You don't need pricey products to transform your garden – here's 8 ways to get plants for free | The Sun

FROM tulip bulbs sold for gazillions in the 1600s to a snowdrop that fetched £1,850 on Ebay last year ­– gardening can cost the earth.

An RHS Chelsea Show Garden takes £180,000 to assemble and even turfing your lawn can hit your pocket where it hurts.

But you concrete over your outdoor space  – here at Sun Gardening we have some top tips on how to get everything you need to glow up your garden for free. 


Councils up and down the country are currently turning your green waste into compost – and are desperate to give it away for nothing. Just google ‘free compost council’ to find your local spot.

Check you don’t have to make an appointment to turn up and bring your own spades and bags. 


Community Gardens and Orchards host open days – where they get rid of surplus plants and give great expert advice for free.

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Or you can volunteer there and take home all sorts of treasures. Just look on your local websites for more info. 


Local seed swaps take place regularly across the UK – where you exchange packets you never got round to using – or seeds straight from your garden – in return for other people’s. 


Online marketplaces like Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and Freecycle are a haven for cheap or free garden products and plants –  you can even bag bigger items like unwanted greenhouses and second hand tools for nothing. 


Listen to gardening podcasts. Usually hosted by very clever gardening folk, they offer a wealth of advice on getting free plants, how to turn your garden into Eden.

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Or just how not to kill tomatoes. I like Talking Heads, and Skinny Jeans Gardener. 


Join a local gardening club – you’ll be amazed at the joy you can get from sharing your top tips, learning new tricks and swapping plants. The RHS has a club locator on their site. 


Garden influencers on social media can be great inspiration – and more and more are tuning into the cost of living crisis with money saving advice and realistic reviews.

Most importantly they’re often giving away free stuff in competitions and have loads of top tips.

Try @viewfromthepottingbench and @greenfingeredcityboy for starters.


And finally – just ask your local community – via street whatsapp groups, school mum get togethers and local websites – and you’ll unearth a whole gang of garden enthusiasts desperate to get rid of all the plants they grew in their greenhouse and now have absolutely no room for.

Happy Planting!

HI, I’m Veronica Lorraine, The Sun’s new Gardening Editor.

It’s a great honour to carry on the paper’s proud tradition of horticultural coverage.

As an RHS-trained professional gardener and journalist with 18 years at The Sun, I know our readers are passionate about tending their outside spaces.

So each week I’ll bring you all the news, tips, tutorials, competitions, Q&As and seasonal advice.

No matter how or where you garden.

Happy Planting!


DID you know all those colourful piles of autumn leaves can be turned into FREE compost with hardly any effort?

All you need to do is put them in a damp plastic bag or bin liner, pierce it with a few holes and tie the top loosely – and then leave it hidden away for up to two years.

It will breakdown slowly using fungus to create leafmould – which is perfect for seed-sowing compost, soil conditioner or mulch.

I’ve found most trees that lost their leaves in autumn will work, as long as they are not evergreen or needles.

It might help to shred the bigger leaves such as horse chestnut and sycamore first.

Just make sure they are not contaminated with rubbish, so collections from quieter residential streets are better.

This week’s tip

BULB planting time! Although many will have diligently got their daffs in the ground, there is still time for tulips – and suppliers are offering huge discounts.

Here's a treat for you

FROM today it’s National Tree Week and you can get a tree FREE!

The annual event sees the conservation sector and volunteers get together to plant thousands of saplings.

This year is special as it marks the 50th anniversary of The Tree Council, so the charity is asking everyone to participate in an organised event or host their own party.

Visit for your free party pack.

Or to order your free tree, you should go to


GET those bulbs in the ground with Burgon and Ball’s RHS-endorsed bulb planter for £20.99, or save with B&Q’s, at £5.05.


SOME folk cook Christmas dinner on their barbecue – and this beast we’re giving away to a lucky reader even has a built-in air fryer for your spuds!

For a chance to win the £699 Landmann Fryton Gas BBQ see (or write to Sun BBQ Comp, PO Box 3190, Colchester, CO2 8GP, including your name, address, age, email or phone number).

  • Entries close Dec 9, 2023. T&Cs apply, 18+, UK only.


Q) MY aspidistra isn’t growing and some leaves have got yellow tips.

Can it be revived?

Mr Richardson, Hemel Hempstead, Herts

A) Yellowing leaves and stunted growth indicate under-watering.

Keep it away from direct sunlight and allow the top third to dry between waters.

Re-pot in loose, well-draining soil.

Apply liquid fertilizer monthly in growing season, reducing in autumn and winter.


National Tree Week is the UK’s annual celebration of…you’ve guessed it…where each year the conservation sector, volunteers and anyone interested gets together at the beginning of tree planting season to plant thousands of them all over the country. 

And this year’s is extra special as it marks the 50th anniversary of charity The Tree Council – so they’re asking everyone to either participate in an organised event or host your own tree party!! 

Visit The Tree Counciland download your free party pack. Or visit the Woodland Trust to order your free tree! They’re currently taking orders now for March 2024. 

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