Getting over a flooded garden

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With more than 150 per cent of average rainfall last month and climate change models predicting a greater chance of wetter winters, even those gardeners whose land isn’t under water may have to rethink aspects of planting and design.

GETTING over a flooded or waterlogged garden is a long-term project.

 Since most of us in the North East have been lucky to miss most of the flooding, I’ve concentrated on tips to cope with waterlogging and prevention.

 If your garden is actually under water, log on to for what you can do to alleviate the health and structural problems.

 Here’s 10 tips to cope with the recovery of a waterlogged garden:

1. Vegetable gardeners shouldn’t sow early until the soil is dry enough. Better still, start off crops in modules.

2. Potato blight can be a common problem. If in season, dig them up and store in a cool, dry place before blight hits.

3. Waterlogging and compaction can create ideal conditions for phytopthora (root rot) and other fungal attacks. Box is prone to box blight in poorly-drained sites.

4. Remove any dead, diseased or dying shoots as soon as you see them so disease doesn’t spread.

5. When the soil has started to dry out, dig it over to help create an open structure. Work from boards to avoid compaction.

6. Fruit trees and bushes may suffer from root rots and be liable to wilting in hot, dry spells. Mulch, water and feed during the growing season to encourage root growth.

7. In clay soil, use plenty of organic matter and horticultural grit before planting to improve soil structure and drainage. Nutrients will have been washed away in free-draining soil, so add compost to bulk up the soil and add nutrients.

8. Build a drainage system or soakaway. Dig ditches filled with gravel to drain water away, or talk to a builder about a pipe drainage system.

9. Rethink your planting and replace losses with more water-tolerant species. Trees and shrubs that do well in moist conditions include Cornus alba, C. stolonifera, Hydrangea macrophylla, H. paniculata, Kerria japonica, Leycesteria formosa, Weigela, Salix, Betula, Sambucus, Liquidambar, ash and amelanchier.

10. If things are really soggy, go with it – make a bog garden, which is an excellent habitat for wildlife. Suitable plants include Iris ensata AGM, I. laevigata AGM, I. pseudacorus AGM, I. sibirica AGM, primulas, Actaea, Alstilbe and carex, plus the magnificent leaves of gunnera, hostas, rheum and rodgersia.