Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Gardening

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Gardening

Article excerpt

AS container plants begin to flourish and hanging baskets start to look their best, it's the watering that's the hassle.

It's the most time-consuming chore of summer, especially if you have loads of pots.

Many of us use drought-tolerant plants such as geraniums, agapanthus, alliums, phormiums, euphorbias, hebes, verbascum and nepeta to ease the burden of watering, and most established shrubs and perennials need less watering because their roots go deep enough to find moisture.

If you don't want to be limited in the plants you choose, you can install automatic irrigation systems.

Choose a system which has a supply pipe that carries the water around the garden, and micro-tubing that can be fitted with individual nozzles which drip water at an even rate. Starter kits are available for self-assembly, and you can add extra pipes and nozzles later to extend the system.

Connect the system to an outside tap and turn it on and off by hand, or add a timing device to do it automatically.

The busy gardener should focus only on plants that need watering: those in containers; and newly-planted specimens in borders, which will need to be kept moist until they are established.

Don't get the hosepipe out to your borders in full sun on a hot day as lightly spraying the surface does no good at all, and in any case very few areas of the garden need watering daily.

Some vegetables will also need regular watering as they develop. Peas and beans should be watered frequently when the pods start to swell, while tomatoes and courgettes are also thirsty plants and need plenty of water as the fruit develops. With tomatoes, don't go days without watering and then drench them. If you do, the base of the fruit is likely to split or the tomatoes may develop blossom-end rot - a dry, hard brownish coat at the base of the fruit which will ruin them. …

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