There are 3 main reasons gardening seems complicated and by simply avoiding these, gardening becomes easy - promise!
Experienced gardeners save money by harvesting seeds, propagating plants, taking cuttings, and dividing plants, to create free plants. Fun to learn but time consuming and fiddly. There are a lot of processes involved and you really need a greenhouse as well as a lot of other equipment for maximum success.
We are not going to worry about thrift because you are going to learn how to go shopping for your garden with a list and a plan. You will be choosing plants that are easy to grow, going to thrive in their chosen location, give good bang for their buck, and best of all reappear bigger and better each year as if by magic. You can have a big plant splurge and create an instant garden or you can add plants as you can afford them, safe in the knowledge you are not wasting money that may have your garden looking good for a few months in summer but leaves you with a pile of dead twigs to look at all winter.
CHEATING THE SEASONS
This is the main reason gardening seems so complicated. Keen gardeners start in the winter months sowing indoors or in a greenhouse. This gives them a jump start on spring and extends the productive season into winter. Involving a lot of work and kit it starts with sowing seeds in modules, heated propagators, thinning out, potting on, hardening off. It's not necessary and can be bypassed altogether by putting together a planting scheme that naturally gives interest in all seasons and requires no intervention by us other than some watering and planting.
We don’t need to worry about cheating the seasons. We can choose a variety of summer flowering perennials (plants that reappear every year) that flower from May to November. We can underplant these with Spring Flowering Bulb Lasagnes designed to flower from February to June. We can also add winter flowering shrubs chosen to melt into the background during summer months and come to life with flower and fragrance during Winter months. Once this regime is in place - gardening becomes a joy rather than a chore. Filling all spare soil with a succession of bulbs, plants and shrubs means far less room for weeds.
Unsuitables are any plant that needs a lot of primping, maintenance and requires the luxury of wintering indoors. Growing tender exotics is not necessary for an outstanding garden. Choose plants that are spectacular without sulking when they are left outside with cold, damp feet all winter. Avoiding these temperamental beauties saves so much time and work and avoids expensive heartbreaking losses. There are many hardy ‘exotics’ that can be left to the worst of Scottish winters and survive just fine.
What could be more exotic than the Chusan Palm? This is mine and it has grown from knee high to 7ft tall in 8 years. It’s survived Storm Arwen, the Beast from the East and countless other events. It‘s long winded name is Trachycarpus fortunei. There are many other outstanding specimen plants that once planted will look after themselves. Why give ourselves the extra work of overwintering tenders when there are far lower maintenance options?