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Talkback: Preparing for drought in the garden

Driest we've been in Bristol since 1976 so I am going to be careful about which plants I grow. Mediterranean type plants like lavender and ...

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I also find that many mediterranean herbs are really good for droughts, rosemary especially in my garden grow especially well in dry conditions. But as i brought them in the greenhouse for winter they have developed some strange disease. Does anyone know if i should move them or not during winter? iwould really appreciate the advice.



Rosemay is quite hardy in Bristol.  It flowers all the year round  The prostrate type is not so hardy, however, and benefits from going under a cloche for the winter

I found it amazing that whilst i was enduring the last hosepipe ban the golf course next door had sprinklers going all night! I can understand farmers needing to water for crops , but a golf course? Herumph!

For a few years now i have adopted the Beth Chatto dry garden approach. I have embraced grasses( which i had always over looked) and the prairie type plants and flowers. Soooo much easier to manage and not much water needed. Tightly packed in plants also keep the moisture in and no soil exposure means hardly any weeds get a toe hold.

If things get serious I shall do what I did in the last big drought and collect the shower and bath water ( grey water) from the downpipe into a but and use for the garden straight away. Just be sure you don't store and drain off what you don't use each time.


I know first hand how hard the water companies are working to reduce leaks and they plough Millions of pounds into improving their performance. If they don't hit the targets imposed on them by OFWAT they are fined. Gas and electric companies don't have the same problems, as they can make or buy more product, no matter how many new thousands of houses are built.  Always check your local water companies web site for advise.

I now have 3 water butts and will be buying 2 more this year, Im also very grateful for the advise for drought tollerant plants. Think I'm going to invest in more grasses.


Does anyone know if I can use water using for washing the dishes on the garden if it contains Fairy Liquid or the equivalent ?

To thomasina18,

The millions of pounds that you talk of being invested comes from their customers in the first place.

It never ceases to amaze me that here in the UK we always have this problem but other hot countries don't have, and charge their customers significantly less

I dont think either all these aereas that will have hose pipe bans will have lower water bills the price stays the same.Where i come from theres allways water leaks pipes breaking etc.For the price of our water bills not much seems to be ploughed back into repairs.

Emma Crawforth

Growing drought tolerant plants, as pamajo suggests, is a great way of dealing with water shortages in the garden. Just recently I visited the Cabo de Gata in Spain, which is a semi-desert area. Lavenders, rosemary and helianthemum were flowering their socks off. I was especially amused to see a beautiful lavender, thriving in a crack between a traffic island and tarmac! It's a shame that some of these plants find it hard to handle our unpredictable wet spells, so it's always a good idea to plant them in free-draining compost/soil.

Emma team

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