Hosepipe ban fails to dampen the mood in Merton


Defiant gardeners remain upbeat despite Merton’s hosepipe ban being announced on Monday.


By Sophie Exton, Nick Bonfield and Robert Edwards

Defiant gardeners remain upbeat despite Merton’s hosepipe ban being announced on Monday.

The temporary-use ban comes into effect on Thursday – but some garden centres in the area report stable or growing sales.

“We’re selling water butts like they are going out of fashion,” said Justin Browne, Gardening Manager of Homebase in Merton.

“We’re actually bringing more water-wise products into the store because demand has been so high.”

He said conscientious Merton residents are embracing new ways to save water and help the environment, and sales had increased in the gardening sector.

“Everyone has been willing. Everyone is in the same boat. We’ve had no issues, no complaints, and everything seems positive,” he added.

James Schofield, manager of Morden Hall Garden Centre, said: “We’ve seen no drop at all in plant sales. Too much bad weather is actually worse than a dry spell.

“People are coming to realize there are things you can do. Sales of water butts have increased significantly.”

While the larger gardening firms appear to be coping, smaller businesses with more plant stock foresee severe difficulties.

“The hosepipe ban is pretty much a disaster for a gardening business,” said Robert Stacewicz, Director of the Garden Sage in west Wimbledon.

“It’s probably the worst thing that could happen apart from snow.”

“It will definitely affect our profits this spring and summer. It could be quite a substantial loss for us but we have to be positive about the situation,” he said.

Rainfall has been below average for 18 of the last 23 months in the Thames Valley region and London.

South-east England received just two thirds of the long-term average rainfall for January – the least rainfall seen since 1921.

Thames Water are offering free water-saving gadgets, including showerheads, tap inserts and toilet cistern devices for their customers.

For information visit For advice on keeping your garden colourful, visit the Royal Horticultural Society’s website at


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