Our Senior Policy Manager Karen Gibbs loves nothing more than spending time in her treasured garden. And over the years she’s picked up some handy tips on how to use less water but still have a flourishing garden.
Here are Karen’s top five tips:
Water at the right time
It can be so tempting during hot weather to rush to water our plants having convinced ourselves that they will quickly wilt in the sweltering heat. But if you water plants too often their roots will remain shallow and weak. So before you make a dash for the watering can, check the soil a good few inches beneath the surface. If it’s still damp your plants don’t need watering; if it’s dry then it’s time for a drink.
Get to the root of the issue
‘Where’ is just as important as ‘when’, when it comes to watering plants and shrubs. Targeting around the roots will help to ensure the water goes exactly where it is needed, while helping to discourage the growth of weeds by keeping the surrounding soil dry. The most effective – although admittedly time-consuming – way to do this is by using a watering can that can more precisely target the roots.
Weed out those unwanted garden guests
It’s the job even the most enthusiastic gardeners hate – weeding. But rooting out these unwelcome flower bedfellows will help to ensure your plants soak up the moisture and nutrients in your soil. If you’re having trouble getting to grips with weeds check out this Beginners Guide to Controlling Weeds by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Plant some drought-resistant flowers
Some flowers and plants thrive in hot conditions and need far less water to survive than others, making life a lot easier for gardeners. Thyme, evening primrose and rock rose are just a few examples of more drought-resistant plants that can still make an attractive addition to your garden. You’ll find a wider selection on the RHS website.
Invest in a water butt for rainy day savings
You might be surprised to learn that during the summer when there are peaks in demand up to 70 per cent of the tap water we use is for gardening – usually at weekends and holidays. This can put a huge strain on our water supplies and the rivers and natural environment it is sourced from. Given that over half of us now pay for our water on a metered basis it can also drain our finances.
Investing in a water butt means you can tap into a free, natural source of water all year round. The average house roof in the UK collects enough water to fill 450 water butts every year – so your supply is unlikely to dry up.