WORLD WATER DAY; 22 MARCH 2018
World Water Day is celebrated on 22 March each year and is aimed at focusing attention on and appreciation of our water resources and the importance of water in our lives. The theme for 2018 is “Nature Based Solutions for Water”, in other words looking at nature and how water is naturally preserved and utilised and applying that to solve our water challenges.
In light of World Water Day we take a look at the water wise principles that were considered and applied when designing and implementing the gardens on show at this year’s Lifestyle Garden Design Show:
- It’s all in the planning – base your garden design on water wise principles from the start, if possible. If you have an established garden, make changes in phases and across seasons towards a more water wise garden. The gardens on show in the 2018 Lifestyle Garden Design Show were designed by students and lecturers from Lifestyle College and emphasis is always placed on adhering to water wise guidelines as much as possible without forfeiting style.
- Zone your garden into high, medium and low water use areas. A perfect example of balanced zoning can be found in Eco Echo. This ecological space follows a journey from a narrow bog garden, with high watering needs, interspersed with fever trees, sedges, reed grasses, Arums and Red Hot Pokers. The bog pixelates into woodland with a small forest of Forest Elder, Lavender trees, Tree Fuchsia, Knob Thorn and Wild Olive all under planted with rich woodland planting (Medium watering). Meadow takes over from woodland and slowly assumes a grassland look that links to the grassland garden (Low watering) beyond.
- The small potager garden in Ring-a-Rosey contains a wide variety of vegetables and herbs, grouped in planter boxes and hanging baskets according to their watering needs. Although the containers need more frequent watering, they require less water and water retention granules can be used to save even more on watering.
- Harvesting rain water has become very important. In the stunning utilitarian garden, Scents and Sensibility, a water storage tank, disguised and surrounded by a granadilla vine, becomes a running water feature and over and above its practical value and commands a view over its own garden paradise.
- Use run-off water so nothing goes to waste. In the contemporary garden, Shabby Chic, angular planting of water wise ornamental grasses in contemporary but shaggy swathes are interspersed at the lowest point in the garden by the greedier Dichondra, where it can benefit from the run-off from the surrounding grasses.
- Mulch, mulch and then mulch again. All gardens in the show are thoroughly mulched and showcase the many types of mulch available to gardeners: peanut shells, peach pips, bark chips, wood mulch, ground covers, clay aggregate, gravel and pebbles.
- In Succulicious and Aloe, Aloe, Aloe the planting consist exclusively of low maintenance plants with very low watering needs. The gravel used throughout is completely permeable, ensuring that no rainwater runs off and is wasted. These xeriscaped gardens are anything but boring and barren as oodles of rustic interest, originality and innovation give this design style a place of pride in the landscaping world.
- Reduce your lawn area to minimize irrigation. The only lawn implemented in the show gardens is in the children’s garden, Hundreds and Thousands, because kids need lawn space to move and play in. It was, however kept to a minimum. In Scents and Sensibility lawn is replaced by artificial turf – a water wise alternative that can also be used in a children’s play area.
- Still ponds and low flowing trickle or cascade water features with minimum spillage are more water wise. This can be seen throughout the garden show. Particularly striking is the urn waterfeature with water plants in the tropical garden, Peace of Paradise, where it adds to the feeling of serenity in the garden. It being a shady garden also means that less water will evaporate from the feature.
So this World Water Day, let’s pay close attention to how nature does it and resolve to make a few simple changes in the way we garden to reduce our water footprint. After all, it’s all up to us!