The connection is successful

There are things that all gardeners know are important, they know that to be a 'real' gardener you have to have/do certain things.  This is a totally subjective, subconcious list but it is reinforced by the gardening media all the time so we seem to accept them to be true.  Well, this is what I believe, I might be of course totally wrong.  We all 'know' that to be a gardener we have to compost.  If we haven't got space to compost then probably we can't be proper gardeners because I've watched Gardeners' World for years and they give me no alternative than to make my own compost.  So I do, I build towering piles of composting waste that I then get too scared to turn or use as I think there are rodents living in it.  Correction, I know there are rodents living in it as Lawrence my black cat and the only hunting cat in the house sits constantly by the side of the heap looking hungry.  Since he discovered the compost dwellers he has (thankfully) stopped eating birds, only the crunchy-furry stuff will do.  When I do take the brave step of turning the compost I feel like I have gained some 'real gardener' points.

The other thing that 'real' gardeners do is collect rain water in butts.  Since moving to this house I have had three water butts, one each side of the back end of the greenhouse and one upside down next to the shed.  The one in the far corner at the back of the greenhouse fills up well with rain water and every now and again I do use it, but I have to fight through nettles and brambles and it is a bit of a pain to get to.

The one the nearside corner the greenhouse suddenly stopped filling up.  I kept clearing the guttering and fiddling with the connector pipe but for some reason it just wasn't filling any more.  I shrugged and moved on, I had a hosepipe why should I worry?

Except I did worry, I am not a fanatical eco-warrior but I do worry about natural resources, I do get concerned about the use of fresh drinking water that is a precious resource in many parts of the world, being used to keep my seedlings going.  I get that little nag of guilt about it and the water butts nag at me silently about it all the time.

So, I decided to sort this out.  I (bravely, it had spiders in it) moved the upside down water butt from by the side of the shed to the front corner of the greenhouse.  I tried to disconnect the gutter pipe from the back-nearside corner water butt so that I could channel the water into the new butt.  I failed at this, it remains still stuck on the side of the greenhouse.  I wondered what I could use, did I need to buy another?  Then I had a thought.  Last year I bought a rain-chain which now hangs from the side of the conservatory, this is basically an ornamental 'drain pipe', the rain runs down the chain and into a little tray at the bottom and drains nicely away.  It is beautiful and functional and when being rained on it is a total joy to watch.  When I had set it up the chain had been too long, so several of the 'tulip links' were stored in the shed.  I fished them out and made sure they were still connected, fixed it up to the guttering and poured water into the gutter to see what happened - success!  The water was channelled beautifully into the water butt.  I was happy.
I soon found I was also using the water from it far more often.  It is quicker to just stick a watering can in the top and use it to water the greenhouse than to faff about with the hose.  Yes it nearly dried up when we had a bit of a dry spell a week or so ago, but it is back to being pretty much full again now.  My conscience felt more clear about the water and it was more efficient.  All is good.

Yet still I had an emptyish water butt at the other corner of the greenhouse, this needed fixing.  So, as it was almost empty I could move it easily.  I placed it by the side of the new water butt and connected the over-flow pipe to the other water butt and then topped it up a little (with water from the full water butt at the other side of the greenhouse - are you confused yet?  I think I am), and lo and behold the water flowed from butt a to butt b.  This was a joyous moment.
So, I now have two functioning water butts at the front of the greenhouse where I can actually use them.  I still have the full one at the back off-side corner of the greenhouse but it is too full to move at the moment.  I now have plans to a) use the water from it more and b) move it when I am able.  I can always just decant the water from it into one of the others.  It is just like being a real gardener, all I have to do now is turn the compost more and actually use it and I might get my 'real gardener' badge.

I had a quick chat with the flowers and they seemed to think that all was well.....
....for it is known that if you are going to make important connections it is best to check that all is well with the cosmos.


  1. Don't worry, we never turn our compost and it is super stuff within a year and I still feel I am a proper gardener. I thought to be a proper gardener you had to sow seeds and take cuttings, so I just about qualify now!
    I wouldn't be without our water butts, we are on a water meter so only water what we really have to. We have one which holds 400 gallons taken from the side of the house and 2 x 50 gallons off the garage, only once have I run out!

  2. As you say, it is much faster to fill a watering can than putting it under a tap. Besides, the water is warmer, which plants like. At my place,the tap water is alkaline so it is nice to have soft rain water available.
    The rain chain is very attractive!

  3. I've fallen out with my cosmos this year, they are just not putting the effort in and being all pathetic.

    I'm sure all the tinkly, pinkly sound of water passing down through the chimes would have me rushing to the loo a lot more

  4. A good job jobbed, as my grandad would have said! Waterbutts really do need to be handy, and not guarded by nettles, to be useful. Which is why I don't have any at the front of the house, although the recent dry spell showed me that one set up there with a hose attached would have made it much easier to keep my newly planted plants happy. Lovely use of your excess rain chain links!


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