Do you plan to introduce more drought-tolerant plants?

HW asked exhibitors at last week's RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park.

YES - Tony Cain, bedding foreman, Stoke-on-Trent City Council

"I've already been looking at drought-tolerant bedding.

"For years we've only planted non-stop begonias but the way the climate is getting drier and hotter, they don't seem to survive in those conditions.

"We are looking at going back to basics like certain types of marigolds and salvias. I am also interested in things like Coleus but I haven't placed orders for next year yet. I'll do that in December.

"People still like bedding plants, though, because they are colourful, interesting and inviting - and the thing is that no one wants to see just grasses and trees in a city."

YES - Clive Scott, garden designer, Clive Scott Garden Design & Landscapes

"I think we do have a responsibility as a profession to use plants that are not water-greedy.

"There has been a change (in the climate) and I have spotted that trend (early on) because I live outdoors. Parks staff can't be going around watering all the time and it is the same for my clients.

"I'm now using more drought- tolerant turf and I've been thinking about this for a few years because why should we be putting in plants that need a lot of water?

"We also need to be looking at irrigation (techniques) like rainwater harvesting."

MAYBE - Alan Rampling, nursery head foreman, Preston City Council

"It has been in my mind to introduce more drought- tolerant bedding.

"Some years you are lucky and other years you're not - we had a deluge of water last year.

"But you have got to cut a happy medium; you can't just go all one way or the other. In hot countries you know you are going to have a warm summer, but here it can go either way and we can't do a whole drought-tolerant bed.

"People would be disappointed if we did because they want to see a traditional English garden."

YES - Peter Barton-Price, assistant parks and green spaces manager, Conwy County Borough Council

"At the moment we are looking at sustainability within bedding. We are looking at dahlias because they are later flowering and we can look at them long term.

"We also use some ornamental grasses to try to keep the colour going. There are huge financial restrictions on all local authorities so we need to work smarter.

"Whatever people might be saying, climate change is taking place and is having an effect on everything we do in horticultural services.

"We have to deal with it and we certainly have to think about it for bedding schemes."

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