UK Gardens Experience Second Spring
white and yellow flowers during daytime
Photo by Eilis Garvey on Unsplash

UK Gardens Experience 'Second Spring'

Ellen Knight November 28, 2022

Horticultural experts say that garden plants in the UK are going into a ‘second spring’ due to the relatively high temperatures this November.

This month has been 2.2 degrees Celcius warmer than the average November, the Met Office says.

Royal Horticultural Society senior advisor, Nikki Barker, told the BBC that the mild weather has meant that some flowers and plants are still blooming.

She said: ‘Things we’d expect to flower into October, like fuchsias and salvias, are still flowering now and show no signs of stopping.

‘Roses are putting on new buds and they’re still producing, so it is quite a considerable extension to the flowering season.’

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Photo by Valeria Bold on Unsplash

‘Extreme weather events’

The warmer, rainy weather this month has created ideal conditions for plants to continue to flower.

Ms Barker explained that this summer’s hot weather meant that ‘lots of plants became dormant like they would in winter, but they were doing it in the summer because it was too hot.

‘We’ve had a lot of rain this month, and it’s been very mild, so it’s produced lots of new growth.’

However, this could have a negative impact as we move into the next year, when spring ‘should’ be.

Ms Barker told the BBC that this may result in delayed flowering in spring 2023.

‘Some plants are using a lot of resources now, so they may flower later next year,’ she said.

‘If things become out of kilter when they flower, the things that feed off them like insects are thrown out of kilter, and blue tits feed on insects early in the year. It has the potential to disrupt a lot of life cycles.

‘Extreme weather events are becoming more common. We may not know the effects of them for several years.’

‘Initially warmly welcomed’

This is part of a wider trend of climate change altering what grows when in our gardens.

Record-breaking temperatures this summer saw plants like avocados and figs growing in UK gardens, the BBC reported at the time.

Speaking to the BBC at the time, Chris Atkinson, a plant scientist from the University of Greenwich, said that ‘long summers may well be initially warmly welcomed in the UK, and provide an exciting opportunity for growing new exotic food crops,’ but warned that droughts like those seen this summer could pose a serious issue for growing other crops.

UK gardens having a second spring is good for our mental health as we continue to see signs of brighter days.

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Ellen is a freelance journalist studying MA Broadcast Journalism at Cardiff University. Her work has appeared in publications such as Teen Vogue and Al Jazeera, and tends to focus on politics and current affairs. Her involvement in student radio station Burn FM lead to an interview she conducted winning Student Radio Moment of the Year in 2022. She has been writing for Freshered since February 2022. You can follow her on Twitter @ellenmjknight