Growing by the shed is the mini Dutch Iris I planted around October. It is beautifully striped with yellow, black, and white on the petals throat. There are a mixture of purple ones, and white ones I think. This is the first Iris to flower, and it made me smile.
Iris is Greek for Rainbow, and they come in many colours (except Red). After Roses they are my favourite plant. They have six petals that unfold from a centre flower bud. They are lofted above the green stems like colourful kites.
In February with the Sky's leaden with grey clouds a little burst of colour brightens up the gardeners heart. Spring is only a few weeks away. The Crocuses and Snowdrops have witnessed the changing light and bloomed. The Daffodils and Narcissus are madly growing away ready for an explosion of their nodding yellow faces.
I got an email from the Wildfowl And Wetlands Trust (WWT). They are doing a campaign called "Work Your Butt". It is to try to encourage people to buy rain butts and to use the collected water in the garden.
We are on a water metre here so I cannot use the mains water to water the garden. The plan is to have water butts connected to the downpipes from the roof, and the shed.
The allotment gardeners know the value of rainwater, and most sheds have Butts or baths to collect the precious rain. It saves walking to and from the water hole with heavy watering cans.
Ponds need topping up with fresh rainwater as it does not contain the chemicals that the mains water is cleaned with at water treatment plants.
The WWT has a competition for people to photograph their water butts who have them and to show them in action (watering the garden, or washing the car etc), and a competition for people who are inspired and will start saving water.
The stats show that the average rainfall of a typical UK roof could fill 450 water butts. This run off has led to flooding in the UK before as drains fail to cope with the rapid influx of water.
Details of their Work your butt competitions are on their website:
The WWT are also running a survey of gardeners which takes five minutes to do (I have just done it):
The pink tub in the photo is on the corner of the shed. I placed it there as i saw rain water dripping from a join in the down pipe. The water has filled it several times and it is used to replenish the birds water and the pond.
I have four water butts from the old house at Fishponds Drive. They need to be connected up here ready for the summer. Another job to do in the garden this year.