director Mike Hall said he has seen an increased interest in water features for the garden. “It’s one of those things that goes in cycles. You have three or four years where everyone is talking about it – it’s probably featured on TV gardening programmes and so on, and gets people thinking again.” He continued: “We’ve found

more people are buying water features now for sensory reasons and for children, plus, since we have introduced the solar range, we’ve seen even more interest. People love the idea of being eco friendly – they can put it anywhere in the garden and it doesn’t cost them a thing to run.”

Contemporary designs are

proving the most popular – particularly stainless steel models, due to its long-lasting properties and also the aesthetic consumers are looking for. As well providing a calming influence, the value of water as a vital resource was also highlighted by several exhibits this year. The Thames Water Flourishing

Future Garden worked to bring visitors’ attention to the need to take care of our most precious resource and also educate about how small changes in the home and garden can care for water. Explaining that the region had experienced low rainfall levels for the past few years, Thames Water senior media relations officer Becky Trotman said: “The rain we had in June was brilliant – it helped fill up our reservoirs – but our groundwater storage is still really low. So even though we had all that rain last month, you stick a spade in the ground and it’s still really hard and dry. We have lots of water stored now but, if we don’t get more rain in the coming months, the groundwater levels will still be really dry and you’ll have lots of streams that would usually be flowing that won’t be.” She said of the garden, which

features an array of drought- resistant plants, such as Lavandula, Alium, Eryngium, and Salvis: “Part of the reason we’re here is to get people thinking, when they are designing their own gardens, about putting in plants that don’t require a shedload of water. We want them to think about biodiversity and make sure there are plants that encourage nature to thrive and, again, just drawing attention to climate change.” She stressed: “It’s not just a bad

few years – this lack of rainfall is due to climate change. Population growth is massive for us as well, so in the next 20 years we are expecting

another 20million people to move into our area. It doesn’t mean there’s any more water to go around, just more people drawing from the same resource, so it’s about what we can do as a water company to be more efficient and asking customers to do things in their own homes and gardens to reduce water use. “In the garden it’s about water

butts, not relying on hosepipes and sprinklers, making sure people are watering at the right time of day as well, so not going out in the middle of the day when most of the water is going to just get evaporated.” There are things that people can

do in their homes as well, such as turning the tap off when they’re brushing their teeth, not putting the washing machine on unless it’s full, and also installing devices into showers and taps that reduce the amount of water that flows through them but still maintaining the same pressure. They’re really small changes that can make quite a big difference.” Noemi Mercurelli of PC Landscapes added: “When we design a garden for a client, we suggest adding a water collection tank but they usually say no and it’s only after the garden is completed and they realise how much the garden needs watering, that they regret not fitting it. It’s very hard to retrofit and it costs more. We always push it and it’s really frustrating when people say no.” Ms Trotman agreed, adding:

“It’s about getting people to think differently but it’s not something that is going to change overnight.” The garden was also home to the Thames on Tap water bar, where visitors were able to get free refills for their drinking bottles, helping to reduce plastic bottle waste.

Family friendly Unlike the Chelsea Flower Show, which doesn’t allow children under five, Hampton Court welcomes visitors of all ages and actively encourages learning and interaction with outdoor spaces, nature and wildlife throughout the show. This year’s event had a family

trail and plenty of opportunity for children either visiting with their school or family, to engage with exhibits and hopefully ignite a bit of passion for gardening and nature. The annual schools competition

saw participants from pre-schools and primary schools across the South East counties create an incredible array of homes for wildlife, as the campaign looks to raise awareness of the decline in the UK’s insects, birds, mammals and amphibians. Community


were also showcased from organisations across Surrey and surrounding areas, which visitors of all ages could explore and take inspiration from. Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival show manager Gemma Lake said: “We are thrilled to highlight the importance of gardening within

the community. It is wonderful to bring everyone together as we celebrate the work of local groups and schools. Gardening can have a huge impact for both people and places, not only connecting with nature and wildlife but also other people and the community as a whole.”

19 JULY 2019 DIY WEEK 11

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