... Keeping up with climate change
We're all concerned what climate change will mean to us: could we overwinter our tender plants with impunity; might our spring daffodils disappear; what's the best way to look after our garden in times of drought; and a host of other questions yet to be answered definitively.
The National Trust is trying to find some of the answers. Nymans garden in particular is in the forefront of adopting greener gardening techniques: for example, they've found that by using a fungus inoculant at the time of planting up the borders, watering can be reduced to just four times from May to October without affecting the summer display. Remarkably this result was achieved during the hot summer of 2006 and an added benefit was a reduction in aphid infestation. The Head Gardener - Ed Ikin - believes this is because the plants' growth was more compact and lacking in the soft, sappy stems so attractive to this garden pest.
One of the perks of volunteering at the Trust's HQ in Swindon is not only do I get to hear about what's going on at gardens like Nymans, I also sometimes get a scoop on a major announcement - like last year's Phytophthora story for instance. Today I can exclusively reveal the Trust is actively considering how the charity's image needs to change once global warming takes hold. An exciting young Spanish designer - Pilar Lofo - has been bought in to update the traditional oak leaf and acorn design (see top picture) into something more suited to our projected hotter climes. Eight possibilities are under consideration, with the logo on the left the most extreme. Others include variations on stylised palm trees, hostas and the kind of lush tropical foliage which may be adorning more of our gardens in the future.
Public consultation will be included as part of this exercise, so you will have a chance to have your say on the matter. However, the poor weather over the past two summers, plus concerns over the projected costs of the change (possibly millions of pounds) and how the credit crunch might affect the National Trust's income means the project has been put on hold for the next financial year. I'll keep you posted on any further news.
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I confess: The logo changing story is utter twaddle. Up until that point the rest was absolutely true - even the fungus story. Congratulations to Joanna for being first to spot the April Fool ;)