British gardeners are growing more exotic plants like figs, grapevines and even banana trees thanks to the warming climate and staying stuck at home due to the lockdown.
New research by the polytunnels manufacturer Premier Polytunnels has shown that climate change has shifted the number of plants that thrive in the UK.
Met Office data showed that the UK’s average annual temperatures have increased 3.9 percent since 2015, with a 50 percent increase in a few months.
This has made it possible for a wider range of plants to grow in British gardens, including citrus fruits, figs, grapevines and even palm trees.
They found that the coronavirus lockdown made people more willing to experiment with what they grew in their gardens, although tomatoes, roses, daffodils and mint are the most commonly grown crops.
British gardeners are turning to more exotic plants such as figs, grapevines and even banana trees due to a warming climate and the UK lockdown. Image from a picture agency
A wider range of crops are grown in the UK, including citrus fruits, figs, grapevines and even banana trees in UK gardens. Image from a picture agency
TOP TEN PLANTS GROWN IN BRITISH GARDENS IN 2020
- Tomatoes (49%)
- Roses (42%)
- Daffodils (39%)
- Mint (36%)
- Strawberries (33%)
- Potatoes (32%)
- Fuchsias (31%)
- Tulips (31%)
- Sunflower (30%)
- Rosemary (25%)
The researchers found that about a third of Britons claim to be “excellent” at gardening, but that it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep some plants thriving.
This is due in part to warmer temperatures due to climate change that traditional plants have grown accustomed to a cooler climate.
It is estimated that temperatures in the UK will get up to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer by 2050 unless more is done to reduce the effects of climate change.
This climate change results in wetter winters with excessive rainfall and hotter summers that lead to droughts.
When combined, this will create challenging terrain for plants, especially those used to fairly constant seasons.
Average annual rainfall in the UK during the winter months has increased a whopping 11.3 percent, from 16 inches in 2000 to 18.5 inches in 2020.
Although it is believed that many plants and vegetation learn to adapt to changing conditions, there are some noticeable changes in the plant species that are common in UK gardens and allotments.
It does this as gardeners look for plants that will survive and thrive in a warmer, wetter and sometimes drier UK climate.
Citrus fruits, figs, grapevines and even palm trees have flourished in recent years due to the changed weather conditions.
In more unusual cases, banana trees have been found in both the northern town of Stockport and areas in southern England, although they did not always bear edible fruit.
Jack Wallington, landscape architect, conservationist and horticultural writer, said global warming is having a noticeable impact on crops grown in the UK
Researchers found that the coronavirus lockdown resulted in people becoming more adventurous in their gardens and planting these more exotic options, although tomatoes, roses, daffodils and mint are the most commonly grown. Image from a picture agency
Met Office data showed that the UK’s average annual temperatures have increased 3.9 percent since 2015, with a 50 percent increase in a few months. Image from a picture agency
WHAT IS THE PARIS AGREEMENT?
The Paris Agreement, signed for the first time in 2015, is a global commitment to controlling and limiting climate change.
It hopes to keep the global mean temperature rise below 2 ° C (3.6 ° F) and efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 ° C (2.7 ° F) ”.
It seems that the more ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C (2.7 ° F) may be more important than ever, as previous research suggests that 25 percent of the world’s population could see a significant increase in drier conditions.
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change has four main goals in terms of reducing emissions:
1) A long-term goal of keeping the global average temperature rise to well below 2 ° C above pre-industrial levels
2) Aim to limit the increase to 1.5 ° C as this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change
3) Governments agreed that global emissions must peak as quickly as possible as it will take longer for developing countries
4) Then make rapid reductions in accordance with the best available scientific evidence
Source: European Commission
“Our winters are more humid with more rainfall combined with warmer temperatures that lead to less snow and frost,” he said.
“The soil remains soaked and not frozen over, which means that more plants rot or drown and flooding is more common, especially in northern parts of the country.
“At the other end of the hive, summers are hotter with longer periods of no rain, making gardening increasingly difficult in the southeastern areas.”
As an example, he cited dahlias, which are traditionally dug up in winter to store them indoors – but as the soil temperature rises, they thrive outdoors year round.
“Many fruits in warm climates also do better, including figs and peaches.”
While these changes point to a more tropical outlook for British gardens in the future, avid gardeners still prefer traditional plants over tropical varieties.
The top plants grown in UK gardens, courtyards and even pots on balconies in 2020 were tomatoes, roses and daffodils, all of which thrive in typical UK weather.
Chamomile, zinnias, grapevines, cornflowers and allium rounded out the list of plants less preferred by British breeders.
Despite their attempts with green fingers, nearly ten percent of adults in the UK currently fail to keep their garden plants alive, the researchers found.
Another 63 percent said that survival rates are highly dependent on the type of plant.
Deborah Wood, Premier Polytunnels’ company director who funded and conducted the research, said gardeners and plants are learning to adapt.
“As our plants have done, we can create an environment in which a greater variety of plants can thrive and thrive,” she said.
“We recommend spending time researching and introducing structures like an orangery, greenhouse, or polytunnel (if you have the space) that can provide shelter for your plants and a more stable environment to bloom.”
SHRINKING SPECIES: EXPERTS PREDICT GLOBAL WARMING THAT CREATURES SHRINK
A recent study in Canada found that the region’s beetles have shrunk over the past century.
When examining eight species of beetles and measuring past and present animals, they found that some beetles adapted to a reduced body size.
The data also showed that the larger beetles shrank, but the smaller ones did not.
Around 50 million years ago the earth warmed by three degrees Celsius and the animal species shrank by 14 percent at that time.
Another warming event around 55 million years ago – the so-called Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) – warmed the earth by up to eight degrees Celsius.
In this case, the animal species of that time have shrunk by up to a third.
Woolly mammoths have been a victim of the warming climate, shrinking habitat, and increased hunting by a growing early human population that drove them to extinction – along with many large animals
The shrinking of body size is observed through several global warming events.
As global temperatures continue to rise, the average size of most animals is expected to decrease.
In addition to global warming, the world has seen a dramatic decrease in the numbers of large animals.
The so-called megafauna are large animals that are becoming extinct. With a long lifespan and relatively small population numbers, they are less able to adapt to rapid changes than smaller animals, which reproduce more frequently.
Often hunted for trophies or for food, large animals such as the mastadon, mammoths and the western black rhinoceros, which was declared extinct in 2011, have been hunted to extinction.