It was not that long ago that solar power was something you saw on the telly but never had yourself. It was expensive, hard to find but was hailed as the future of lighting.
We now live in the age where you can pick up a solar light in the local pound store, supermarket or hardware establishment. Oh how things have changed, and I'm sure that the majority of us have purchased one or more of these little bargains and revelled in the fact that we have free light and can position it anywhere we like.
But unfortunately the mass production and therefore cheapening of solar power has given it a bad name. The fittings are sometimes badly made, the battery life fleeting, with light given off so minimal a row of glowworms would give better illumination from the back door to the shed.
We have made solar power so cheap we have degraded the performance and therefore think that it is worthless and of no real use.
But this is wrong. Talk to the right people, get the right fittings, and yes, spend a bit of money, and you can have all the benefits of free power with the advantage of being able to use it and see properly - no glowworms required.
So - as we are required to light our new showgarden we automatically looked at solar power for the solution - no power hookup required, can be placed anywhere, free light, no cables - the advantages are huge.
We needed a few high powered spots to uplight some sculptures and a few 'atmospheric' lights for a general smattering of glitter, and after gazing at some very informative web pages and making a few phone calls to the extremely helpful guys at The Solar Centre, we had our scheme sorted.
The box arrived - full of brilliantly made, sturdy fittings that instantly blinded me when turned on. This is something you do not get with a pound shop special.
We can't wait to get them in our show garden now, and watch this space for the shots to prove how grand free lighting can be.
Solar powered lights do not have to be single LED and crappy. Some are magnificent and well worth spending a few bob on. Just do a bit of research and spend your bobs wisely...