Which perennial assortment will withstand climate change in the long term?
Practical exchange of information at the ISU Future Days
(ISU) The world is full of perennial enthusiasts, people who are passionate about perennials and who are passionate about sustainable development. In mid-October, nearly 70 nurserymen, landscape architects, implementers and perennial lovers from 14 corners of Europe came to Prague to join the Future Days, organized by the International Hardy Plant Union (ISU). The first day of the conference was focused on climate change. The first Czech transmitter, Petr Hanzelka, Botanical Garden of Prague, helped to look for plants that could stand better in the upcoming warmer climate than the current ones. He shared with an assortment of Mediterranean and North American prairie plants that he has been testing and observing for a long time both in their natural habitat and in the exhibits of the Botanical Garden in Prague-Troja. Among the very drought-tolerant perennials he named were Aster sericeus, Muhlenbergia capillaris, Allium 'Millenium', and, perhaps surprisingly, Heuchera pulchella. Hanzelkas descriptions became vivid during a later tour of the Botanical Garden with beautifully flowering areas of North American prairie and annual beds planted with Mediterranean perennial species.
James Hitchmough, a professor at the University of Sheffield in Britain, shocked the participants right at the start by saying, "We are all moving towards the equator.... In 2070, Budapest will be climatically on a par with southern Greece today." And what is the answer in the range of plants on offer? James and his PhD students compared the Howard Nurseries and Beth Chatto Nurseries catalogues by the water requirements of the taxa and found that in 30 years - there has been no change in the range! And that's why he says: „Let the site drive the design! Don't push the design onto the site.
To preserve biodiversity, John Little from the United Kingdom suggested using entomologists in the implementation and design of new habitats. He also questioned whether it makes ecological sense to apply topsoil from another site to a planting area. He advised a preference for substrates, emphasizing that a greater variance of materials - from crushed construction debris to sugar industry waste - will bring more habitat and greater biodiversity.
In a short talk of startup companies from the Czech Republic, Jakub Hamata, talked about growing leafy vegetables using waste heat from computers. František Hába from the flower farm Loukykvět showed how they have been organically gardening in Mšecke Žehrovice for 6 years and have succeeded in growing not only annuals and perennials for cutting.
Speakers and organizers of the conference: back, from left: Jakub Hamata, Theo Villier, Frans van Wanrooij, Stan Beekmanns, Sven Straeten, Herbert Vinken, Mirjam Vogt, John Little, František Hába. Front from left: Aad Vollebregt, Tomasz Michalik, Jana Holzbecherová, Nico Rijnbeek. The speakers James Hitchmough and Christoph Hokema are absent.