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Gardening tips

Watering advice

Follow these easy tips to save water and time.

  • Get a water butt so you’ll have water on tap all the time – come rain or shine
  • Collect water from the bath or shower to water your plants
  • Avoid watering lightly every day as this encourages the plant roots to grow near the surface of the soil making them more vulnerable to dry conditions
  • A good soaking every few days (or when the soil becomes dry) will help plants to develop a deep healthy root system
  • Water in the morning before the heat of the day sets in. This helps reduce water loss through evaporation. It also gives plants plenty of time to dry off before night fall, reducing the risk of slug damage and fungal disease
  • When watering aim for the base of the plant, rather than the foliage
  • Add water retaining gel to the compost when you plant up your hanging baskets and containers. These crystals swell and trap moisture to keep plant roots well-watered

Child watering garden with a watering can

Lawn care

  • If it’s brown after a period of dry weather, don’t panic. A good downpour will soon bring it back to life
  • Improve drainages by using a garden fork to poke lots of holes in it
  • Cut the grass slightly longer in dry periods to allow the dew to be trapped which means it will be greener for longer
  • Leave the lawn cuttings on the lawn – it will return moisture and nutrients to the soil
  • Reset your lawn mower blades to 4cm to encourage dense bushy growth
  • Rake out any dead moss and dig out any weeds
  • Early spring is also a great time to sow a new lawn or repair bald patches

Garden plants

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Look for plants suited to dry conditions, they are often good for bees too. For example Lavender, Buddleia, Alliums, Foxglove, Cyclamen and Wallflowers, Alyssum, Geraniums, cornflowers French and African Marigolds, Petunias, Aquilegia, Campanula and Heuchera lavender
  • Choose small plants as they will establish better than mature ones
  • Add compost to the soil before planting to help to improve both water availability and drainage. Do not add fertiliser, as this can encourage too much growth which may flop in summer, require extra watering, and be affected by frost in the winter
  • Use mulches like bark chips or gravel to retain moisture and to help stop weeds

Container gardening

  • Move containers, hanging baskets and pots into shady areas where possible
  • If planting containers, choose ones made from plastic, glazed terracotta or wood. These lose less water than bare terracotta
  • When potting up planters use a small amount of gel crystals. They absorb water and can help retain the moisture in the soil
  • Bury a short length of pipe into a pot. Water into the tube so the water goes directly to the roots
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