‘Tough decisions!’ Frances Tophill on how to save plants in your garden without a hosepipe

Gardening: Francis Tophill advises on watering plants without a hose

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With another heatwave expected to hit the UK this week, more hosepipe bans could come into force for millions of households, particularly in the south of England. Hosepipe bans have already been announced in parts of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent and Sussex. Homeowners and gardeners will be restricted when watering and tending to their gardens.

Washing cars, watering gardens and filling paddling pools with hosepipes will be banned.

The recent hosepipe ban and hot weather has had a detrimental impact on gardens across the country.

Gardeners’ World presenter Frances Tophill said gardeners might have to make some “tough decisions” about which plants to save during the upcoming heatwave.

She told viewers on BBC Breakfast: “You can target things that need more water but we do need to make some tough decisions, and actually I think our climate is clearly changing so it’s the same as any garden – it’s the right plant, right place.

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“It just may be that the place we have that we’ve gotten used to is slightly changing as the years go on and the weather becomes more challenging for us too.”

Frances suggested gardeners should observe their gardens to see which areas are “really struggling” this year.

The gardening expert also warned gardeners to “be prepared” for more “unpredictable” weather.

She suggested not planting any new plants during hot weather as they always need more water.

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However, the horticulturalist said gardeners should water their plants carefully with a watering can.

She explained: “Watering with a watering can can be really effective if you use drip trays to hold that extra water that may run through the bottom.

“Also, if you water in the early morning or the late evening when you don’t have as much evaporation.

“Things like not watering the lawn. The lawn will survive so don’t waste your water on that but just prioritise your precious, special plants because as you say, we love our plants. We want to look after them as best we can.”

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Dusty, brown and straw-like lawns should not be watered, despite their unattractive appearance.

Frances said grass will “green up again” as soon as it starts to rain again.

Frances also explained which plants prefer hot weather conditions and which ones are the most vulnerable.

She said arid-loving plants with silver, small foliage tend to survive more easily in drought conditions.

However, plants like annuals – bedding and vegetables – will require more water because they don’t have the time to create established root systems.

She told gardeners to prioritise these plants rather than watering everything in the garden.

Plants in the ground are likely to be more resilient if they’ve previously been watered well.

But plants in containers will need regular watering in order to thrive.

The Love Your Garden co-presenter said one thing all gardeners can do every year, is water plants well but less frequently.

She added: “That means the water goes right down to the roots and encourages root growth deep into the ground so even when it’s dry, the plants can access that ground water rather than relying on us.

“If we water too often, then our plants get really dependent on us.”

BBC Breakfast airs from 6am to 9am weekdays on BBC One.

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