The very idea of being unable to provide your flowers, fruit and vegetables with their most basic need, and watching them wilt helplessly is anathema to gardeners. It’s a bit like giving birth. If you’ve ever nurtured a seed from the initial placement of the tender little innocent into its first bed of soil in a pot in your greenhouse or on your window sill, or whether it’s planting a bulb directly into your garden, there’s a certain excitement – an anticipation – and a joy when you see the first shoot peep above the yielding earth.
That life was created at your own hand and you feel responsible. It’s now up to you to provide for that little sprout. So you place it in the best environment for its continued growth: the best light, the best temperature and the ultimately the best position you can find in your garden, whether that is into soil or a container. And then you continue to feed it and, most importantly, water it to help it to produce its bounty of flowers or fruit.
And, for those who have ever been threatened with drought conditions, it’s that need for water that can strike fear into the heart of the most resolute and resourceful of gardeners.
We’ve all experienced dry conditions. Have you ever visited a hot country and noticed the parched look of the ground and the type of dry shrub that grows there. Have you ever wondered how hot countries with little rainfall manage to supply vast rows of hotels with water to satisfy ever-showering, ever-eating and consuming guests? They have adapted and developed systems of saving water, and that is what we must do too.
In the future, it seems that we must all take responsibility for our houses and gardens, for – how certain can we be to rely on the weather or the water companies?
Rain water harvesting is a growth area and there are several companies offering systems for the garden and the house. A good way to learn more is to visit home shows, in particular eco-home shows, such as the Eco Build Your Future Exhibition on at ExCel, London from 5-7 March, the National Homebuilding and Renovating Show at the NEC, Birmingham from 21-24 March and the Northern Home Show at the Trafford Centre, Manchester 14-16 June.
Details of these and other exhibitions are at Rain Water Harvesting’s website – see http://www.rainwaterharvesting.co.uk/news.php
And for now? It won’t provide for flushing your toilets or feeding your washing machine, but you capture rain to water your plants with Gabriel Ash’s cedar water butt – and it matches our greenhouses!