The madness of watering pots
July is one of the nicest months for a little garden maintenance. Such jobs as you might do are neither strenuous nor frantically necessary. You can do quite a few one handed jobs, such as thinning some of the apples and plums for bigger fruit, deftly side-shooting the cordon tomatoes and deadheading penstemons with finger and thumb.This saves the other hand for a well-deserved glass of something refreshing such as tonic water. With ice and lemon. And gin? Oh if you insist….
One job has been necessary if not strenuous. If you have been foolish enough to infest your back yard with 112 pots (I just counted) then like me you will have spent hours watering them twice a day during our recent heatwave. Had anyone asked before I counted them, I should have estimated at 60 to 70. The Sensible Gardener resolves not to be as foolish next year. The Nutty Gardener just wants a bigger yard and a longer hose.
Some Proper Gardener experts advise watering in the evening because the plants apparently absorb the water better, but some say this encourages slugs so watering at dawn is best. This Haphazard Gardener is having a Sunday lie-in so will water the pots as and when she feels like it, with no discernible difference.
You must water thoroughly though, filling to the pot rim twice, and I hope you put some slow-release fertilizer in your pots. If not your plants will grow feeble with hunger and you will have to add liquid feed by watering can. I can assure you that this will be a bore after the 50th pot.
The water butts ran out in two days. Ecologically I will be damned to hell for using a hose pipe. Still, the 30 pots in the conservatory are all succulents and even in the heat, need water only once a week, as if that is any justification for the other 112.
Watering by hose has recently become more fun, although I dare not look at the meter. I bought an X-hose off the internet, a strange creature that spookily expands to 3 times its length when turgid. The comic potential is irresistible when first encountered and when you turn the tap off and let it drain into the last pot it shrinks to its original size in an equally suggestible way. It may freak out the cat. I have not tested it on maiden aunts as they are now an endangered species. The hose is easily made tidy by looping it three times round the tap, and is much less trouble and more sightly than traditional hose reels.
Having convinced my partner over 4 years of consistent training that mowing lawns is entirely his department, and having watered the pots, I can now actually sit in my yard and enjoy it. If you cannot do this in your garden some time during this summer, then either your garden or your life is very wrong, or it has started to r…..I’d better not say that out loud…..