Environment/Garden news No.5

A round-up of Environment/Garden news items which have caught our eye.

Spring forward! Why do we do it?

So we’re about to move our clocks forward an hour (GMT 30th March) – “Daylight saving” – up earlier, (sigh), but lighter evenings as a bonus. But just why do we do it? And why do countries opt in or out at will? Benjamin (“early to bed, early to rise”) Franklin was one of the first to suggest it. During World War I, Germany adopted it to save coal for the war effort. Today, there are arguments for and against the supposed energy savings. There are health benefits cited too – people stay outdoors longer in the evening after work. Other scientists argue that our body clocks – set by light and darkness – cannot make this immediate adjustment leading to “social jet lag”. A Swedish study has noted increased heart attacks in the days following its implementation. Hmm, I struggle a bit but enjoy the lighter evenings for sure. More here.

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“Season creep”

Phenology is the scientific study of animal and plant patterns in relation to climatic changes – “season creep”. The agricultural growing calendar has, on average, been extended by 10 – 20 days over the last 30 years; the arrival of Spring has been estimated to have advanced by 2-3 days per decade over that period. Whilst great to have Spring flowers blooming earlier, the repercussions on wildlife who fail to adapt can be harsh.The term “season creep” was first used by the Policy Director of Clear the Air, who warned “Natural processes are triggered in large part by temperature. As temperatures increase globally, the delicately balanced system falls into ecological disarray”.

March 2014 Belgium 012

Papal Gardens thrown open to the public.

Pope Francis I, has instructed that the gardens of Castel Gandolfo, the Papal summer residence near Rome, should be opened to the public. The Barberini Gardens (below) have spectacular views over Lake Albano. The 30 hectare gardens feature ancient Roman ruins, roses, aromatic herbs and a magnolia garden. More here.

Garden visiting gets underway.

Many Gardens will re-open to the public in the weeks ahead. Some have had to cope with a major clean-up after the extensive winds and flooding this winter in northern Europe. Today, the RHS, will kickstart the season by offering Free Entry today to their gardens at Wisley, Harlow Carr, Rosemoor and Hyde Hall.

Meanwhile,the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew Gardens report record numbers for 2013 – a rise of 29%.

My advice would be, get there early!

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