The Horticulture Trades Association HTA has, somewhat triumphantly, claimed its lobbying has led to success for the nation's gardeners by having drip irrigation omitted from any blanket hosepipe bans - current status from the Environment Agency - as they come into place next month.
Speaking for the HTA, Tim Briercliffe, director of business development, Said: “We are delighted that Thames, Anglian and South East Water have taken on board the garden industry’s concerns by allowing drip irrigation to be exempt from the restrictions. This is subject to confirmation following the consultation period on the water companies’ plans. This is a great win for gardeners and the industry and is a massive step forward from the position in 2006 where blanket hosepipe bans had a huge and costly impact on both. This is a significant result and follows several years of lobbying and relationship building with water companies.”
I'd like to know if anyone from the HTA had ever laid a thousand square metres of turf or planted thousands of new shrubs and perenniels and then tried to supply all of the plants with drip irrigation? Forget the cost, the logistics alone makes drip irrigation on a commercial scale, for landscapers, impossible. What planet are the HTA on?
Briercliffe continued: "This is a great win for gardeners and the industry and is a massive step forward from the position in 2006 where blanket hosepipe bans".
Err, no it isn't! It's taken six years to reach an agreement that is as about as useful as a chocolate fireguard.
Anyone who has experience in turf laying - and I would have hoped after 113 years that someone at the HTA does - then they'd know that water has to be applied immediately after the turf is laid otherwise there will be immediate shrinkage and curling of the edges, with the likelihood that much of the turf will not root to the soil: the irony is, if turf dries out too much it the has to be saturated to save it from complete failure.
What the landscape and horticulture industry needs to do is ram home to the government and the water companies that by regulating, and not banning, our industry in the wise use of water is good for the economy and good for the environment.
A 5p tax on plants or a metre of turf could go along way to providing literature and advertising to educate gardeners on the wise use of water.
Related article: Could your business withstand a hosepipe ban?