I hope you’ve all had a lovely, long weekend, and although we’ve had lots of rain, I’ve been thinking about the recent hose-pipe ban. Wouldn’t life be a lot easier if we didn’t need to use hose-pipes in our gardens?
I know how frustrating it can be to coax plants through hot, dry weather with no rain in sight. So for a long time now I’ve avoided using a hosepipe in my garden, concentrating instead on having good soil and planting the type of plants that will grow happily in the conditions in my garden.
When a hosepipe ban comes along it doesn’t make any difference. The only plants in my garden that need extra water are baby vegetable plants and seedlings, for these I use water that’s been collected in water butts, or I re-use water from the kitchen.
It’s just common sense and planning ahead, so here are my top 5 tips to help you through the drought.
- Add a generous 10cm (3-4 in) of mulch each year onto damp soil. The structure of the soil becomes nice and chunky so that it holds on to moisture for longer. My garden really notices the difference if I don’t get round to it, so I’ve become very disciplined about this one!
- Plant the right plants in the right place so they’ll be strong and healthy, if they’re in good shape they’ll manage to keep going in adverse circumstances, such as drought
- Don’t waste water on your lawn, it will recover.
- Try to plant shrubs in the autumn so they have plenty of time to develop a good root system, before the challenges of a hot, dry summer.
- Install water butts, it’s surprising how muchrain-water can be harvested from a small shed roof. If you already have them, can you fit anymore in?
From my point of view, this is all part of good garden design. I use these same principles when I’m planning gardens for my clients, so that the plants develop and the whole design works well in the long term.
Forgive the rather shameless plug, but if you want to know more, there’s loads of information in my book Planting Design Essentials.