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Keeping Hoses in Place Without Tangles

November 08, 1986|ROBERT SMAUS | Smaus is an associate editor of Los Angeles Times Magazine

This far into the fall planting season, most of what you were going to plant should be in the ground and growing, advantaged by all this warm weather we've been having. And since it has yet to begin raining in earnest, watering all these new plants is most important, particularly after the warm weather--that was often windy and dry as well--this last week. Which brings me to the subject of garden hoses.

Everything in my garden, except the lawn, is watered with sprinklers on the end of hoses. I like the control this gives me, being able to water a little more here, a little less there, though I hate the hoses.

Garden hoses have always been a nemesis of mine. They seem perpetually tangled, pinched, underfoot or wreaking havoc in the flower beds as I try to drag them about. And I don't like their visual presence much either. Though my wife thinks that blue hoses are pretty, I don't even like the green ones. Which is why I recently spent a weekend getting the hose situation under control, before they became covered with winter's mud as well as hopelessly tangled.

A Handy Organizer

It is possible to organize this snake's nest, thanks largely to a pot made to hold garden hoses by the Hans Sumpf Co. in Madera (40101 Avenue 10, Madera, Calif. 93638 (209) 439-3214).

They make a clay pot in several natural colors that neatly hides hoses. You could, of course, coil a hose inside any shallow, wide pot, but this one has all the bugs worked out of the idea. It is about 18 inches across, low and very heavy so pulling the hose out of it doesn't tip it over. A hole on one side of the bottom lets you run the hose out of the pot and up to the spigot, and the center is cone-shaped to help shape the coil inside. Fifty feet of hose fits neatly inside with room left to store a few nozzles where you will always find them. And, anyone with more than 50 feet of hose, ought to begin their reorganization with the installation of an additional hose bib (though they do make a larger pot).

These pots, being handmade and very handsome, do not come cheap, but after I had used my first one for a while, I blew the whole garden budget for the month and ordered another--they work that well.

The hose pot, however, was only the beginning of my reorganization. Since the pot was so attractive, I did something to enhance the looks of the hose bib, installing a new faucet that had a solid brass quail for a handle. These are available in many of the larger nurseries.

With the aesthetics taken care of, I went back to the practical problems. At the base of each spigot I dug a deep hole and filled it with a bag of gravel--this takes care of the mud and puddles at the source.

Finally, to make sure I would no longer have to drag the hose across any flowers, I made a note of where this was happening and pounded in some hefty 2x2-inch stakes and stained them a light green color. These act as bumpers for the flower beds and it took surprisingly few. There are stakes made just for this purpose that have squirrels and other animals carved into their tops that are more decorative but no more effective.

A satisfying and practical weekend project indeed, and it occurred to me that, with the holidays now on the horizon, several of these items would make first class gifts for a gardener.

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