Watering carefully?

Watering carefully?

Water is precious and when you see the current state of our chalkstreams, whether you have a hose pipe ban or not, it makes you think. What really needs a drink and what is just dehydrated but will survive

Generally, trees and lawns will be OK and it is only our vanity that makes us want to water. The exceptions are newly planted trees but here a good watering can every few days will get them through this summer.

It’s the same with our herbaceous plants unless they are newly planted. However, I do target certain flowers even if drought hardy to help the bees who are struggling to find nectar. Others I give up on including my antirrhinums and phlox which would normally flower well into September, but I am looking after my Gaura and Michaelmas daisies which will provide late summer feed. Currently the bees are feeding on the sedums which are very drought tolerant. The only other flowers I am giving special treatment to are the dahlias, everything else will have to fend for itself.

In the vegetable garden I concentrate only on those crops still to come (like leeks and winter brassicas) and those crops still producing, especially runner and French beans plus courgettes.

Wildlife wise our biggest challenge will be the song thrushes and blackbirds which cannot access worms and invertebrates in the soil and lawns. What turned out to be a very good breeding year may yet prove to be pretty disastrous. This is when you see Wildlife turning to food with a high moisture content. Here are two speckled wood butterflies feeding on my Victoria Plums. Not that unusual but last night the tree was alive with moths and crickets all drawn to the moisture laden fruit. As always your ponds and bird baths are vital at this time of the year

While writing about the effects of drought there was a loud crack outside, not unlike a very close rifle shot. Our grand old larch tree had just shed a limb to preserve moisture, a classic response to stress caused by drought

 


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