No buts, it’s time to har­vest rain­wa­ter

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREEN SPACES -

what you do to the con­fig­u­ra­tion of your gar­den, but this is how we have gone about it.

When we moved in, the pre­vi­ous owner had al­ready im­ple­mented wa­ter col­lec­tion from the green­house roof. The Heath Robin­son sys­tem she had set up (which we have used ever since) was to wire on fairly ba­sic gut­ter­ing along the bot­tom of each side of the pitched roof, slightly tilted to­wards the back. This col­lects the runoff, which then feeds through a short length of down pipe into an every­day old-fash­ioned dust­bin. To stop lo­cal cats and mice com­ing to a wa­tery end, she adapted the dust­bin lids by cut­ting out a small tri­an­gle, just big enough for the pipe, but hope­fully too tight for any but the most de­ter­mined small mam­mal, to go through.

We have added sim­i­lar struc­tures to col­lect runoff from our hen house and gar­den shed. But of course, the big­gest source of runoff is the roof, so we looked to see from where the most rain­wa­ter would drain, and put wa­ter butts in place all around the house.

Now, not only do we have at least some wa­ter stored to help us through hose pipe bans, but there is also the unan­tic­i­pated ben­e­fit of hav­ing stocks of wa­ter all around the gar­den which re­duce the schlep­ping to and fro with wa­ter­ing cans.

Another small step ‘off grid’? cou­ple of dodgy weather sea­sons, most peo­ple are now re­al­is­ing that grow­ing fruit and veg is not as easy a it might seem and, con­se­quence, are be­com­ing more se­lec­tive of what they grow.

“Rhubarb is be­com­ing fan­tas­ti­cally popular be­cause it is so easy to grow, along with fruit like damsons and gages which can be planted as hedg­ing or put in a wild area of the gar­den and will largely look after them­selves.

“Like­wise, with vegetables, we will take into ac­count the amount of time and space our choice uses up. So things like cut-and-comea­gain salad leaves, which cost a lot in the shops, will con­tinue to be popular as they are easy to grow and give great re­wards.”

Gar­den­ers seem to be more savvy than pre­vi­ously, per­haps be­cause of the wealth of in­for­ma­tion avail­able on plant sites on the in­ter­net, and want more bang for their buck when buy­ing plants, he says. “We are keen to see plants g hard, which is aps a symp­tom of rdens get­ting maller. We are ook­ing at more high in­ten­sity plant­ing.”

Pur­ple is likely o be the colour of oice this year, he icts. e colour that ev­ery­one wants to be in their gar­den this year is pur­ple. think there’s an op­u­lence and gen­eros­ity of pur­ple, when you think of the pur­ple bearded iris or Tulipa ‘Black Knight’. But think a gar­den filled only with pur­ple would be a rather som­bre place. You need a twist. With dark pur­ple tulips, for in­stance, would use scil­las and white ca­mas­sias un­der­neath.”

III

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