As the hosepipe ban looms ever closer - it comes into force this Thursday 5 April 2012 - it's beginning to dawn that this summer is going to be one of the most difficult (certainly during my professional gardening career) for the landscape and gardening industry.
As the drought in the south of England tightens its grip it's just been announced that as far north as Yorkshire is also now officially in drought - see current drought map.
For landscapers and gardeners the spring is a very important season and it's unusual that we should be so affected so early in the trading year: if our members cannot maximise their selling opportunities in the next six to eight weeks, and the drought intensifies through the summer, then the knock-on effect will spread to plant and turf suppliers.
Landscape Juice is currently campaigning for concessions for professional users when water restrictions are in place.
Our main objective is to secure a 28 day exemption from hosepipe restrictions for the watering-in of freshly laid turf and newly planted trees and plants.
Yesterday I wrote to Caroline Spelman to urge the government to act and grant special dispensation for the landscape trade on the grounds that this ban will adversely affect thousands of small to medium sized businesses (there are over 200,000 land based businesses operating in the UK) as well as have a detrimental effect on the UK’s environment and ecosystems.
As an industry, landscapers and gardeners have been slow to react but here at Landscape Juice we are now leading a very proactive and strong campaign to change how we do our business in the future. I'm pleased to say that the smaller landscape associations have been jolted into action and are now following our lead.
The long term aim of our industry must be one of change and education toward a low dependence on water in our gardens but in the medium to short term it’s imperative we work to protect our current businesses and help them through this crisis.
I spoke yesterday with Rob Baldry at Sutton & East Surrey Water and he confirmed that it's permitted to water turf with a hosepipe for 28 days after laying.