Derbyshire company offers social distancing solution for horticulturalists and gardeners after driest May on record

Derbyshire company offers social distancing solution for horticulturalists and gardeners after driest May on record

A Derbyshire company has a solution for councils and gardeners across the region who are facing a double challenge keeping plants and flowers blooming during summer 2020.

With restrictions around social distancing slowing down planting and maintenance of floral displays, professional horticulturalists and community gardening organisations have also been hindered by the driest May (in England) on record.

However, self-watering planters manufactured by Alfreton-based company Amberol, reduce the need for watering displays to once or twice a week, even in hot weather. This means that, as restrictions slowly loosen, people are able to reduce the number of trips, contact and time involved in watering during the summer months.  

The self-watering planters differ from traditional containers because they have a water reservoir under the soil which only needs to be filled once or twice a week, even in drought conditions. Because the water is stored under the soil, it doesn’t evaporate, meaning that plants can access water as needed while also conserving water.

“The fact that watering only needs to be carried out once a week is very important when it comes to social distancing, reducing the need for contact with others as well as travel” explains Amberol’s managing director, Patience Atkinson-Gregory. “As regulations around lockdown slowly ease, people are visiting public places, parks and attractions which means that ground staff and Britain in Bloom groups are looking for ways to maintain floral displays with minimum effort.” 

Spending time in green spaces is a proven way of improving mental health and wellbeing. Gardening and horticulture have been recognised by the NHS as part of their social prescribing programme, highlighting the significant physical and mental health benefits that horticulture can offer.

“We need to maintain our public places now more than ever for public and mental health,” Patience adds. “They are particularly essential for those who don’t have access to their own outdoor space. However, this must be done safely. We work with many councils and Britain in Bloom groups who do such important work in their communities. At a time when it’s so easy to be negative, seeing plants and flowers in bloom during daily exercise is a massive mood-booster.”

Although the weather has cooled recently, water has been in short supply in recent months with the UK experiencing the sunniest spring on record according to the Met Office. Rainfall in May was just 17% of the average monthly rainfall. Coupled with social distancing and lockdown regulations, displays in many public gardens and communal spaces have suffered as a result.

The hot weather looks set to return by mid-June and the Met Office forecast for 2020 predicts that this year will be amongst the six warmest years on record.

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