I have an ornamental well which was made for me as a gift. It has a working bucket and a slated roof. I’m delighted with it but there is a bit of a problem, several problems actually – there’s no drainage hole, it’s not sealed so isn’t watertight and in it’s current position, it’s canopy is shady enough but not a lot of sun gets to it anyway.
The colour of the wood has long since changed and is starting to look less suburban and more rustic. Although it looked nice with the flowers originally, it was sitting in the sun and it was filled with compost. I decided against that idea as I would prefer to preserve it from too much deterioration from constant dampness. For some reason, not even known to me, I don’t want a drainage hole in it. It’s not watertight but I don’t want water seeping out unnecessarily so I needed to find a way of keeping it dry.
If I leave something long enough, thoughts usually do come to me, some can even be quite sensible ones and in this case I found a plastic garden tub which was flexible enough to even loosely follow the shape of the well, but it’s about two inches higher than I needed. That is another case of indecision for me, trim the tub or keep it with handles? I started piling in bits of polystyrene for drainage, then an order from a gardening company arrived and included two plastic pouches which they assured me were window boxes.
This could be an answer to the problem, my well would become a S.I.P. (self irrigation planter). The ‘window boxes’ are a bit shallow and probably would be good for lining a trough but the top has holes which enable you to attach them to something if you don’t want it free-standing. They’re full of plant holes but my bright idea was to attach them around the inside perimeter of the well. There are two pouches and since one fits half the well, the two will be ideal. It would be exceedingly dry for the plants since I doubt I would remember to water them sufficiently and the canopy wouldn’t allow rain to reach them so I needed another solution. S.I.P.s are ideal and plants can be a bit more independent by allowing them to help themselves to a drink whenever they want it.
My green tub is waterproof and there are already holes in the planters so my answer is to wick them. The first pouch is in place hopefully and I’ve used strips of fabric to act as wicks. There are about 10 litres of water in the tub and being shaded from the sun, won’t be too quick to evaporate so there is a good chance I will remember to check the water level from time to time.
If it finally works out with the pouches, I will replace the string with something a bit more substantial and the little bucket will still be able to be raised and lowered, although it actually serves no useful purpose. However, I may also change my mind in the end and go back to filling it with compost, finding other ways of wicking and keeping a reservoir for the water.
Because I spend so much time outside and out of sight of visitors, I decided to put a bell at the front of my shed so that anyone wishing to speak to me can ring the bell instead of having to shout. This might also act as a rescue bell for my neighbour who has seven cats so if she loses one and hears the bell … “ding dong bell, pussy’s in the well” may be more of a reality than a nursery rhyme.
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