No ifs, get plenty of butts in your garden

A wall basket needs less water
A wall basket needs less water
Dahlias - one of the boldest plants you can grow .

GARDENING: Brian Kidd is planning for summer with dahlias

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Quite often I mention that it would be a very good idea to install a water butt in your garden. If you have, then well done. But have you got space for some more?

There are kits available to allow one water butt to be connected to another so that as the level on one goes down, water can be siphoned over to the next one.

This can also be done with flexible hosepipe. Simply submerge the hose until it is filled with water, put a thumb over each end, dip one end into the top of the water butt, put the other end deeper into the butt to be filled and release both thumbs. Hey presto, the water flows from one butt to the next.

This very simple method of siphoning makes life a lot easier at the allotment because I use pieces of hosepipe to siphon water from five water butts. It means I can dip the watering cans into the water butt nearest the path, saving walking on the ground.

Can anything go wrong? Of course it can. Two years ago, some yobs opened up the tap on the bottom of one of the water butts and, because of the siphon pipes, all the water was lost.

To prevent this happening again, I put all the taps on the inside of the butts. That stopped their game.

Water shortage is going to be a great excuse for not planting up hanging baskets this summer. I overheard someone saying the council was not erecting baskets to save water, but this is not true.

Hanging basket numbers are to be reduced to save your money. In any case, watering baskets doesn’t require all that much water as there is a large reservoir in the base of those erected on lamp posts in Portsmouth. It’s rare to see water pouring out of the baskets.

At home we can do simple things like placing a bucket below a hanging basket to catch any which falls through. The water in the bucket can then be used again.

There are some flower baskets which need far less water. These are called wall baskets and are not suspended on hooks, but fit on to a wall because they have a flat back and a rounded front. They are particularly useful in windy areas.

These need to be fixed on to a wall using an electric drill with a masonry bit which will match up with the size of the rawlplug used to hold the basket in place.

Each basket will require at least two rawlplug fixings. These baskets need far less water because the wall reduces the velocity of the wind.

There are some wonderful wall baskets which fit into the corner of a wall. They’re not cheap, but if three are erected one under another, it’s possible to create a massive column of flowers. These can be enhanced with silver and grey foliage trailers which also reduce the need for so much water.