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Saturday May 18 , 2024

Blue Daisy Blog

Blue Daisy blog written by Nicki Jackson & Jules Clark - for news, views, garden design, gardening and plant observations and thoughts.

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Preparing for Rain after a Heatwave

Posted by on in Gardening

catch-waterThe last two heatwaves and serious lack of rain has had severe consequences on water availability in many counties in the UK and our gardens have really suffered.  With reports of heavy rain and possible flash flooding in the next few days there are a few things we can all do to ready our gardens and not waste that very precious resource – water!

When soil is parched through lack of water it becomes compacted and the gaps between particles gets smaller and smaller, as such any rain that falls won’t be able to penetrate and be absorbed by the plants or grass that are desperately in need. Instead, it will just run off causing the flash flooding they have said is highly likely. 

 

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Heatwave Proof Your Garden

Posted by on in Gardening

droughtresistentplantsThe heatwave really is upon us and if the forecast is anything to go by it could last for a few more weeks yet.  If we're struggling and flagging in the heat just think about how our gardens are coping!  I'm not complaining because before we know it the summer will be over and we'll be into autumn, but it's important to plan for a heatwave next year as our climate is changing whether we like it or not.  

Here's a few ideas on how to heatwave proof your garden:

  • Apply a mulch to your borders and containers in the spring, this will block out light and slow down how quickly the sun evaporates any moisture.
  • Consider the use of water retaining chrystals and add them to your containers
  • Begin buying drought tolerant plants so each year the reliance upon you to save and collect water is reduced
  • Think about harvesting as much rainwater as you can whether that is from a water butt through to the big storage tanks that are buried under the garden or even under a raised decking area. 

That's what we can do for the future but what can we do right now:

  • Move some of your containers into a shady spot especially those that are more needy like annuals, fruit or vegetables; the more sun they have the quicker any moisture in the soil will evaporate
  • Whatever you water do it in the evening, if you water during the day the sun's heat will evaporate any moisture in the area and any wet leaves will scorch when the sun hits them
  • Water slowly but thoroughly, think about watering to the depth of the plant's width and aim your watering can at the base of the plant not the foliage
  • Water containers daily
  • Water established borders every 4-5 days or a bit more often if you see them wilting
  • Water newly planted trees, shrubs and/or perennials every 3-4 days and at least half a watering can per plant
  • Established lawns can be left, even if they change colour as they are really tough and as soon as water is applied they will soon green up and will bounce back.
  • Newly laid turf will need regular watering, slowly but thoroughly.
  • Try to use greywater as much as possible - this is water that has already been used for example bath or shower water.  You can also use water saved from dish washing as long as the water isn't greasy or has lots of detergent in, this grey water can be used on established plants and lawns. 

So now that you have watered, pour yourself a glass or mug of something lovely and sit and enjoy the garden you have created so far!

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Coping with Drought

Posted by on in Gardening

tapWhen I’m designing gardens the subject of climate change sometimes crops up and I’m being asked whether it is possible to ‘drought proof’ a garden.   One garden that has succeeded famously at this is the Beth Chatto Gardens in Essex and her ‘Gravel Garden’ has been an inspiration to gardeners and designers alike.  Her gravel garden works with nature and does not fight against it, she used plants that will cope in dry conditions for example, Lavender, Cistus, Bergenia, Allium, Sedum and drought resistant grasses that have not been artificially watered since around 1992!

If you are thinking about having your garden designed and are starting with a blank canvass you could consider installing an underground rainwater harvesting system, a huge undertaking to be completed before the hard landscaping begins but well worth considering.  Harvested rainwater has many uses around the house for example flushing the toilet and washing machines but it can also be used to water the garden.  Today a lot of people have water butts - which are great - but they don’t last long during a period of drought which we all saw this April when we had no rain for most of the month!   It is also very important to choose your plants and the location of them carefully; you need to include plants that can cope with little water yet look good most of the year; after all you do want a beautiful garden.

Tagged in: drought saving water
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Get Composting & Saving Water

Posted by on in News & Views

It is that time of year when activity in the garden has slowed down but you can still plan ahead.

I'm not going to try and convince you to save water or make your own compost because there is so much in the press about it at the moment explaining how it can save you money and look after the environment.

Instead I'm going to point you in the right direction to get hold of composters and water butts especially if you have made some New Year resolutions to be a bit more self sustaining and reduce the amount of waste you create.

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