Climate Change in the Garden?
Can it be spring in December?
I’m used to the climate being a bit weird on the Isle of Man. It never really gets too warm and it never really gets too cold. It’s the Goldilocks of climates and it confuses not just people but sometimes plants.
This week is a little different though — I’ve not only found many of my spring bulbs growing but strawberries ripening. I’ve also been leaving the windows and doors open to freshen up the house and walking around with no coat on. It really is that warm even though the sun hanging low in the sky tells us it’s still December.
It’s such a bizarre thing to imagine — our climate changing before our eyes. Each of us generally only measures the effects from our own back garden and community and when six feet of snow dumps some scoff at the idea of ‘Global Warming’.
Climate change is so much more complex than that though. It’s the increasing storms, the droughts, the polar vortexes, and of course the soaring summer temperatures. Whether you believe it or not, it’s happening. I bet that by now you can see strange things happening in your own garden too.
Spring leaves on Geraniums
Some other signs of confused plants and flowers here in my garden are the green leaves on my rescue Geraniums. This pot of flowers was abandoned at the house when I moved in and it’s never really done that well since. Somehow in the past few weeks it’s sprung into life. I’ve never seen more leaves on it than it has now and it’s opening pink blossoms although it’s stood outside. The bulbs and strawberries were weird enough but this is hands-down bizarre.
Another plant that thinks it’s spring is a herby-shrub I was given six weeks ago. Every time you brush the leaves of this Blackcurrant Sage you can smell the intense fruity scent of the summer berries it was named for.
It was woody when I brought it home so I recently gave it a haircut to prepare it for spring. I didn’t really expect it to start growing more leaves in December though! A lot of the new growth is down at the bottom and I can only suspect that the mild temperatures and its proximity to the house keeps it warm enough to grow. The plant does come from South America though and prefers a much warmer climate — that says it all really.
Still waiting on the garlic though
At least my garlic knows that it’s still December. The cloves are beginning to grow roots but have still to show any sign of greens. It will be early in the year that I’m expecting to see their tenacious shoots and if it’s any earlier than that I’ll be adding them onto my weird-climate list.
It’s overwhelming to think about massive shifts in the planet when all you want to do is live and thrive and grow a few vegetables. We can all just do our best to keep our own environmental impact down and to adapt to the changes as we face them. Still, I find the changes that I see alarming and feel helpless to do much — do you feel the same?
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