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Friday, 20 March, 1998, 18:08 GMT
How does your garden grow?
watering the garden
Gardeners are often portrayed as gleeful water wasters, merrily watering their lush lawns as Britain's reservoirs empty.

Here are some tips for the environmentally concerned gardener on how to keep your plots greener for longer, even if this year is a scorcher:

  • Lawns do not need regular watering. The grass will turn brown in a drought but will not actually die unless there is no rain for about 8 months. Unlikely even if Britain is hotting-up a little.

  • If having a green lawn is really important to you then try using some household water twice or collect rainwater from the roof in a water butt. This can be used throughout the garden.

  • One of the best ways a gardener can help a lawn to look better for longer in a drought is to leave the grass to grow a little longer. Set the mower at its highest notch when you mow the lawn and leave the clippings on the surface.

  • Always water your garden in the early morning or late evening. This way the water does not evaporate before it has had a chance to soak down to the roots where it is needed. Avoid watering little and often as this encourages surface roots which can easily dry out. As well as saving water, infrequent watering also helps plants by making them more resilient.

  • Consider choosing plants for your garden that need less water. Plants like willow, elder, bamboo, clematis, primula and azalea need constantly moist soil so can be a problem.

  • Lavender, lilacs, tulips, sunflowers, carnations, wall flowers, jasmine, holly, broom, buddleia and crocuses all survive dry spells. Try adding some ground cover plants as well to prevent evaporation from the soil.
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See also:

20 Mar 98 | Water Week
The summer of '76
20 Mar 98 | Water Week
The water companies under pressure
20 Mar 98 | Water Week
Where has all the water gone?
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