“ Type: Hoses / Reels „
Not with siver bells, nor cockle shells - no, by keeping it well watered!
Well, here we are - not even the end of April and gardens are already looking parched. It won't be long before folk are talking about hosepipe bans. Like many others this week, I have uncoiled my hose in earnest in an attempt to compensate in some way for what we haven't had from the sky above.
A lot of people waste their time and water when watering their garden for a variety of reasons. Here are a few hints and tips if you're new at the game:
1. Be aware of the state of your plants at any given time. Take time out to have a look at what is flagging and what seems to be doing OK. Many people water each area/plant equally whereas the reality is that many plants are more drought tolerant than we think.
2. When you do get the hose or watering can out, do avoid using it in the heat of the day; best to water first thing in the morning or in the cool of the evening.
3. When watering use a rose with your watering can so that the flow of water is more gentle where it needs to be. If you're using a hose many nozzles now give you a decent choice of spray pattern. Many a young bedding plant has been killed off by a hefty squirt. It's very tender and for many it's still too early to plant them out. Best to harden them off on the greenhouse, especially if you buy them very small.
4. Keep your eye on the forecast - how often do you spend an hour watering only to find it's lashing down an hour later - how annoying is that?
5. If you're going to water the garden, consider how you can reuse water to avoid waste and save money now that most of us are on meters. A close neighbour routinely uses her bathwater and runs it out of the window in a length of hose used just for that purpose. Provided it's not too soapy, most plants will be fine with used bathwater. A water butt is easy to fit to make use of excess precipitation.
6. Because water is now a commodity we pay for, it's often the case that people water too little for it to have a beneficial effect. If it's raining, an awful lot of water falls. If you are simply giving a quick spray on each plant, it doesn't equate to nearly as much. Don't forget that established plants especially have a root structure that extends to some distance from where the plant breaks the surface so don't just water the plant itself - inlude the area around it.
7. Direct the water down to the base of the plant (but don't let it pool - over-watering can kill as many plants as under watering. It isn't generally a good idea to water through the leaves. Leave the plant to send its water supply to where it thinks it is most needed.
8. Give some attention to the composition of the soil and do what you can to make it as conducive as possible to healthy thriving plants. Weed regularly and try to learn what is a weed and what is a plant!
9. Think before you plant new plants as to where they are likely to do best. Any amount of useful advice on this is now available on the web. Expensive plants can die if you don't fully consider their needs. They can also die if you go away for a few days in a dry spell so arrange something with a neighbour so that you can keep each others gardens tended.
10. Finally, give priority and regular attention to your hanging baskets and window boxes which are generally shallow and which dry out very quickly.
If you nurture and care for your plants well, they will give you huge enjoyment and a tremendous sense of well-being.
Listen up, folks! I have a serious warning to give you regarding Hose Pipes, and that warning is – “be careful!”. Not convinced? Well read on. It’s a TRUE story, and you must ignore it only at your peril… Several weeks ago I happened to glance out of the kitchen window and notice that all my garden plants were dying and my car was becoming so dirty I could hardly see it anymore! After a quick cry, I pondered over the problem for quite some time. I phoned a few friends to ask their advice but they were, to be honest, less than useless. Eventually I plucked up enough courage to poke my head through the hole in my neighbours fence and enquire as to what they would do in such a situation. The answer was quick and solid – BUY A HOSEPIPE. Right! I immediately rushed down to my local Garden Accessories shop, called “Alan’s Garden Accessories”. It’s a wonderful little place. He even has a sign up near the counter which reads ‘you don’t have to be a gardener to work here… but it helps’. It makes me chuckle whenever I think of it. Anyway, after carefully explaining my situation to Alan a few times he began to understand. He stood silent for about 11 minutes before suddenly raising a solitary finger and pointing it in the direction of the Garden Hose section. I thanked him and rushed over to where he had been pointing. I couldn’t believe my eyes – Garden Hoses galore! It was like Garden Hose City, in fact - long ones, fat ones, thick ones, short ones, curly ones, straight ones – the sheer diversity of hoses available for purchase was simply mind boggling – even to me, who’s mind is not easily boggled, let me tell you! After carefully examining each and every hose, I opened up the exercise book I had brought with me and started making a few notes. For hours I stood there jotting down information – length, colour, price, etc. Eventual
