GARDENING / Update: Timely polymers

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Water-retaining polymers such as Broadleaf P4 or Aquahold 400 are invaluable in summer heat. You mix the granules with compost in pots, hanging baskets or growing bags and they sop up moisture when you water, absorbing up to 400 times their own weight.

One teaspoonful is enough to take care of a 12in hanging basket. A thin layer over the bottom of a tub will act as a reservoir for parched roots above. Broadleaf P4 ( pounds 4.65 for 125g) is available from Greenacres Horticultural Supplies, PO Box 1228, Iver, Buckinghamshire SL0 0EH (0895 835235). Aquahold 400 ( pounds 9.65 for 150g) is available from A & T Supplies, Freepost (G1/2154), Liphook, Hampshire GU30 7TP (0734 731575). Prices include post and packing.

Several water companies have already bought copies of Averille Brown's booklet The Water Saving Garden to distribute to their customers. It is available from the Grove Press, 8 Rosemary Works, Branch Place, London N1 5PJ (071-613 0722). Please send pounds 1.20 and a self-addressed envelope.