Plants bloom early at Edinburgh’s Botanics owing to warm weather

Rhododendrons at the Royal Botanic Garden. Picture: Contributed
Rhododendrons at the Royal Botanic Garden. Picture: Contributed
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Higher-than-average temperatures have ensured early flowering at the Botanics this year.

Rhododendrons have come into bloom earlier than expected owing to one of the warmest February months on record.

David Knott, curator at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, a world centre for Rhododendron studies, said: “The warmer temperatures we have been experiencing provide optimum conditions for these exotic shrubs, originally from the east, to thrive.

“The unusual weather and early flowering also highlight the impact of climate change on plants and flowering behaviour - a situation we will continue to monitor at the Botanics.”

In February, the Met Office reported an average temperature of 6C in the UK, which is 2.4C above the 1981-2010 long-term average. A southerly incursion from north Africa brought record-breaking temperatures and dry sunny weather throughout most parts of the country in the latter half of the month.

The Botanics will be taking part in the Scottish Rhododendron Festival from April 1 to May 31 as more than 50 events take place in gardens, estates and woodlands across the country.

The Garden will be offering walks throughout the festival among its 72 acres, which includes a world-leading collection of rhododendrons.

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