Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

The Price of Colour February 24, 2009

Starter KitIt’s time for an admission. I have a small addiction. One that I’d like to share with you. I’m not proud of it you understand. No no. But it does come in handy.

I keep count of EVERYTHING I spend on the garden.

Yes. I know. I shouldn’t. The cost isn’t important is it? What’s that about the price of everything and value of nothing? Well, I hope there’s a balance that can be struck between those two.

This picture shows my ‘starter kit’.  A couple of plastic window boxes, plastic watering can (with a rose attachment), soil (organic, apparently) and a whole bunch of plants – dianthus, celosia, impatiens, alyssum, lobelia, zinnia, viola, pansy, dahlia and an aster that I ruined in double quick time.

In hindsight maybe this was the ‘deluxe starter pack’ or perhaps intermediate. I didn’t see much point in half measures and went all out to get off to a good start.

Over the next few weeks I added more window boxes (there are six now), some additional plants and LOTS more soil. Is this a good time to mention I don’t have a car? Let me confirm your prejudices – you do get some funny looks carrying gardening paraphernalia around on public transport. This also heavily influences the plant choice. Anything that doesn’t come with a carrying handle and is likely to need juggling while searching for the bus fare is definitely out. They don’t tell you these things in gardening manuals do they?

Maggie in summerOk, so deep breath now. By the end of June, between soil, plants, boxes, hammer-drill hire, fixtures and fittings I’d spent about £300 (we’ll not mention the £100+ spent on three BIG plants, pots and various other little plants for the house – delivered by a friendly driver I hasten to add!)

Over the rest of the year, having accepted that there would be quite a largish set-up cost, there was a much more frugal period. Some winter bedding plants (cyclamen and pansy) to try and keep colour about the place, a bunch of bulbs for some spring cheer and then a bit of a splurge on setting up the seed/propagator factory.

There’s a real temptation to go buy things when visiting the garden centre, especially as it’s not a simple operation to ferry items back. But all those small purchases soon add up. It wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve intended to pay by cash and ended up having to use the plastic card!

Before starting I doubt I would have expected to spend this much. And I’m not sure that it really says that gardening is, or needs to be, expensive – just that it’s easy to get a bit carried away.

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4 Responses to “The Price of Colour”

  1. Glo Says:

    A very enjoyable read 🙂 You’ve conjured up some priceless images of struggling onto pubic transport with armfuls of gardening ‘ware’. I think it’s a great idea to keep track of how much you spend on gardening, by the way. Being aware of expenditures keeps things in perspective. However, it reminds me of the saying ~ Don’t count the days ~ make the days count. It’s all how you look at things. By your post, I think whatever you’ve spent is definitely worth it for the pure pleasure you are having and sharing with us. Not having a car saves expenses. That would add up to so much more! How did your interest in gardening evolve, or have you mentioned this previously and I missed it?

  2. Thanks glo. You’ve summed the public transport dilemma up pretty well and I doubt the picture you have in your mind is much different from the reality!! Luckily I reckon everyone else on buses is pretty unhinged as well so I fit right in 🙂
    That’s a really good question about why I got started. I’ll need to have a serious think about it as I can’t really remember what triggered me from thought to action. A bit worrying since it was only a few months ago!

  3. Flighty Says:

    As Glo says a good read, and one I have to say which made me smile somewhat.
    I’m sure that you look on it as money well spent! Besides which from now on what you spend should be far less, minimal even.

  4. tempusflits Says:

    To me what you have here looks more triumph than anything else.


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