sign up to garden clubs in your area, often plant trade days are advertised on Instagram, and some community groups on Facebook freely trade with one another.

So going forward, evaluate what you have; be thrifty (always); upcycle; grow and trade and you will be saving a large chunk of disposal income. If all else fails, get the professionals in – Contours Design Studio can design and install your dream garden, without all the blood, sweat, tears and frustration associated with DIY.

Mark Mac Hattie is a Landscape Designer and blogger for Contours Design Studio.
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