Eco Tip – Water, Water Everywhere please

I’M WRITING this with a swollen Thames and Loddon, flooded fields, and a garden that’s squelching underfoot. But this won’t stop us facing hosepipe bans if we have a dry, hot summer.
Installing more water butts on every downpipe from the house, garage and sheds gives a lot of water storage for the garden. Chucking the veg washing or washing up water out of the kitchen door may also be useful (put a large funnel into a watering can for more delicate usage). If your bath is by a window looking out over the garden (and not just above the patio doors!) then consider draining bathwater into the garden using a siphon and piece of hosepipe. This could run to a specific area that needs a lot of water, or feed a length of trickle hose across an herbaceous border, but not the veg bed. (More information on how to do this on the RCAN website www.
Most important is water for wildlife in drier periods. Birds, mammals, amphibians and insects all need regular supplies of water for drinking and, for birds, bathing. Some like to use a beautiful stone bird bath, and others are happy with any old shallow container on the ground out in the open where they can watch for predators. Hedgehogs (and you may not see them, but I know I have them from the black shiny pointed droppings along my fence line), want a shallow bowl near the fence/hedge line. Bees and butterflies will drink from the bird bath if you put a flattish stone in the bowl, so that the insects can walk along this to the water’s edge.

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