When you’re renting, you never quite sure how long you’ll be in once place.
Maybe your flatmate moves out, your lease comes to an end or that tiny patch of damp starts taking over and you just can’t live there any more.
So if you are lucky enough to have a little outside space, investing in planting some flowers and shrubs might seem like a great idea, but of course if you leave a few months later, you’ll have to leave them behind for someone else to enjoy.
Freddie Blackett, CEO & Co-Founder of Patch, has a few recommendations for cheap plants you can buy if you want to brighten up an outdoor space, but are worried about not being able to stick around to see them bloom.
He says: ‘There are two ways of looking at nomadic gardening. On one hand, you might want to plant inexpensive, easy growers that you won’t mind leaving behind when you go. You can buy a dianthus plant for less than the cost of a glass of wine and enjoy its ruffled pink flowers for a summer or two, then bid it farewell when you move, bequeathing it to the next resident.
‘Others you can have for under a fiver include bacopa snowflake, dotted with little star-shaped white flowers; sherbert-coloured African daisy. If you invest roughly the amount you’d spend on a Friday takeaway, you’ll get an array of cheerful flowers to decorate a small outdoor space.’
The other option is to grow something in a pot that you can take with you if you move, but of course, you need something that is still easy enough to transport when you decide to take it to a new home.
Freddie adds: ‘You can invest in a slow grower you can keep potted and take with you, so that when you find your forever home – or your for-a-long-time-home – you’ll have a mature plant that’s already been through its gawky teenage phase.
‘Acers grow fairly slowly and while they’re pretty plants when they’re younger, with their flame-coloured leaves, they get more impressively elegant as they grow. Potted up, they’re easy to transport until they’re a good few years old.
‘Olive trees grow extremely slowly, but if you’ve ever seen one that’s had years to spread its branches you’ll know it’s well worth the wait. Or consider a lemon tree, which could well bear fruit the year you buy it, but should give you noticeably more as it grows.’
Just because you’re not sure where you’ll be in a few months time, don’t be put off. You can also try plants that are cheap, colourful and practical. A herb garden, chilli or tomato plant can be moved but also gives you the satisfaction of growing your own food.
You can also try window boxes and hanging baskets that are portable and don’t take up much space.
And if you aren’t sure where to pick up plants if your inner-city rented flat isn’t near a garden centre, don’t worry. There are lots of ways to get cheap plants without trekking too far.
If you haven’t quite settled down, gardening can still be for you. A plant you only have for a summer or two can bring just as much happiness as one you nurture for a lifetime.
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