It's time in these series to talk about hot and dry weather.

Effects of climate change and weather on garden plants

June 2018
It is mid June, and over the last 6 weeks I can only recall a handful of days when rain fell in my local area. It wasn't the same all over the country of course - the West Midlands had torrential heavy rain and thunderstorms towards the end of May. Whether or not this unusual spell is down to long-term trends due to climate change, or simply an example of the normal range of UK weather patterns, is anybody's guess.

Cloudless sunny days have benefited many of our favourite garden plants. The roses in my garden in South-facing borders are glorious, perhaps the best they have ever been. Continuous days of direct sunshine has ripened the wood and produced an enormous quantity of superb quality blooms. Lack of humidity has so far kept the dreaded rose black-spot at bay.

There is a smaller crop of apples this year, probably due to the late onset of spring, but I have a feeling that the fruit will be high quality and deliciously sweet.
Warmer than usual evenings have helped our night-scented plants to pump out glorious perfumes into the night air - sweet rocket, wisteria, native honeysuckle and jasmine have been a joy. Lavender releases clouds of scent if lightly brushed during the day.

There is a down-side of course - increased watering, more biting insects, and a brown lawn. If the dry spell continues we will soon see garden plants suffering from drought and perhaps a few deaths. Some pests and diseases will thrive in the super-warm weather: every Viburnum tinus seems to have been severely attacked by Viburnum beetle - even the blackbird family nesting in mine has left for a new site!

Last year, June was sweltering and dry too, but it started raining the day after the kids broke up for the summer, and the sun vanished for 6 weeks (am I exaggerating?). It remains to be seen if the same thing will happen this year - but just in case, here's a tip: if you have room for only one rose in your garden, make sure it is planted in a south facing border, preferably in front of a warm wall.

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