Garden centre executives in the north west explain how they are facing the hosepipe ban

Klondyke chief executive Bob Hewitt says hosepipe bans in the northwest, where nine of the group's 25 centres are located, should not hit trade too badly.

"There were no surprises when the ban was brought in," Hewitt explained. "It will affect sales of watering equipment and when it is dry, people plant less. The only plus point is that it has come at the start of July. Trade dies substantially and people are in holiday mode, so I'm not overly worried. But if it goes on longer it will affect plant sales.

"We're getting more extremes of climate and weather. It has been the coldest winter for 31 years. But we cope as we always do. In planterias, despite irrigation systems, staff have to spend a lot of time watering, which has been a problem for the past four or five weeks."

Matt Howard, garden centre outside sales manager of Barton Grange in Preston, said: "On an operational level the ban shouldn't affect us as we use recycled rainwater, and we don't expect plant-buying habits to change drastically, although we expect to sell more plants which are drought tolerant.

"Customers can still use their watering cans so we can provide advice on which plants to prioritise and which might survive more easily without water. We might even sell a few more water butts."

Ryan Simpson trainee manager Garden Centre Group, Swansea, added: "We're on stage 3a regulations where I'm from in Australia, which means you can only water twice a week and in certain hours. You can only use drippers to irrigate. I advise using drought-tolerant plants and to mulch heavily.

"I don't think gardens need as much water as everyone thinks. You can reduce watering and increase mulching and use grey water by changing your detergents. Use a big bucket to stand in when showering and collect the water for the garden. Everyone has water tanks there now, too."

Hozelock marketing director Simon McArdle said: "The trouble with such a blunt instrument as the traditional hosepipe ban is that it punishes gardeners who have done the responsible thing by converting to water-saving irrigation equipment. Over 80 per cent of all the water wasted in the garden comes from uncontrolled sprinklers, according to our research.

"When water is scarce, a sprinkler ban makes sense but other hosepipe restrictions are of questionable environmental value."

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