Visit any garden centre, nursery, supermarket or discount store and almost every one of them has a rainbow display of bedding plants, shrubs, planters and all things gardening for sale.

However, before we rush out and buy, take a few minutes to do the homework. On a recent visit to a large DIY store I took a shine to a rather delicate tree, pale green leaves with pink tips – a Salix, which the shop was selling for £15 each.

The same day, I called into my local nursery and the same tree was priced at £12.99. A few days later, these lovely little trees were on sale at my local supermarket for just £10 each.

Of course, the moral of the story is to shop around. But gardening is not all about price. Naturally, we have the internet to turn to for guidance, but the experience of professional staff can make all the difference.

Undoubtedly, price is important, but choosing plants to suit the conditions of our own garden is vital, failing to do often means that plants don’t thrive or even die – money wasted. If you have green fingers it’s not so difficult, but for those of us who are new to gardening it’s often worth buying from a local nursery, where trained staff will answer questions and help us to make the right decisions.

My top tips are:

1. Set a budget and stick to it.

2. Use a PH soil tester to check the soil’s acidity.

3.Research the height and spread of shrubs before buying.

4.Plan your planting, taking into account, sunshine, shade, drainage and the direction the garden faces.

5. Shop around.

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