18 Apr

Global warming brings taste of Med to gardens

ISLINGTON gardens are starting to resemble shady Italian olive groves as hundreds of gardeners buy Mediterranean plants to cope with the warmer climate.

With the borough already sweltering in one of the hottest Aprils on record, garden shops are making bumper sales of olive trees, phoenix palms and Mediterranean herbs.

The hardy plants will be better able to cope with the roasting weather expected this summer and need watering less often than traditional British species.

North One Garden Centre in Englefield Road, Islington, has sold approximately 105 of the £40 trees this year – a rate of seven a week. Louise Alhadeff said: “We are constantly having to restock. Once you weren’t able to keep olive trees outside – but now they survive all year round. Is this global warming? Who knows?

“Another good thing about olive trees is they don’t need to be watered as much as British plants. We are all busy people and we can’t spend all day watering plants. The scientists are predicting the hottest summer yet and people are having to change the way they garden. People know olive trees won’t be dying on them.”

BBC Gardeners World presenter Joe Swift owns Islington-based bespoke garden designers Modular Garden. He said: “The dryer climate means we are using more and more palms, olives and rosemary.

“North African and Mediterranean plants are much more able to cope. Olives are incredibly popular – they are perfect for Islington gardens. All gardeners have to move with the times and some of these plants are incredibly useful and low maintenance.”

Chris Tyrimos, who runs a garden shop in Caledonian Road, Islington, said: “For the last three years we have been selling loads of olive trees. It’s because of the climate change. I can’t say how many we are selling – it is a trade secret.”

Even the council seem to be getting in on the act – two olive trees are due to be planted in Pleasant Place, Islington, on April 21.

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