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News: Spring/Summer 2006

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Water saving tips for gardeners

Appeared on Space For Nature on May 4th 2006
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Top gardening author gives his advice on coping with drought conditions in the garden.
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 Details  
Andy McIndoe, author of The Hillier Gardener's Guide to Design & Planting (David & Charles, 14.99 paperback) and Managing Director of Hillier Nurseries, will be giving a 30 minute presentation on the 'Let's Talk Gardening' Stage at BBC Gardeners' World Live at the NEC on the 18 June at 3pm. (The lectures are free however you have to pay to get into the event.) Here are his top ten tips for conserving water in the garden.
  1. Use your bath water and washing up water on plants in the open ground. Providing you are sparing in the use of detergents this makes useful irrigation water.
  2. Don't waste water on the lawn, save it for flowers and vegetables. Grass does not die it just goes dormant in dry weather. The lawn may look parched and brown but it quickly recovers when rain comes.
  3. Set your mower higher to leave the grass a little longer. Longer grass retains its green colour for longer. Short grass looks dry and brown in drought conditions.
  4. Use a loam-based compost such as John Innes in pots and containers. It holds water and nutrients more efficiently and plants are less liable to wilt.
  5. Cover the surface of the compost in pots and containers with gravel or decorative stone chippings. This looks good and helps to keep the compost cool and retains moisture.
  6. Mulch flowerbeds and borders with a good depth of chipped bark. This retains moisture and suppresses weeds at the same time.
  7. Always water in the early morning or late in the evening when the ground and plants are cooler. Less water evaporates and more water gets to the roots.
  8. Save plastic water and soft drinks bottles, cut off the bases and bury inverted alongside newly planted trees and shrubs. Water into these, they act as funnels and direct water straight to the roots.
  9. Choose bedding plants that require less water: geraniums, petunias, helichrysum and gazanias are all good choices. Reduce watering once the roots are established.
  10. Think Mediterranean and aromatic: lavender, sage, thyme and rosemary all like hot dry conditions and produce aromatic foliage, great for summer barbecues.
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 Source  
Clare Owen, Publicity & Marketing Manager, David & Charles Book Publishers. 2006. Email March 28th 2006.

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