Summer is one of our favourite seasons and this year we seem to be enjoying some extended periods of warm weather. (It’s almost as if we’re having a proper summer!)
We hope we’re not going to jinx things, but we thought it might be a good time to think about the garden and how to keep it hydrated during the dry spells.
We’re not quite at 1976 levels - when the UK experienced one of its most prolonged heatwaves which led to domestic water rationing - but some statistics show that at peak demand up to 70% of water supply can be used in gardens, which can have a serious impact on supplies.
So let’s take a look at ways we can minimise our water use and not only help reduce our impact on the environment, but for those of us on a water meter, help save our pockets.
Watch the weather reports
Okay, so it might seem an obvious one…but keep an eye on the weather. If showers are forecast then you don’t need to water your garden. Watering before a drought period sets in can help keep moisture levels up so long range forecasts are also worth keeping note of.
Waterbutts are a fantastic way to collect water and we would recommend having more than one in the garden to collect as much run-off rain water as possible (and don’t forget the stand so you can get a watering can underneath!). Why not collect and re-use grey water from the bath or kitchen sink to water plants?
Plan your chores
Evaporation occurs less during early morning or late evening so these are the best times to water. Sprinklers are best for tackling a lawn whilst a drip irrigation system provide the perfect solution for daily watering of containers and pots…even whilst you are away.
Don’t worry about established lawns turning brown. This shows the grass has stopped growing, but most lawns will recover completely when the rain returns. Longer grass sends down deeper roots and provides more shade so don’t cut the lawn too short
Mulches are great for borders, helping to retain moisture in the soil, as are water retaining gels for planted containers and baskets. Remember that weeds also need moisture to grow so keep on top of your borders and make sure they’re not competing with your plants.
WATER EFFICIENCY AT BENTS: BENTS GREEN FOOTPRINT 2
Here at Bents, water is an essential part of our business as we rely on a good quality and consistent supply for the health of our plants. We are fortunate to have our own water recycling system that has not only ensured our self-reliance for all water usage, but has accommodated our extensive growth over the past 30 years.
In 1976 we built a 3.5m gallon man-made lake into which all rainwater from our buildings and site is collected. The water from our lake, which was extended in 2011, is then filtered and used to water the plants in the garden centre plant area and on our extensive nursery. The recycling process then continues with all water draining back into the underground drainage system and returning to the lake along with any additional rainwater.
This ensures that Bents does not rely on water from the local authority; a major benefit to all parties, especially during the dryer months when water shortages can often affect households.
And now our lake is not only a self-reliant water supply but also a valuable part of our destination, attracting wildlife to the site and providing visitors to our Fresh Approach Restaurant with an attractive viewing area.