With the publication of the RHS Gardening in a Changing Climate report raises questions on what will grow well in future british gardens.
Here we launch a survey of which palms are currently grown outside in the UK to get an idea of how well they are succeeding and whether any might later become established in semi-natural environments.
The Daily Mail reported “Palm trees, fake lawns… and no weeding!” while the Express says “Today’s publication of Gardening in a Changing Climate, produced by the Royal Horticultural Society in collaboration with the Universities of Reading, Sheffield and Coventry and with input from Met Office experts, will trouble the nation’s estimated 27 million gardeners.“
Palms are becoming increasingly popular with British gardeners due to their exotic appearance and increasing availability at affordable prices. However, there are limited data available regarding the species that are currently being grown outside in the UK, and where they are growing.
An MSc project this summer aims to produce distribution maps for the most commonly grown species of palm in the UK, using data gathered from a short online questionnaire. These maps will be made available online to guide people on the range of palms that may be grown in their area. The questionnaire is also designed to gain an insight into the species that are producing viable seeds, and if they are self-seeding within British gardens. Research has shown that Trachycarpus fortunei, the palm most frequently grown in the UK, is becoming naturalised in an area of Switzerland with a similar climate to the UK.
Using current models of climate change for the UK, we hope to gain a greater understanding of whether this might happen in the UK during the next few decades. Several palm species are new to cultivation in the UK and are already succeeding in mild areas.
Images from Torquay Palms on Flikr CC BY-SA 2.0