The UK growing season for plants is longer than at any time since records began in 1772 extending the range of flowers and vegetables that can be grown successfully in the UK.
Six of the ten longest growing seasons have also occurred within the last 30 years
During the last 10 years the ‘plant’ growing season, according to the Central England Temperature (CET) record, has been on average 29 days longer than the reference climatology period 1961-1990, according to Met Office figures released on World Meteorological Day [23 March, 2016].
The increase in growing season length is largely due to the earlier onset of spring, warmer temperatures into late Autumn and the reduction of regular frosts in the winter.
The earliest start of the thermal growing season was in 2002 when it began on 13 January. The longest growing season in the 240-year series was 330 days, in 2000. The shortest growing season was 181 days in 1782 and 1859. In 2012 the thermal growing season was 282 days, up from 279 days in 2011 and above the 1961-1990 average of 252 days.
Predictions are that the growing season could lengthen by a further two months by 2050 . In some southern areas , the growing season may even run continuously all through the year.
The effects of climate change on gardens in the UK will be challenging, but there is a silver lining – we might be able to grow a different range of plants and flowers – what an exciting future for UK gardeners!