Gardeners looking to introduce new additions to their borders this spring should consider plants that survive with little watering, say Severn Trent.
Although there is no chance of an imminent hosepipe ban in the West Midlands, the water company has issued the advice to raise awareness amongst gardeners of the need to conserve water whenever possible.
Hosepipe bans are currently in force in the southern part of the country but in the Midlands water levels are running at normal for this time of year with reservoirs 95 per cent full.
This is due to the fact that the reservoirs serving the region are above ground so fill more easily than those under-ground that serve the south. Also, much of Birmingham's water comes from the Elan Valley in Wales where supplies are currently plentiful.
Severn Trent conservation manager Doug Clarke said gardeners should buy plants which use less water than other shrubs to keep usage down.
He said the most environmentally-friendly shrubs were border plants such as Alyssum, Sage (Salvia Officinalis), Ice Plant (Sedum Spectabile), Catmint (Nepeta Mussinii), Thyme (Thymus), Wallflower (Cheiranthus), Aubretia and Lamb's Ear (Stachys Byzantina). He said: "Easter is always a busy period and is the first time in the year where we will see a big increase in consumption, so we are always keen for customers to be water-wise, both in the home and garden."
Gardening writer Monty Don and the Royal Horticultural Society have also offered gardeners tips on how to make do during the water shortage - including how to make safe use of dishwater.
Don, presenter of the BBC show Gardeners' World, said: "Although not suitable for edible crops, dishwater is ideal for large shrubs and established plants."
He also tells gardeners to catch rain in water butts and raise lawnmower blades to a higher level to stop grass scorching in the heat. The RHS said: "Household soaps and detergents are harmless to plants but bleaches, disinfectants and stronger cleaning products must not be used on plants although they will be harmless on bare soil."