Forum home The potting shed

Geoff Hamilton

The late Geoff Hamilton was well known for his philosophy of gardening on a budget. Who could forget the time when he used takeaway containers and polystyrene coffee cups for raising seeds in, and the time Geoff turned a wooden orange crate into a light box with a bit of tin foil and clear plastic.

There was also the memorable occasion when Geoff made a pave area in his Paradise Garden series with all sorts of odds and ends including roofing tiles, bricks, cobbles and even a section of sewage pipe obtained from a reclaimed yard for next to nothing.  

Also let’s not forget the 1983 series where Geoff set out to see if it was possible to maintain and build up an attractive and usable ornamental garden for a young family, keeping them in fruit and vegetables on a weekly budget of £2! 

In today’s world, gardening on a budget is even more relevant. Do you have any tips on how you gardening on a budget or can you recall any of Geoff’s other ways he saved money in the garden?

Geoff was truly ahead of his time teaching us that to enjoy our gardens we do not have to spend large amounts of money.

«134

Posts

  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 3,688
    Yes,  GH was one of the "old school" gardeners as was Alan Titchmarsh before he got into the silly makeover stuff.
    I suppose you need to decide on what your budget is for your garden.  Some find that growing their own veg is economically viable whilst others don't.  So much "shop" bought produce lacks flavour IMO .  Seeds are more expensive as is compost if you can't make your own so all has to be taken into account.  
    As for "making useful things from old useless things, if you trawl thru this forum, you will find that a lot of us are still doing that - not only recycling and saving money too but being thrilled to bits with the results.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,012
    You can still buy a boxed set of the DVDs for his Cottage Garden, Ornamental Kitchen Garden and Paradise Garden series and mine came with free DVD of excerpts from GW including making a pond, a stream, a herb garden and more.  All full of tips for DIY and using recycled as well as fancier materials for all budgets.

    The accompanying books have the plans for the obelisks, planters, pergolas and arbours to make at home and save loads of money.  Full of ideas.

    I also remember him sowing peas in guttering to get ahead then sliding them out into beds when big enough - something Sarah Raven repeated later on GW without acknowledging GH.   There were also the invisible plant supports made from bending metal rods round paint cans which Monty showed us but using trees and again without acknowledgement.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • There must be a hundred different videos on YouTube showing how to break-up old pallets and twice that number showing things to make with them.  Strangely only a few mention straightening the nails for reuse.  I've broken up pallets for all sorts of things .... fencing, repairs, greenhouse staging, shelving.  Maybe I've been lucky but I've never had any problems with chemically treated ones; I know what markings to look for but I've never actually found any.

    Any container that resembles a plant pot can be repurposed as such.  Holes can be drilled in the bottom or holes can be stoppered with glued-in plastic.

    As for those long laterally-opening plastic pots (don't know what they're called) that are made for sowing sweet peas and broad beans, seems that newspaper pots work just as well, sometimes better.

    The list is, I'm sure, endless :)
    When there's always biscuits in the tin, where's the fun in biscuits ?
  • B3B3 Posts: 27,325
    I also had great respect for AT until he got silly.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • I'd forgotten just how good Geoff H was.  I still occasionally consult a couple of his books.  Think I'll download his organic gardening book for a nostalgic read through.
    When there's always biscuits in the tin, where's the fun in biscuits ?
  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,502
    I'd forgotten just how good Geoff H was.  I still occasionally consult a couple of his books.  Think I'll download his organic gardening book for a nostalgic read through.
    I agree, still consult his books. 
    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • BluejaywayBluejayway Posts: 331
    His son, Nick, has written a biography of him.  Only just started it but it's interesting.  Think there's to be a second volume too.
    I try to remember “this too shall pass”.
    Retired and living in Wales.
  • Instead of downloading his Organic Gardening book as I said I would, I downloaded 'Geoff Hamilton : The Complete Gardener' by Tony Hamilton, his surviving twin brother.  Oh My Goodness, what an excellent read it is ... packed with anecdotes and stories about Geoff and his life, full of excellent photographs of Barnsdale and the like, advice on planning and growing.  I just can't recommend the book enough.   Wish I'd read it years ago !
    When there's always biscuits in the tin, where's the fun in biscuits ?
Sign In or Register to comment.