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Having no outdoor tap and an indoor tap that wasn’t designed to take a hose pipe, the only way to water our garden was by carting a watering can around.
The first year in this house that wasn’t too bad as there was nothing but weeds growing in the garden and the few plants I had in pots were easily dealt with. The second year I got ill and although I still cared for and tried to develop some of the garden, Richard, my partner was always at hand to help me out. Together, we managed.
This year, however, I got well and truly fed up with it. There are far more plants in the garden now and watering everything meant at least a couple of dozen trips from kitchen to garden, and then another two or three to do the rockery, baskets and tubs at the front. My mobility is impaired thanks to dodgy veins so there was simply no way I was going to manage to march back and forth wielding a heavy watering can throughout the entire summer. A plumber was contacted and an outside tap duly installed.
The only place to install it, unfortunately, was underneath the kitchen window, right behind the patio table and chairs, just where we’ve developed a pretty gravel garden. Having an ugly plastic hose reel hanging on the wall just wouldn’t be aesthetically pleasing and this is, after all, a garden; a place for relaxation, contemplation and quite repose. Aesthetics are important.
The choices we were left with were either one of those mobile trundly cart type hose reels that you move around the garden with you or a spiral effort that stretches with you. A friend of ours has the cart type and as I’m in charge of tending her garden during the week while she’s away, I’ve tried and tested it and found it to be quite cumbersome, even on her slabs and lawn. On our shingle it would’ve been practically impossible to move comfortably. Winding the hose back onto the cart is also a pain in the proverbial as it gathers more kinks than there ever were in Cynthia Payne’s parlour! That left only one option.
A Hozelock Spiral Garden Hose System was quickly tracked down and once home the whole thing was unpacked ready for its trial run. It came supplied with all the bits you’d need to get it up and running but I have to admit to having trouble sorting out the hose connector and tap connector. Mr CherryBlossom was on hand to play Sir Galahad and had it sorted in no time at all. No doubt I’d have got it going myself if I’d had to but y’know how it is, if you have a man about the house you might as well make sure he’s useful.
~~ BENEFITS ~~
The hose itself is very handy because of the spiral construction. When allowed to recoil it rolls up nicely and can be put in the shed without any of the usual problems associated with rolling up a hose pipe. No more rolling and unrolling, turning it one way only to find that it’s been unevenly rolled onto the reel and water isn’t coming through. Off with the roll again, roll up again and so we continue. No thanks, I‘d rather have the spiral hose any day.
It’s far lighter than I’d expected so easy to drag around the garden even when full of water. For some reason, the spiral construction seems to make it easier to ‘navigate’ as I’ve had fewer problems with the hose coiling round plants, chairs and ornaments than I do when I use my friend’s hose. I’ve already managed to snap off a couple of her flowers so far this year.
~~ DRAWBACKS ~~
The main drawback is that it doesn’t stretch further than 15 meters (50 feet). With a conventional hose you can join two lengths together if necessary but this isn’t recommended for the spiral hose. It’d be useless in my dad’s 150 foot garden but is just perfect for us and our 35 footer (that‘s about 10 meters). By the time I get down amongst the ferns and hostas, the hose is feeling pretty taut and if I don’t pull it firmly, the pressure starts to dwindle. Another 15 feet just seems too good to be true so although 50 feet is what the hose is capable of stretching to, I doubt it’d be of any practical use when stretched to that extent.
Surprisingly, the spray gun that comes with it isn’t as good as it could be. I would’ve expected a reputable company like Hozelock to have supplied something better than this. It isn’t as if it doesn’t work or anything, it just isn‘t one of their better models. This one offers the choice of a straight jet or a spray. That‘s it. Considering it costs over £9 to buy alone, I was surprised it didn’t do more. The very same day I switched the gun with B&Qs own brand multi action version which has far more features and costs less at under £6. Believe me, it isn‘t until you start using a hose frequently that you realise just how handy it is to have various functions so although it may seem excessive of me to buy something that had already been supplied, experienced gardeners will understand why.
~~ VALUE FOR MONEY ~~
We paid £29.99 in Focus but I’ve since seen them for £19.99 in Argos. The only difference, as far as I can tell, is that the hose in Argos is bright blue rather than green. I personally prefer the green but would I really pay an extra tenner for the sake of the colour? Probably not. Unless I had money to throw about, that is.
If you’re not fussy about the spray gun then £20 for this set is worth paying. £30 is too much, especially if you’re like me and buy an extra gun to use with it.
Cheap spiral hoses have been available for a while now but Hozelock, although far more expensive than the one I saw recently in our local discount shop for £4.99, is undoubtedly of a far superior quality. When it comes to water in the garden, Hozelock know their stuff.
Ours gets pulled over gravel and left out in the sun but has so far shown no signs of deterioration. Admittedly we’ve only had it for six weeks but as my last hose was Hozelock with excellent quality, I don’t see this one being any worse.
~~ CONCLUSION ~~
I can honestly say, with my hand on my heart, that unless my garden was too big for a spiral hose, I wouldn’t want to use anything else. I’m usually a bit of a penny-pincher and could quite easily have gone for a cheap coil of hose with a tap nozzle on one end and a simple spray on the other but this hose is incredibly practical and as my garden means a lot to me, I was willing to fork out a bit extra for something that would be easy to use and equally as easy to put away again. This is one piece of gardening equipment that I don’t regret having paid a bit for.
You've sold it to me. I was on the verge of buying a 'normal' hose today, but didn't want to stand in the mammoth Sunday queue so left it "For Another Day". Good job too. Cheers ~ Steve
anthmack 23.05.2004 21:14
I bloody hate them reeled hoses as well.. I am definately up for any easy, well really in my case, lazy option - so may have get the parents to invest in one of these (cos guess who has to do the garden!! - Even though I couldnt care less about it lol) Again great review. Antony
mmpr 21.05.2004 18:30
Might do for us too - we're thinking about an outside tap ~ Mark