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Published 24 Jul 2022

Heatwave gardening- how to water your garden

It’s that time of year again. It’s the middle of summer and it’s scorching; there’s a hosepipe ban in full force and you’re racking your brain for ways to stop your meticulously cared for garden from burning to a crisp.

Although we’re used to rain, being so close to the Lake District – we’re not too unfamiliar with the odd heatwave. So, we’ve developed some tried and tested heatwave gardening ideas to ensure your flower beds get an ample supply of water during this year’s drought! 

Ways to water your garden during a dry spell

With hosepipes banned, sprinklers prohibited and water-features discouraged, you may think that your only option for watering your garden is walking around with a watering can, individually giving each pot and plant a drink each day. Well…. you’re wrong.

Self-watering spikes are exactly what you need.

How to use a self-watering spike for heatwave gardening:

You’ll need a couple of empty wine bottles for this – the perfect excuse for enjoying a cool glass in the garden!

clay self watering spike placed in a planter, surrounded by flowers, outside a greenhouse. Placed during a day of heatwave gardening.

  • Pre soak your spike for a couple of hours – this prevents it from absorbing the water you’re intending to give to your plants!
  • Simply fill your used wine (other other long necked) bottle with water.
  • Place upside down into the spike.
  • Plant the spike and bottle firmly into the soil leaving a couple of inches visible.
  • Refill the bottle as needed.

The spike will do all the hard work for you, ensuring a constant trickling supply reaches your plants thirsty roots, preventing any water evaporation from the soil’s surface. Ensuring no drop of water is lost to the heat- perfect for heatwave gardening!

Our self-watering spikes are plastic-free, fair trade and made of natural Sri Lankan clay – a great eco-conscious choice.

Shop self-watering spikes

Stop water evaporation

Another issue you might be facing is that even if you do water your garden, it’s so hot it all just evaporates away. All that effort of carefully watering your flowers with a watering can is wasted, as the soil quickly dries out and that much needed water never reaches the roots.

From on top of the soil:

A jute much mat, tree spat, being placed around a young pink plant, which has been planted into a black pot

This is where our fantastic mulch mats come in. Mulch mats are generally just excellent! Not only do they help protect plants from weeds, but they also hold water and can prevent excessive moisture evaporation!

By watering your plants, then laying a dry (or damp) mulch mat on top, you will add a barrier, preventing the hot air from directly hitting the top soil. This significantly reduces the rate of soil water evaporation, giving your plants roots more time to drink up!

Grey sheep's wool felt shillies, being sprinkled from an eco-friendly coffee sack.

You could also consider using some of our felt shillies. Our felt shillies are fantastically hygroscopic. They can hold more than double their weight in water! Our woollen shillies are significantly more absorbent than soil, so if you water them – you’re able to provide your plants with a slow releasing water source. They’ll leach water into the soil over time, without the water simply evaporating. The other bonus to them of course is that they slowly biodegrade, releasing nutrients into the soil. Also when it does finally rain, and the slugs and snails venture out, it keeps these hungry pests at bay.

Underneath or on top of the soil:

A black plastic plant pot, placed on top of Chimney Sheep's sheep' wool garden felts, being used as capillary matting, amazing for heatwave gardening

Why not get the best of both worlds with a few meters of our garden felt? This is a double layer of wool felted onto a jute centre layer, it can be easily lain out, for you to spread your potted plants on top of, or trimmed into smaller pieces for smaller areas . The garden felt will act as a wonderful water-storing capillary matting, releasing water to your plants roots. The woollen layers, again, are wonderfully absorbent, so you’ll get the slow release of water your plants need this heatwave; but it also behaves like a mat, so if you wanted to, you could also use it as a barrier to prevent soil water evaporation too.

Organic sheep wool pellets, placed on top of, and sprinkled next to, a wooden and silver trowel, perfect for heatwave gardening

Or you could even use the best-of-the-best organic sheep wool pellets. Made of 100% sheep’s wool and certified by the Soil Association, they are completely organic, entirely chemical free and compostable.

These pellets are fantastic at holding water – in fact, it’s what they’re made to do. Perfect for use on top of, and mixed into the soil of, planters, pots and hanging baskets. Give them a little water and they’ll hold onto it for ages. They’ll trickle the water into the soil beneath, keeping it moist. They also act as fantastic coverage for top soil – perfect for beating the heat!

Why not take advantage of the beautiful sunny weather and do some TLC heatwave gardening. We have a huge range of eco-friendly gardening products to not only protect your plants from the heat, but to encourage them to grow and thrive too!

Shop our natural gardening range

Heatwave gardening? Use water wisely

It’s imperative that during heatwaves we use our water wisely! Our gardens are not only beautiful but are a haven for wildlife so it’s important to keep them thriving!

However, during heatwaves and droughts, water supplies are limited, which puts pressure on aquatic environments, so we need to think of creative ways to keep our gardens hydrated, without taking water from already stressed aquatic wildlife where possible.

Our best tips:

  • Use some of our natural gardening products to give your plants the water they need – without the need to use fresh every day
  • Re-use and re-purpose, collect any waste dishwater, shower or bathwater and use it when you’re heatwave gardening, it’s perfectly safe to do so for short periods, with no ill effects on plants for up to 6 weeks (much longer than the average UK heatwave!)
  • Catch rainwater when you can. It’s free, readily available and doesn’t rely on a groundwater source. There are a range of water butts on the market – look out for ones made of recycled plastic of course! Alternatively, rainwater can be collected using something as simple as a bucket outside, and can be used for plants directly – alongside that little drink they get from the summer drizzle.


Here at Chimney Sheep we’re ever-conscious of our effect on local wildlife. So, we decided to introduce a biodiversity boosting wildlife habitats to our range of natural products. Each product has been carefully developed to provide a safe haven for different varieties of British wildlife, in the hope that through re-wilding gardens these products can encourage ecological diversity.

Shop hospitality for wildlife

Sally Phillips

Inventor of Chimney Sheep

capillary matting
gardening tips
saving water
soil enricher
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