Plants for a warming climate

Our weather has been warming considerably over the last 60+ year. A lot of that warming has been in winter, with some in summer too.

Warming winters means less winter cold. Most fruit trees need a certain amount of winter cold before they flower properly and full in spring, and the right amount of winter cold is one of the things that makes trees well asapted to a particular locality.

Apples in particular need quite a lot of cold and in the south of Britain we’ve lost about half of our winter chilling hours (hours under 7 C) in the last 60 years. This mean that we should probably be looking further south for apple varieties to plant now, rather than traditional local types that were selected maybe 100 years ago when there was a different climate. 

In 2023 we started propagating a wide range of French apples varieties from Western France (Brittany to the Pyrenees) which we think have great potential here. We only have a few trees available in 2023 but will be propagating more in future years. The new varieties include:

Api Noir
Api Rose
Belle de Pointoise
Belle de Tours
Belle Ente
Belle-Fille Normande
Bonne Hotture
Bouet de Bonnetable

Calville Blanc d’Hiver
Calville des Femmes
Calville Rouge d’Hiver 
De Jaune
Fenouillet de Ribours
Fenouillet Gris

Gros Api
Gros Locard
Pepin de Bourgueil
Reinette Clochard
Reinette d’Amorique
Reinette du Canada
Reinette Grise du Canada 
Reinette Verte

Rose de Benauge
Saint Benoit

Warming summers mean that some fruits will now ripen (in some years anyway) which previously only ripened in very exceptional summers or very hot sites. These include Pineapple guavas, Persimmons,  Warmer-climate grapes, Kiwi fruits and more. Olives and pomegranates will often survive our winters in good health now and have good potential for the future.

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