Gardening: Bloomers won't wilt in the droughtBy Linda Fort
May 04, 2012
Thames Water is saying the hosepipe ban is likely to last for the rest of the year.
This will make life difficult for those excellent gardeners who take part in Reading in Bloom each year.
Difficult, certainly, but not impossible because the Reading in Bloomers are resourceful, creative people who love their gardens and will not allow them to wilt.
We are coming to the point when the more tender bedding plants can go outside.
Frosty nights seem to be passing, but hammering rain is still on the cards, and that will not help newly-planted delicate seedlings.
Torrential rain can lead to overflowing gutters which can wash away a bedding display in an instant, and cold winds will make plants that are not rooted properly go as crisp and dry as a Peking duck (a delicacy which apparently benefits from being hung in icy winds).
The chances are that the weather will settle and warm a little in the next week – I am an optimist not a meteorologist – and then tender bedding can be hardened off and planted out to grow on unchecked.
Reading Borough Council is making plans to ensure it can get hold of brown or used water to look after its plants and trees.
We gardeners can do the same.
Anyone who has a water butt will already be delighted with the record April rainfall which will have helped to fill it up.
I have three watering cans which I fill whenever I have any reasonably clean water to dispose of.
I do part of my weekly wash by hand and generally use the second, cleaner rinsing water on the garden.
If we have a dry summer – unlikely given the amount of dry weather we have had already – I will be resorting to bizarre Heath Robinsonian contraptions to catch and retain water to prevent it going down the drain.
I have no room for a permanent water butt, but while it is raining I will be putting garden buckets outside as a temporary measure.
And when the second-hand water runs out I will be filling my watering cans from the tap.
I won’t clean my car – I never do – nor will I water my lawn. I will take shorter showers and urge those in my family to do the same.
But I will not let my plants die and I am sure Reading’s finest gardeners and allotment holders will use every endeavour to keep their plots blooming too.
The entry forms for the Reading in Bloom contest can now be found all over the borough – at the office of the Reading Post, at the Reading Minister office (next door to Bill’s Produce Shop) at the Civic Centre and in libraries. There is a category for everyone.
The closing date for Reading in Bloom entries is July 1 and judging takes place soon after that.
Reading won an RHS Gold medal last year in the regional competition and can do it again – with the help of Reading in Bloomers all over the borough.