Tips that hold water

Keep your garden fresh this summer

Here at Burford we are often asked how we keep our multitude of plants so healthy even when the temperature soars. We wanted to share with you our top ten tips for keeping your garden fresh in the summer by using water wisely and well.

Time it right

We always water in the morning when it is cooler. Less moisture evaporates and the plant can take up the water all day. In the evening after the sun has gone down is a good second choice.

Improve your aim

Think spot watering, rather than broadcast. To provide maximum benefit and minimum wastage, water the soil under the plant's canopy, covering its root zone not the foliage.

Rinse and repeat

Soak border plants once, wait 5 minutes, soak again. Water pots and baskets daily, to run-through; wait until the dripping stops then repeat.

Not waving but drowning

Plants will welcome watering but don't get carried away! Many plants don't respond well to having their roots saturated, so follow specific care instructions.

Save the day

Fill watering cans from rainwater butts where at all possible. Re-use 'grey' waste water from domestic use.


If you face watering restrictions, focus your efforts on containers that dry out easily and new plants in their first or second year. A warning sign with trees and shrubs is wilting of older foliage or yellowing of central growth.

Throw a party

Our plants are displayed very close together. Together they will create a humid microclimate and share each others' moisture. Move your pots into a huddle in full or partial shade and water well – a useful tip before you go on holiday.

Water saucery

Placing saucers under pots maximises the uptake by catching any run-throughs and allowing the plant to absorb exactly what it needs from the bottom up.

Safety in numbers

Fill any gaps in borders or pots with annuals. Covering bare soil with growing plants shades the roots of your existing plants, reduces evaporation and retains moisture.

Brown bread

There's no need to fret about your lawn looking like toast and turning into the Sahara – ours haven't died and will almost certainly regain their lush green colour once the weather changes.

If you're worried about your blueberries and other plants in ericaceous compost that require rainwater, here's an easy solution to empty water butts. Simply feed the plant with iron sulphate and use tap water.

Clutching at straws

Do you mulch? We're huge fans here at Burford of the remarkable Strulch, an easy to use garden mulch made from mineralised wheat straw. This amazing stuff protects the soil from moisture loss, feeds it, virtually eliminates weed growth and even deters slugs and snails.

Use throughout the garden on borders, raised beds, around cultivated fruit and on vegetable plots. If it's good enough for the Eden Project, it's good enough for us!

Chill out

Here at Burford, we feed your body as well as your soul. If all this talk about watering has given you a thirst (or an appetite), we've got a cool new venue for you to visit.

Serving delicious light bites and refreshing cold drinks, our exciting new summer pop-up Tapas Bar opens this weekend. Find it at the end of the Plant Tunnel (weekends, 11am - 4pm)..

You may like to know we will be making some small changes to Sundays in our Café from early August.

P.S. Not long now till our Spring Bulbs arrive! We're busy making preparations. Click the image to take a look...

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