ly I reached a decision – I was going to plump for the “Hansfree Ultra Hose (with extra attachments)” priced at £34.99. I circled it in my book, thanked Alan (who was still stood in the same position, with his finger still pointing towards the hose section) and left the shop. From here I walked approximately 30 metres down the high street and into the popular chainstore known as “Argos”. I quickly found the exact same product in their catalogue for only £32.95 ! By this time I was so happy I was whistling (“whatever you want” I think it was). To say I dashed home would not be an exaggeration. I just couldn’t wait to unfurl this beauty and let the old girl rip! Quickly discarding all the package, I held the hose in my hands and admired it’s lovely green colour (with faint black stripes). At this point the phone rang. I cursed until the air turned blue, but didn’t answer it. For it was time to try the hose… So there I was, hose in hand – all connected up & raring to go. I pointed it at my car, and turned it on. First there was trickle. I felt a strange pulsing sensation running through my fingers… and then nothing. No more water. Nothing. The hose had failed, and I was heartbroken, gutted & severely disappointed – all at the same time & more besides. Naturally I tried again. I disconnected everything, made sure the tap was working (it was), made sure I had fitted all the attachments correctly (I had) and stood in position once more (I did). I held my breath, braced myself, and turned it on again. Nothing. This time not even a squirt! I don’t mind admitting I was in tears. I just didn’t know what to do. Just then my neighbour stuck his head through the hole in his fence and suggested I took the hose back to from where I had purchased it. Of course! Argos… I arrived at the store at 4:30pm. The store didn’t close until 5pm
so I had plenty of time to make my case heard. I strolled up the Customer Service counter and proceeded to quietly but confidently explain the whole story to the assistant behind the counter. By the end of the story I was shouting at the top of voice, my contorted face beetroot red with anger & pure driven rage. The assistant (who’s name I had scribbled down as Sharon) just looked at me like I had landed in a spaceship and said “did you try turning it on?”. At this point I snapped. I grabbed the hose and shook it above my head, screaming “try it yourself if you don’t believe me!!!”. So she did (luckily there was a tap in a back room which meant that the hose was just long enough to reach out to the shopfloor). The tap was turned on. Nothing happened. “Hmmm…”, she said. “Hmmm…indeed!” I replied. To cut a long story short, the supervisor (Jason) was called. He tried it. It didn’t work. Finally, the Store Manager was summoned. He was so important that he didn’t have a name badge on, but I managed to find out later his name was Charles. He tried it. No water flowed. He looked very puzzled, “there must be a blockage of some kind” he said. I grabbed the hose and looked down the end – I told him I couldn’t see anything. I passed it to Sharon – she couldn’t see anything. She passed it to Jason – he had a good look down the end of the hose and he couldn’t make anything out either. Now it was the Store Manager’s turn. He took the hose in both hands and looked closely down the end. Oh dear! All of a sudden, water exploded out hitting him directly between the eyes. Everyone was stunned, and nobody quite knew what to do. The water was now shooting out at full force and had caused Charles to loose control of the hose and drop it. Looking back, I’m sure he will be the first to admit that this was a big mistake. For the hose now had a life
of it’s own and was spinning wildly out of control, showering the whole store full of water! The obvious “Turn the tap off” cry went up. “It’s stuck!” came the feeble reply. Ooops. The store was now filling rapidly with water and customers were actually being blasted out of the shop, running for their lives, and who could blame them!? Almost total chaos was looming, and I didn’t like the look of it… I’m not entirely sure how things ended up, for during the confusion I managed to make good my escape. I was pretty drenched when I got home, but soon dried off in front of the fire with a mug of hot chocolate and an episode of “The weakest link”. A few days later I heard someone say that the shop had closed down, and the last time I saw Charles he was selling The Big Issue on some street corner. Shame really, I suppose - considering he was the one who actually got the hose to start working in the end! And as for the hose (not to mention my dirty car & thirsty garden)? Well Alan (from Alan’s Garden Accessories) saved the day in the end. The following week he was having a sale and his hose was reduced to just £17.99 and it worked fine first time! Everything is now perfect in my life, and in some small way I feel lucky to be alive. But remember – hoses can be dangerous things! Not just using them, but also buying or returning them to the shop can turn out to be the most harrowing experience imaginable. But that’s just my opinion…
Tired of reams of hose lying about the garden? I am. My hose, more often than not, spends its time resting its coils against the walkway, patio and lawn, where it can best trap passersby and leave intricate designs on the lawn. Despite my good intentions, I never get around to coiling it up most of the time. It simply seems too tedious a task after I've achieved all that sterling work in the garden or on the car. I have felt less guilty about it ever since Hozelock produced a self winding hose. Obviously, there are enough people like me out there for them to produce a product like this. It works like the power cable in most vacuum cleaners nowadays - press a button, and the cable magically winds itself up. Hozelock's latest offering is not cheap at £69.99 for 20 metres of hosing, but that price does include the self retracting housing and mechanism. Yours truly is now the proud possessor of one as its permanently muddy predecessor got trodden on one too many times and had since developed a few leaks. Shame.