Well it looks like 2016 is going to be a great year for Genus. There are lots of exciting developments on the horizon. This week we have been busy visiting the ISPO trade show in Munich. This is an amazing industry show covering sportswear and clothing and which includes hall after hall of fabric manufacturers and performance design companies. We were at the show again looking at the latest innovations in technical fabrics that might help us develop our clothes for gardeners even further. Coming along to the show was pretty essential in the early days of our Genus trouser design process, and our new gardening gilet, and it's important to us that we keep innovating.
Whilst we might think of Germany as a technical and engineering nation, and just the right place to source the latest specialist materials, outside of the exhibition hall, it was interesting to notice that Germany is a gardening nation too. The magazine racks were stuffed full of publications aimed at a wide range of gardeners, from the organic gardener, to the smallholder, the garden designer and the first timer.
Innovation and technical excellence seems to continue as a gardening theme too! For example, Berlin will be hosting the International Garden Festival again from April to October 2017. Centred on the Gardens of the World website, the IGF will add more gardens to the site including the re-creation of an English garden. Quite a technical and engineering feat. The international festival will also be exhibiting new and contemporary approaches to urban park and green space designs. All very interesting for gardeners working at very large municipal scales as well as at more domestic levels.
The British winter this year has been warm as well as wet. October, November and December have all been unseasonably warm. October was around 0.5 degrees warmer and was also a drier than average month, but November and December broke records for temperature and rainfall. Some parts of the country experienced 200% of average rainfall, with November temperatures being 2 degrees above average and December 6 degrees warmer than average, and in Central England the warmest since records began in 1659. Remarkably the Met Office did not record any frosts in England and Wales through the whole month of December.
The effect on gardens has been very noticeable. In many areas of the country the sound of mowers has continued through November and December as grass has continued to grow. In other areas Spring flowers have come into bloom months early. There have been reports and pictures of daffodils in December in London, Windsor, Cheshire and even Lancashire. Kew’s Wakehurst Place has seen carpets of Spring flowers up to two months earlier than last year, over eighty flowering varieties including crocuses, camellias and rhododendrons. At Kew gardens in London the magnolias are in full bloom, also a few months early. The RHS Chief Gardener told the Independent newspaper that “There is nothing we can do about the weather, but on the other hand, it is nice to be able to get on and do things in the garden without having to put on heavy jackets and thick gloves and so on.”
Whilst this mild weather might present us with the chance to get out there and garden, this out of season flowering feels rather uncomfortable. The effect of not having these flowers available to insects when they start getting busy again later in the Spring remains to be seen. Here in the Genus garden we may also need to think about what we can do to fill the spaces in our Spring displays.