by Janis on 19th August 2022 / 0 comments

Keeping wildlife hydrated

We live in the southeast of the UK and, like many people at home and abroad, are suffering from the heat in their day-to-day lives.

Mother nature is trying to tell us that something needs to be done, but clearly, we are not doing enough.

The sanctuary of a garden or a patio can truly help with your mental health, and the love and nurture you’ve given it over the last months and years means so much to many people.

Gary and I decided earlier this year to spend more time in our garden as we had neglected it over the last couple of years; in places, it had gotten out of hand.

We also wanted to add more colour to our English country garden, so we invested time, effort and money into bringing our piece of Kent alive in spring.


The pin image for our post - 'Coping with our courtyard patio in a drought'
Why not Pin it for later?
The cottage garden bed in May 2022 starting to fill out with a variety of different plants
The Cottage garden bed in May 2022

However, in hindsight, this probably wasn’t the best year to kick-start our project. Our new plants are struggling to dig their roots deep down in the earth to gather moisture, and their poor foliage is becoming crisp and frazzled.

To be honest, frazzled is how Gary and I are also feeling at times in the heat.

Supporting your hosepipe ban

It’s time to install a water butt

Consequently, a hosepipe ban has been implemented in the southeast of the UK by our water provider South East Water and a drought has been officially declared.

Although, I think our worries pale into insignificance when you see the horrific stories emerging from around the world in regard to wildfires.

South East Water is currently offering their local households some water-saving products either free of charge or at a discount.

Our oak barrel water butt between the shed and the bench on our courtyard patio.
The oak barrel water butt

We’ve ordered 2 free packets of ‘SwellGel’ water storing granules for our pots, which we can mix with our potting compost. Apparently, by using the gel, it will require up to 75% less watering.

Also, our local water provider is offering a discount on water butts; we already have a large wooden barrel which has been converted into a water butt, although we may consider another for the future.

We often visit our local garden centre, Spadework, which is a charity organisation, and not only do they provide essential service to adults with learning and other disabilities their garden centre, café and farm shop are fantastic. Now, I have also found out that they sell recycled and second-hand water butts.

Thinking of the wildlife

Yey, we have spotted a hedgehog

I must admit having a water butt does make life easier when using a watering can, especially for watering things on the patio or in our cold frame.

We also use the rainwater for topping up our bird bath; in this hot weather, the birds really need it. Sometimes we fill up the bird bath a couple of times a day, particularly when the local starlings have had a bath-fest.

Our stone birdbath at the edge of our Provencal bed within our garden
The birdbath a couple of months ago
It’s also important to think of the other wildlife; when we had our last heatwave in July, I read that you should leave out little dishes of water for hedgehogs. I must admit I had suspected that we had some spikey friends nearby, so I filled up a couple of flowerpot dishes and left them on the floor and lo and behold, the following morning, the water was gone.
Two terracotta pot trays filled with water on the edge of our courtyard garden
For the hedgehogs

I’m not sure that Gary was convinced it was hedgehogs; however, the other day at dusk, we were harvesting some of our homegrown Jalapeño chillies, and Gary spotted one. The following evening, we sat out on the patio, and the little fella turned up again; he had a few slurps of water and then went on his merry way behind our plant pots.

So, needless to say, a little effort has been greatly appreciated.

Was an irrigation system a good idea?

Yes or No?

You may have seen in one of our previous posts that we installed an irrigation system; due to us travelling on and off, we didn’t want our courtyard patio plants to wither away and die.

Needless to say, when we heard that a hosepipe ban was being implemented, we were obviously concerned as we understand how precious water can be and how some people flout the rules.

Water dripping from a variable rate spout in our home irrigation system
A discreet dripper

So, with the hosepipe ban in mind, we researched the South East Water website further. Thankfully they allow drip or trickle irrigation systems fitted with a pressure-reducing valve and a timer, so luckily, we are exempt. Consequentially our patio Is colourful; however our main garden isn’t.

I must confess that we have often found that irrigation systems are more economical to use than a hosepipe.

Everyone has to play their part

Take responsibility

I appreciate that due to the excessive heat, this has led to the restricting of hosepipes. Still, we all have to do our bit and consider the environment and our neighbours.

Although if only the UK government would take the same stance. In the UK, we currently have one major desalination plant, which is in East London, and this has now been switched off due to high energy costs.

As I’m writing this post, I have just heard that a fire has broken out on the fringes of a nearby village and an RSPCA centre. The firefighters are in attendance. It was later confirmed that all staff and animals were safe.

Please adhere to the rules and keep safe.

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