The East Anglian Garden of the Future

The East Anglian Garden of the Future

Have you ever considered what effect climate change will have on your garden? Or even what the future of the English garden may look like in just a few years?

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It is no secret that climate change is affecting the planet at an alarming rate. As temperatures steadily rise around the world, we are in the midst of a climate emergency, and things as we know them are altering every year. This is especially true for the UK’s plant ecosystem and our gardens; with temperatures creeping up gardening as we know it is already changing.

Have you ever considered what effect climate change will have on your garden? Or even what the future of the English garden may look like in just a few years? The team at Rhino Greenhouses Direct, have researched the impact that climate change may have on the East Anglian Garden over the coming years.

 

Extreme Weather Conditions

We are already experiencing one impact of climate change in our daily lives, with weather across the UK becoming more and more unpredictable and storm warnings are becoming the norm. This means that we need to introduce more tolerable plants into our gardens.

As well as an increase in storms, the UK will experience “wetter soils in winters” according to the findings of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Gardening in a Changing Climate Report due to an increase in rainfall predicted in winters.

With more extreme weather becoming the norm in the coming years, gardeners around the UK will need to take additional measures to protect their plants. For example, investing in raised beds is a good place to start, as this helps protect your plants from flooding.

Man working inside his greenhouse

Speaking of the extended growing season, Rhino Greenhouses Direct’s resident gardening expert, Andrew White, said: “As the weather becomes more extreme, the need to extend the growing season under glass will also increase. Unpredictability and increased volatility of weather conditions will see gardeners turn to products with guaranteed strength and resilience even in locations previously considered sheltered.

 

Rising Temperatures

With UK summers now reaching highs of 40 degrees, there is no denying that we are feeling the impacts of climate change in the UK, but what impact will our ever-rising temperatures have on our gardens?

Rhino Greenhouse in sunlight

Due to the extremely hot temperatures throughout the summer, gardens will need to be screened to the south and west to provide midday shade. This will help to prevent leaf scorching and ensure that the soil dries out at a much slower rate than usual. When it comes to plants in greenhouses, it’s essential that gardeners ensure they have blinds installed in their greenhouses over the coming years, as this helps to avoid plants and crops being scorched in the summer months.

Our garden soils will also transform, as climate change will likely influence soil health and composition. Gardeners will need to monitor and amend their soil according to the weather conditions and changes to ensure optimal growing conditions for plants all year round. While this is a consideration even today, this will become increasingly prevalent in the coming years.

 

Droughts

According to studies conducted by the Met Office, heatwaves are “30 times more likely” across the UK as a result of climate change. With 2023 being recorded globally as the “warmest year since 1850” according to the Met Office and the University of East Anglia.

This means we can expect hotter as well as drier summers as the norm! With an increased risk of droughts across the country, hose pipe bans are increasingly likely to be in place more frequently, and for longer periods.

All of this inevitably means that alternate water sources will need to be found to keep our gardens and lawns in great shape when hose pipe bans are in place. Downpipe water storage, water butts and tanks will rise in popularity in gardens across the UK. Along with this, there will also be a rise in the number of plants that require minimal watering as water becomes scarce in the summer months.

 

Plant Choices & Variety

As temperatures begin to rise, what we choose to plant  in our gardens need to adapt to the changes in climate. There’s a very good chance that we’ll begin to see the plant hardiness zones in East Anglia taking a significant shift, which will inevitably influence the types of plants that can survive in the region.

Gardeners in the area will need to opt for evergreen plants, e.g. strawberry tree (Arbutus), gum (Eucalyptus; right), silk tassel bush (Garrya elliptica), bay (Laurus nobilis), holm oak (Quercus ilex) and palms, e.g. Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis) and Chinese windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei), to withstand the increased year-round temperatures.

Gardeners in the area will also be able to opt for more Mediterranean plants and even tropical varieties of plants as a result of the rising temperatures across the UK. Tony Hall, head of arboretum, gardens and horticulture services at Royal Botanical Gardens, suggests that palms such as the Canary Island Date Palm, pomegranates and some hardy bananas such as the species Musa basjoo can now be grown outdoors in London; and this could quite quickly become the norm across the South and East of England within a few years.

 

Extended Growing Seasons

According to the findings of Gov UK, the UK is already experiencing an extended growing season, with the growing season across the UK being an estimated “29 days longer” than figures seen between 1961-1990. At present, the growing season is around 280 days, but this could extend even further in the future.

Warmer temperatures could lead to a continued extended growing season, which will allow for the cultivation of plants that were previously unsustainable in the region without the aid of a greenhouse.

It’s also worth mentioning that there is likely to be an increased push for people to invest in a greenhouse for their garden, as they are a great way to increase carbon sequestration. Essentially, plants inside greenhouses can absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, and when managed sustainably, this can help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, especially in larger-scale greenhouses.

 

Lawns

We may have to say goodbye to our green lawns, with rising temperatures impacting our ability to keep the luscious green lawns we are all accustomed to. The future for lawns looks a little bleak, with the rising temperatures we are seeing in East Anglia leading to an ever-increasing need to water our grass earlier and later in the year than usual. In the not-too-distant future, there’s a very high chance that watering our gardens all year round will become the norm, with the increasing temperatures making it increasingly difficult to keep our lawns in good condition.

We are already seeing that many people around the UK need to mow their lawns more often due to earlier than expected, and quicker growth. The below graphs show how more and more people are seeing the need to mow their lawn much later in Autumn than before, and also earlier in the year during the Spring months.

Graphs for east anglian garden of the future

Source: https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/pdf/RHS-Gardening-in-a-Changing-Climate-Report.pdf

Along with this, it’s also worth mentioning that artificial lawns might not be the answer to all of our lawn issues, as they are prone to issues and degrade at an accelerated rate when in direct and strong sunlight for too long. They perform best in partially shaded areas, and this isn’t always possible, especially in larger gardens.

There’s no doubt that the climate emergency will have a significant impact on the way we garden in the future, and you must begin taking action now, as we are already seeing real effects of climate change in the UK each year. Futureproofing your garden will enable your plants and lawns to continue thriving for years to come!

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