Marcelle Nankervis is a Horticulturist who has worked in the Horticultural Media for over 16 years.
She is passionate about Permaculture, Sustainability and Gardening for the Future.

Marcelle regularly writes for Your Garden magazine and Better Homes and Gardens.
Her first book was Plants for Australian Dry Gardens (Murdoch Books).
Marcelle's second is Smart Gardening (Exisle Publishing).

Welcome to my Blog!

As a horticultural writer I often come across people, stories, tips, tricks and real gems of information that never really make their way out of my notebook. I am hoping to share a few of these insights here as well as my own gardening experiences, which includes getting my children excited about plants.

I believe that a strong connection with the garden and our landscape when we are young is vital. I am hoping that educating my children in "Green Living" and "Smart Gardening" will provide them with the fundamental building blocks necessary for them to live long and healthy lives, while also doing their bit in helping to create a sustainable and green future for all.

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Grey water in gardens

With Summer approaching, grey water will again become an important component of keeping our gardens lush and green. Even if we have had a fair amount of rain over winter and spring, it is no time to become careless or wasteful with water. We still need to make every drop count, if not for now, then for the future.

Although grey water can make a big difference in your garden (sometimes the difference between life and death), it is not recommended for edible plants such as vegies, herbs and fruit trees. It is, however, perfect for lawns and ornamentals, especially if you reduce any soaps or additives.

Using saved water from inside the home (like that collected in a bucket directly from the hot tap or shower) is easy, but if you would like to use the water from the rinse cycle of your washing machine, you should consider installing a grey water diverter at the outflow. These are inexpensive and available from hardware stores and garden centres.

If re-using grey water in the garden, use low or no sodium, phosphate and petrochemical cleaners such as:
- Back to Basics Laundry Liquid
- Biozet Phosphate free
- Bright & Fresh
- Earth Choice Laundry Liquid
- Greencare Laundry Liquid
- Home Brand Laundry Liquid
- Love n’ Care Laundry Liquid
- Lux Pure Soap Flakes
- Purity Sensitive
- Savings Laundry Liquid
- So Gentle Laundry Liquid
- Tri Nature Alpha Plus Laundry Liquid
- Tri Nature Angelica Washing Conditioner
- Triple 7 Safewash
(Independently tested and published by

You should always try to collect the freshest water you can, such as the cold water before the hot tap warms up. This is the cleanest type of "grey water" and the most useful.
If you are serious about re-using your grey water, you could also take a look at installing a grey water treatment system. Unfortunately they are not a set and forget type of system because they do need periodic cleaning, but they will allow grey water to be reused in the home to flush toilets and water the garden.

There are many local regulations governing the use of grey water and grey water treatment systems so be sure to contact your local council and state water authority for recommendations and advice for your area. The EPA website also has detailed specs on various grey water treatment systems, many of which are eligible for water rebates. 

Happy Gardening!