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Gardeners should change their behaviour to cope with the hosepipe ban, says a horticultural expert.

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From today residents across Bromley and the rest of the south-east will be prohibited from using hoses to water plants, run water features, fill paddling pools or wash patios.

It follows one of the driest two-year periods since records began.

Secretary of Bromley and District Horticultural Society, Gerlinde Southey, said: “Personally it doesn’t worry me because I have water butts and I water my garden as efficiently as possible.

“People should water their gardens less often but deeply, so the water gets to the roots, and we have to choose our plants considering the conditions we may have.”

Mrs Southey advised people to avoid plants that need frequent watering, like petunias, and instead choose hardier species that can withstand dry conditions.

Bromley, like much of the South East, is in drought and Thames Water has enforced the ban to conserve water for the coming months.

Chief executive Michael Baggs said: “We know these restrictions will be unpopular, but they will save a lot of water.

“We want to encourage everyone to continue to voluntarily save as much of this precious resource as possible so there is enough to go around all our customers however long it stays dry.”

He could not rule out extending restrictions under a drought order if the shortage continues.

People with severe mobility problems are exempt from the restrictions, as are irrigation systems, some sporting facilities and businesses.

A Bromley Council spokesman said: “We will all need to look at water conservation measures over the coming weeks and months and, of course, hope for rain.”

2011 was one of the driest years on record and rainfall has been below average for 20 out of the past 25 months. Restrictions were last imposed in 2006.

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