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English gardeners told to conserve water

LONDON, April 14 (UPI) -- English gardeners are being encouraged to use drought-resistant plants for their famous floral displays as the country struggles with persistent drought.

Baroness Barbara Scott Young, executive director of the Environment Authority, said gardeners should not look for loopholes in a ban on using hoses to water gardens, The Telegraph reported. Hoses can still be used -- as the Royal Horticultural Society points out -- to fill fishponds and wash pets and outdoor furniture.

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"We are a nation of gardeners but during hot weather garden watering can account for more than half of our total household water use," Young said. "We are all aware of the seriousness of this drought in the South East and that is why hosepipe bans are a commonsense approach."

Precipitation has been below average for 15 of the past 17 months, and a hot dry summer could make this the worst drought in a century.

Young recommends plants that need little water, including California poppies, lavender and evening primrose. She also urges gardeners to collect rainwater for their plants and find other ways of recycling and conserving.

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