As Cornwall faces a hosepipe ban from next week (23rd August 2022) we thought we’d share a few considerations for your garden, regarding how to keep your plants healthy while the ban is in force…

• Using a watering can that is filled from the tap is of course one option to water the garden, but to save even more water, why not try collecting greywater from washing up or showers, and use this on non-edible plants (applied with a watering can). This shouldn’t have any negative impact on the health of your plants in the short term

• Use any water collected in water butts to water your plants (although collected water may be negligible due to the dry summer!) It’s never too late to start collecting though, and a water butt offers a long term water saving strategy, which could be crucial in the years to come if we are to experience more ‘drought-like’ conditions

Water butts at Trevena Cross

• Consider opting for more drought tolerant additions to the garden if you’re buying new plants, to help reduce the garden’s overall reliance on water. Succulents are a perfect example, conserving water in their leaves and therefore requiring little watering (or other maintenance) to thrive

• Soak newly bought plants in a bucket of water and let them absorb all the water they want before planting them out. This will keep drought tolerant plants going for some time before they need watering again. The same bucket of water can be used for multiple plants before it needs refilling. (Do be aware that ALL plants, regardless of their drought tolerance later on, will require thorough watering for the first season while they establish. Don’t assume that if it is labelled ‘drought tolerant’, that it can cope with these conditions from the outset!)

• Applying a mulch of bark, gravel or similar around the base of the plant after planting, or around existing pots, beds and borders, will help keep the moisture in, again reducing the frequency of watering required

• Apply sufficient (but not too much) fertiliser in the planting hole or as top dressing, as plants use water most efficiently when nutrient levels are optimal

• Keep weeds at bay so that they don’t suck up any of the remaining precious moisture your plants have access to

• Don’t worry about your lawn – lawns usually bounce back very well following a bit of rain, after prolonged dry periods

We wish you all the best navigating the hosepipe ban (click here for more information about the ban in Cornwall, what you can and can’t do, and to learn about the exemptions). Here’s to plenty more rainfall (at night hopefully!) and a quick recovery from current water shortages.