There’s a point that comes in the year, usually towards the beginning of September, when I stop watering my containers. It’s not a conscious decision, just a slow, metaphorical and physical drying up of my motivation for hauling watering cans around and faffing with hoses.
Ultimately I justify this behaviour with the imminent changing of the seasons, in which I remove the gone-over, summer bounty from my containers and let them lie fallow for a while before planting them up with bulbs. Oh, and then there’s the holidays, when on top of packing and organising three small people, there is the spectre of having to educate some poor, unsuspecting neighbour in the watering of my containers; having to make sure all of them are grouped together for ease and hoping against hope that said neighbour will care enough to do the job properly.
So when Gardena approached me to try out their automatic watering systems, I jumped at the opportunity to avoid the sadness of dried out, gone over containers, and the worry of neighbourly negligence (however benign!)
Gardena sent me two kits:
I have never been good with unboxing, sorting, reading instruction manuals and getting things working…the very thought of it makes me glaze over a bit, but the product boxes have incredibly clear pictorial diagrams which are perfect for someone like me who loathes instruction booklets in eighty seven languages
(although if you love instruction booklets in eighty seven languages, then you’ll also be fine, because there are plenty of those inside the box).
Friends, it took me a total of FIFTEEN minutes to set up the drip feed irrigation system! Yes, it was that easy. The system is a simple one – a sturdy plastic hose with little holes in it that you attach to the hose coming from your nearest tap, which you then peg down at the base of your plants.
It’s controlled by a very simple battery operated computer, which you can set to come on whenever you want, for as long as you want.
I set mine to water for an hour, every day, AT FOUR AM! (you have no idea how happy this makes me. The fact that my hedge and containers will be watered before sunrise, so that not a drop has a chance to evaporate, and then again in the evening, once the world has cooled down, makes me feel ridiculously smug and yes, I DO hate myself just a bit). My yew hedge was planted last autumn as a set of three year old whips, so this will be its first summer in my front garden, and it’s really great to know that I won’t have to think about watering it at all.
The second kit took slightly longer to set up, because it involves a bit more planning.
I have six or seven containers on my terrace – four of them full of this beautiful argyranthemum, and the other two containing my lilac lollipop trees, and I put them into two separate groups either side of my steps. This kit uses exactly the same technology as the hedge kit; a battery powered computer that you attach to your tap, and then a sturdy hose to which you attach smaller flexible tubes which you peg down at the base of your plants.
You simply decide the way you want it to work , and then you snip the narrow tubing, and attach little drip-feed attachment things to it (they go in easily)…it’s really not a chore, SWEAR. Again, the idea is to use as little water as possible by using dripping water rather than a flood – the water comes out in a tiny trickle directly into the compost in each pot. Because you’re not dousing each pot with water there is no run-off and therefore less waste. And because you can set the timer to water at 4am (or whenever you want) there is none of the evaporation that happens when you reactively water with a hose, from above, in the middle of a boiling hot day.
This was SUCH a simple system to set up and get going. I love the fact that I can change the programming according to the weather (it’s tipping down with rain right now!) This is a really simple, easy way to conserve water and cut down on time spent on watering, and, more importantly, WORRYING! Highly recommended. You can see the kits in action on my Instagram stories, saved in the highlight called ‘Waterwise’.