Wa’ter champion!

Danny Poland

Gardening season may be coming to an end, but it’s never too early to start preparing for next year.

Water champion Danny Poland, from near Carlisle, went above and beyond with his innovative water cart, delivering 100-150 litres of rainwater a day to the flowers he planted around his local village.

Here he shares how he’s making Cumbria greener.

“In 2020 I handed out sunflower seedlings to cheer people up through difficult times. I had no idea what would happen in the following two years, and how much it would grow! In 2021 I entered my village into ‘Pride in Your Community’, with Cumbria in Bloom with the theme ‘Help Our Pollinators’. Lots of people joined in in the village, which looked spectacular. We received a Silver Gilt Award and were nominated for Britain in Bloom.

“In 2022 we were once again in Pride in Your Community with Cumbria in Bloom but were also Britain in Bloom Finalists. So many different areas were planted in the village, with the theme ‘Natures Friend’. The churchyard was part of ‘The Big Plant’ with Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

“From one end of the village to the other is one mile. Our project was proudly carbon neutral, environmentally friendly, sustainable, and pedal powered. The other priority was that every plant introduced had a purpose for wildlife and would increase biodiversity.

“These planting projects required water and therefore we had to figure out how to maintain these areas. I had a few ideas; a watering can wasn’t going to cut it unfortunately, but I needed to create something that was effective but worked with my ethos of being nature friendly. The ‘Hydration station’ was created. It consisted of a trailer attached to a bike, in the trailer was a pump and two barrels with water in them.

“The battery was charged and then slotted on to one side. One end of the pump has a filter, and this goes into the water, the other end a hose.

“In 2022, during the dry spell (June-July) we watered every day in order to help the plants establish. People offered me their water butts so I had a few places I could stop on my watering journey. Around 100-150 litres of water were used daily during this period.

“Thankfully, this year we have only had to water a few times because the plants are establishing well, and we have had more rain this summer. It was important to me when designing these areas that the plants used were more tolerant of both wet and warmer conditions. This is because we are experiencing a changing climate and I wanted my planting style to reflect future challenges.

“As for recognition, this isn’t important to me, the rewards I’ve received have been fantastic. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my local community.  

“We helped nature, which is in crisis, and needs our help more than ever.”