About Growing the Unusual for Our Climate, it is All About Pushing Boundaries.

There I must say one thing, it is that the weather changes all the time and it is not just merely seasonal, sometimes it is totally unpredictable or close to not be so, and a lot of us do remember the Weather forecast of Michael Fish in October 1987, and the hurricane which caught us during the night totally unprepared. I was eleven at the time, and a well like neighbour, an old lady tried to save her plants from her balcony to put them indoors in the middle of the night. It was so sad she passed away having received a flying tile upon her head. 

The fact is at any time we can receive the bitter end of the stick weather wise. We can plan around the seasons, yes, but up to a cetain limit. Weather forecasting is a little better nowadays but it does not prevent a tree to fall or else a death to happen underneath one. This February 2022 we were plagued by a couple of storms during the space of a week. Storm Eunice did send our bins flying across the street, a solid brick wall fell in the close, and our flower pots did have to be collected all around the garden for a good tidying up afterwards. Our roof had to be repaired because we had to live with lots of buckets for a while afterwards because it was leacking in multiple areas. But then we were not the ones worst off. Four People died during that storm in the Uk.


I remember that we took our trees, that we could take inside, the ones in pots about a week before the storms: The Olive Tree and the twenty years old Lemon Tree and as many plants as we could provide shelter to in the old small office. We saved almost all our roses but two: 'Remember Me' looks as dead as a dodo and 'Rachel Louise Moran' Rose is no longer with us. Having repotted 'Remember Me' we hope that with a good pruning it will perk up next year.

Raindrop on Roses.jpg

Our Roses 'Remember Me ' under a rainy day back in the days, almost a decade ago. If an English Rose can't make it any longer on its native soil it will be devastating for us like it did with the 'Rachel Louise Moran'.

So if native species, or long term species can't cope with climate change how will the unusual species will fair as well... Of course I spoke about extreme circumstances but this is it we have to think about them nonetheless and not just about the seasons. But there is a just middle to attain which is knowing a little more about the plant itself and what it is able to cope with. I have a little anecdote to share with you all, it is about my Olive Tree which is about 12 years old now. 

Our First Olive 2019.JPG

My Olive tree first Olive in 2019.

The story of the Olive tree is fairly simple. I do like growing plants which are not ment for a British weather or what our assumptions or other's assumptions are of the British weather: It rains all the time: Entirely false. My own mother upseted me one day over a trivial matter, she demanded of me to come back to France, when I was very perfectly happy in England having my own life. She threw the ball that I would never see any lemon grow in the British Isles. To make the point I planted a Lemon pip and truth to behold it grew and it never did a Lemon up until I was first published in 2014. It took the tree about 16 years to come into fruition but it did, the same time as I did properly. Smile. I won the challenge of the Lemon Tree: From pip as well which makes it ten time sweeter for me. That tree grew into maturity with me as per say, from bedroom, to flatshare, to studio to one bedroom flat, to sharing a house then to have somewhere I can call home.

Lemon Tree in the house.JPG

My very first Lemon in 2014, the year of my first book being published. We arrived together. I felt vindicted.

To go back to the Olive tree, I got it because it was just pay day, Mother's day was over and done with therefore lots of pretty plants like Bay trees, Olive trees, Jasmine, Honeysuckle and mini Roses were at bargain price at M&S.  I went for the Olive tree. It sounded Mediterranean and I would, or could have a double whammer with my Mum by proving her that the British's way life wasn't all bad whatsoever. She has lots of prejudices. So I meant to have my own Olives. However thinking that I saw a thriving Olive tree in a pub terrace in Highbury and Islington Corner was different from achieving the same thing with my 30 centimetres high Olive Tree. I did mother cotton wooled that tree for years with no fruition whatsoever. The Olive Tree stayed indoors all year round so it would not catch a 'tree cold' or a case of cold roots, frozen feet. But then came the light bulb moment when Monty Don who did buy an Olive tree in 2017, explained that Olive trees were perfectly happy outside apart when it reached temperatures of minus ten which we do have rarely. But also that Olive trees needed to feel a Winter in order to be fruitful the following year. I tried the tip and it did work. My Med tree did its first Olive and a few more in 2019 and every year since then. The conclusion of this exemple is to know your plant and to not assume what they can't cope with if they happen to be numerous in warm, hot or arid weather as well as cold to very cold. Any plant have a threshold and do get to find out about it because you will be surprised of what you can grow successfully.

Echeveria blossoming 2022.jpg

The blossoming Echevaria. (2022)