This summer was a particularly difficult season for many traditional gardeners throughout the highlands. Being the fourth warmest summer on record along with a very dry winter/spring. Extreme temperatures were experienced this summer with January having 11 days above 30 and February 8 days. After an exceptional start last Autumn (311mm of rain received in March) we had only 40% of our average rainfall from April to December. Heatwaves combined with dry conditions made traditional gardening a struggle to keep water up to exotic plants.
Numerous reports were received about bores in the area drying up with many large gardens that to relied upon bore water required water to be trucked in to keep them alive.
Despite these extreme climatic conditions, Wariapendi’s planting team continued planting throughout the summer months with great success. As one happy client commented in regards to a planting undertaken by Wariapendi before Christmas, “Jeff and I have been so happy with your design and plant choices especially as we walk around the area and see other householders watering their english gardens every second day. Our garden is looking fantastic despite the brutal summer.”
As climate change continues to strengthen its grip, summers will become increasingly more difficult for those with exotic gardens. To look on the bright side (if there is a bright side to climate change) extreme summers bring many new clients to Wariapendi wanting to transform their high use water gardens to water wise gardens. As more and more exotic plants are replaced with native plants the more our natural environment and biodiversity will be enhanced within out towns and surrounding country side.
This week on TV ABC’s Four Corners (currently available on ABC iView here) had a most informative program which reported that climate change is definitely upon us. As we humans have a responsibility to future generations to make changes in our lifestyles and practices to provide for a sustainable future. Climate change is no longer theoretical it is here now. The content of the program had a strong focus on how many people have begun changing their practices to cope with fluctuating and erratic weather patterns. Adaptation is paramount to mitigating the effects of climate change. There was a strong focus on water usage strategies.
There are many small changes and strategies we can put into place in our lives to work towards a more sustainable future. How we use and store water is critical. Increased focus on drought and heat tolerant plants will be necessary especially food production.
Simple strategies we can employ to mitigate the impact of climate change include:
- Rely on and promote the use of renewable energies
- Reduce energy consumption that relies on non-renewable sources for its production
- Make use of hardier plants that will survive climate stresses to provide increased shade and shelter
- Design gardens and buildings to mitigate the impact of heatwaves on all life (human, wildlife, livestock, marine, and plants)
- If you have the land, plant woodlots to create carbon sinks
- Use water wisely
- Protect and enhance our water storage facilities to reduce evaporation and prevent algal blooms
- Reduce waste and recycle – avoid using single use products that are un-recyclable
- Avoid over consumption – seek the simple pleasures of life