Surrey Homes | SH57 | July 2019 | Summer supplement inside


The lifestyle magazine for Surrey - Inspirational Interiors, Fabulous Fashion, Delicious Dishes


Water retention

Get water-saving savvy

with Sue Whigham’s

tips for keeping your

pots’ occupants happy,

healthy and hydrated

this summer

in Pots

The weather is like a yo-yo. Temperatures soar, then

the following day it is overcast and drab – now, as

we speak, it is tipping it down. My rain gauge tells

me that we have had 30mm since yesterday

but yes, farmers need it for their crops and

we all need it for our gardens. Last year’s heat

and lack of rain was a disaster here when the

low oxygen levels in the pond meant that the

ghost carp, grown from tiddlers over the past

15 years or so, just didn’t make it. And that was

despite all our valiant efforts to re-oxygenate

the pond using a hose. I was glad to hear

that my bed and breakfast guest was a keen

fisherman and so was seen in a tangle of willows

at the side of the pond stretched out on his

stomach retrieving a very large and beautiful

fish. It was all very traumatic, like losing an

old friend, but thank goodness he was here to help.

Whether we do have a dry summer again or not, it is worth

thinking about water retention, bearing in mind that water is

“Try to avoid

watering in

the evening as

moisture can

get trapped in

the pot as the

temperature drops

leading to mildew

and fungus”

such a valuable resource and, if you have a pot garden rather

than flower beds – maybe due to lack of space or just by

preference – it is worth thinking of ways to retain moisture

in them so that you don’t have to spend hours

watering, especially if you are on a meter.

I was reading about ollas, clay pots used

for thousands of years to irrigate plants.

These are pots with a round base and a

bottleneck opening that you bury into your

pots or borders having filled them with

water. As they are porous, water seeps into

the adjoining plants’ roots via a suction effect

and the roots grow round the olla and take

water in when its needed. But maybe a few

ideas work just as well but less interestingly.

One major thing to think of is mulch and

a healthy compost heap will give you all

the humus-rich compost you would need for pots. It’s an

idea to use large pots if possible as whilst they need filling

with a good deal of compost, they will not dry out in


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