No buts, it’s time to harvest rainwater
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.”