We have already seen a prolonged period of very dry, very warm weather across most parts of the United Kingdom. This period of hot weather through July was the first prolonged heat wave seen in the country since 2006. This came as a welcome relief to many people – especially given the fact that the start of summer looked rather bleak. However the heat wave has brought problems of its own. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has calculated that as many as between 540 and 760 extra deaths in England may have been as a direct consequence of the hot humid conditions. The warm conditions were also linked to grass fires in Epping Forest and in Scotland. The conditions can also cause particular headaches for gardeners. Hot dry weather can cause irreparable damage to certain types of plants and foliage. What’s more, although it seems we are likely to be looking at a temporary reprieve in the form of thunderstorms, we could nevertheless be faced with the possibility of a hosepipe ban.
For gardeners, an element of planning is generally a good idea. Howard Macpherson is one of those gardeners who are always prepared for this type of scenario. The problem lays not so much in the fact that we have a shortage of water in the country. The difficulty is that peak demand generally occurs precisely at the times when reservoir supplies are at their lowest. To combat this, it is a very good idea for gardeners to build up their own ‘mini-reservoirs’ during the rest of the year in the form of water butts. Hosepipe bans are enforced with predictable regularity in certain parts of the country – notably the South East and the Midlands. Gardeners in these areas ought to give particular consideration to water storage options. In fact, even in those areas were hosepipe bans are very rare, investing in a water butt will certainly make economic sense if a water meter is installed at the property. Howard Macpherson also takes care to properly treat his soil to combat the possible effects of drought. Cultivating the soil deeply as well as digging in relatively large amounts of organic matter to improve soil structure is the best way of achieving this. This has the effect of significantly improving water retention in the soil.
Howard Macpherson has a broad and interesting range of hobbies, from gardening and landscaping, to visiting national trust properties, to enjoying the spectator sport of tennis.
In the realm of gardening and landscaping, a big trend followed by Howard Macpherson and other enthusiasts is that of “green landscaping,” which is popular among those wishing to have a beautiful garden but who also want to preserve the environment. Certain methods are employed, such as landscape shading. This strategic way of creating shade all around the yard creates cool areas that reduce air conditioning bills in warmer months. For cold areas and cold times of year, another method is creating landscaping windbreaks. These windbreaks use trees and shrubbery to block the wind surrounding a home and reduce heating bills.
For folks looking to implement a good landscaping design, a consultation with an expert can do wonders versus willy-nilly picking out some random plants and inserting them in the ground in a way that “looks nice.” Proper landscaping is not only beautiful, it is functional. Questions to consider are things like, where are shade areas needed for activities like making barbecue outside? Should there be a play area for the children? Do we need to block out some nosy neighbors and have a bit of privacy added? All of these factors inform a potential landscaping design.
Another issue faced by landscapers and gardeners like Howard Macpherson is creating year-round appeal. This can be difficult in temperate climates, where plants that survive year-round do not always look right during the summer months, but warm-weather plants are not hearty enough to withstand the winter. It is important to find the right combination of plants, shrubs, and trees that can survive in many different conditions, so that a garden will not simply be a seasonal enjoyment but rather a year-round thing of beauty.
By implementing a few simple strategies, an outdoors enthusiast like Howard Macpherson can have an outdoor space that is both functional and beautiful. By adding shade, reducing the use of harsh chemicals, and using the right blend of plants, shrubs, and trees, a space can also be environmentally friendly and reduce climate control bills significantly.