Brighton gardeners warned to prepare for worst drought in 25 years.

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By Frederick Harris

Brighton gardeners will be lucky to get the rich bloom of an English Country Garden this summer as the great 2012 drought takes grip.

The Brighton Garden Centre, Woodingdean, has warned local gardeners to plan ahead if they wanted enough water to last summer.

“We only water our own plants once a day now” said employee Ben. The Centre is exempt from the hose pipe ban but is still monitoring its own use. They are using a thousand-litre water butt to help see them through the dry season.

“We are selling a lot more lavender”, Ben said, “It’s a hardy plant which doesn’t need much water but can still add lots of colour to your garden”

Sales of water butts are up, but profits are expected to dwindle slightly in the next few months.

The pond and aquarium section also expected to be hit by the drought, as gardeners are building fewer ponds and buying fewer fish. The sale of aquarium dechlorinator is likely to be the most effected.  

Southern Water, who supplies water to Brighton households, will impose a hose-pipe ban from April 5th along with six other water companies across the south-east of England.

An unseasonably dry winter has left groundwater and reservoir levels perilously low.

The hose-pipe ban does not affect the maintenance of livestock – including topping up ponds, cleaning animals and filling troughs. The maintenance and running of ornamental water fountains and cascades, however, is strictly banned.

Tips for gardeners include:

  • Invest in a water butt: These collect almost every drop that falls on the roof of your house
  • Soak your plants with a watering can at their roots every three to four days, rather than a light sprinkling every day.
  •  Cover the top of your soil with manure or compost to reduce evaporation or moisture-retaining crystals to reduce water waste.
  • Plant hardy, drought resistant plants like lavender, yarrow and hyssop rather than thirsty plants like runner beans, tomatoes and peas.
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