Take these simple steps towards using water wisely in your garden
- Credit: PA
With warm weather forecast for the bank holiday, Regan Harris from Anglian Water offers some water saving tips for those tending their garden this weekend.
Sunny days and lighter evenings offer us more opportunity to get outside and enjoy our gardens - the downside is realising just how much tidying up and preparation there is to do before we can start enjoying the better weather.
Whatever the weather does bring this summer, you can be sure that it pays to make your gardening as water efficient as possible; less watering means more time spent enjoying it, and it’s good for the environment and the region’s water supplies. Plus, if you’re on a meter it will mean cheaper bills too.
Regan Harris from Anglian Water, said: “Living in one of the driest regions in the country it’s even more important we use water wisely all year round, whatever the weather brings. The good news is there are lots of simple steps which we can take to be more water efficient, especially in the garden.
“Saving rainwater, choosing drought-resistant plants, watering carefully at the right time of day and generally loving every drop can make a really big difference to the environment and still produce a beautiful garden.”
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You can find green-fingered advice and free water-saving packs on Anglian Water’s ‘Potting Shed’ (www.anglianwater.co.uk/thepottingshed) – a partnership between Anglian Water and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) which was launched during the drought which hit this region back in 2012. Customers can order their free water-saving garden kit from the website and have it delivered to their home.
Regan added: “The free pack includes water storing crystals, watering mats, lavender seeds and a handy guide to water-friendly plants as well as advice on what jobs to do in the garden and when.
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“People can also join our online green-fingered Potting Shed community on Facebook www.facebook.com/thepottingshedclub. Here you can find hints and tips, and get inspiration and ideas from other budding gardeners.
“All of which helps to make sure that, with a little planning and some small changes, we can make sure our gardens are beautiful come rain or shine.”
To help you get started, here are some of Anglian Water’s top tips to help you make the most of your garden while saving water:
How and when you go about watering your garden will make all the difference to how often you need to water and how much water you use. The best advice is to check the weather forecast first, it may rain tomorrow. When it does, make use of a water butt to store any rain for use in the summer.
• Water plants in the late evening. It’s more effective in the cooler evening air.
• Water around the base of the plants. Watering over the leaves of plants is wasteful because a high proportion will be lost to evaporation. If watered during sunshine it can scorch the plants too.
• Avoid watering plants little and often as this encourages shallow rooting. Occasional but thorough watering will make plants more resilient to periods of drought.
• Use a watering can rather than a hosepipe or sprinkler. It’s more accurate and means your plants get a much better drink, and less water is wasted.
A great garden starts with good soil- which helps to retain moisture to feed your lovely plants. Applying a few inches of mulch, gravel or bark over your soil will help lock the moisture in and has the added benefit of discouraging weeds.
Try these tips for looking after your soil:
• Use a hoe to keep the soil broken, this will prevent weeds taking hold and help keep the soil moist. A hardened and cracked soil prevents water soaking in easily.
• Spike your lawn to help rain get to the roots.
• Add water-retaining gel to peat-free compost in containers - this is particularly effective for hanging baskets.
• Plants that cover the ground create shade which helps to reduce evaporation from the soil.
• Leave your lawn a little bit longer so it keeps moisture in and don’t water it – grass is very resilient and will quickly bounce back following dry spells.
Plus, if we get really lucky with the sunshine you might be tempted to get out your paddling pool- if you do, why not recycle the water for watering your plants, or even washing the dog!
And don’t forget, the East of England is home to some of the best bathing water in the country, so why not take a day trip to your local beach to enjoy the sunshine there.