Top 10 Tips for Coping with the Hose Pipe Ban
With the prospect of hose pipe bans soon becoming a reality in many parts of our region we have put together our top 10 tips to help you cope. Living without your hose pipe isn’t the end of the world; now’s the time to embrace your watering can, your new best friend.
1. Collect rain water with water butts- some plants such as rhododendrons and camellias actually prefer it. If you haven’t got one it’s a really good idea to get one if not two.
2. Water at the right time of day – Water either first thing in the morning or later on in the evening. This will reduce water loss from evaporation.
3. Recycle bath and washing water for watering the garden– (so-called ‘grey water’) – If you want to recycle this sort of water it’s best if you use organic or environmentally friendly natural products for washing in the first place so that it doesn’t harm your plants when you reuse it.
4. Group pots together in the shade and stand them in saucers. If it gets really hot you might also have to take down any hanging baskets and stick them in the shade as well.
5. Dig in plenty of organic matter to help the soil lock in moisture when it does rain and consider mulching your borders with manure or garden compost.
6. Don’t worry too much about watering your lawns. Established grass is incredibly tough and will green up again in the autumn. (You will still need to water newly laid turf if you can. If not you’ll have to leave any turfing jobs until the autumn).
7. Water the base of the plants, not the foliage – This way it goes straight to the soil where it’s needed. Make a puddle around each plant and water slowly to allow the water to seep down to the roots.
8. Choose plants that tolerate dry conditions. Examples below;
Dry and Sunny-
Generally, plants with a tough, silvery leaf such as cistus, lavender, lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina), Russian sage (Perovskia), dianthus, phlomis, rosemary and thyme will all do well in the sun and many will give the added bonus of a fabulous scent. They originate from the Mediterranean and they all are used basking in the sun. Other plants that will do well are iris germanica, alliums, thrift, coreopsis, agapanthus and gaillardia.
Geraniums and osteospernums and petunias are the most draught tolerant of the summer bedding plants
Dry and Shadey -
A bit more tricky but it is not impossible to overcome. Top of the list is the Epimedium rubrum, a great little plant with a pinky purple flower, and then there is Mahonia aquifolium or Oregon Grape which is an evergreen shrub with fragrant yellow flowers in late spring. Periwinkles (Vinca), elephant’s ears, liriope and butcher’s broom (Ruscus) will also do O.K. For foliage colour go for the many euonymus varieties such as ‘Emerald and Gold’ or ‘Silver Queen’ or try the Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Album’ which has a great white flower and will do well in dry shade.
9. To try to reduce the need for watering in the first place get the secateurs out and cut back the excess foliage on your perennials, this will keep them bushy and reduce the watering burden.
10. Keep the weeds down as much as possible as they can be nutrient and moisture robbers, taking away much needed water from your cherished perennials.