We could be in for Heatwave 2019. Rumour has it we might be in for another scorcher of a summer, with a 50/50 chance of a 'Spanish Plume' between May and July.
A 'Spanish Plume' is a warm weather pattern, with hot air originating in Spain brought over to Northern Europe via the Sahara desert. It usually results in higher than average summer temperatures and dry weather conditions – the summer of 2018 was a prime example.
While there's no guarantee that we'll have a similar long-lasting heatwave this summer, the Met Office prognosis is currently that there is a higher than average chance that we'll see hot weather for several consecutive days periodically in the three-month period between May and July. Sadly, though, it won't be this coming Bank Holiday, with temperatures expected to stay in the teens.
If another heatwave were to occur, it would be great news for staycation holidaymakers, but worrying news for our gardens.
Grass in particular is still recovering from last year's heatwave across the UK, and another dry summer would damage lawns and meadows further. That means gardeners will need to be gentle with their grass this year, avoiding cutting it too short, and never mowing the lawn at lunchtime, for example.
Gardeners will need to water all plants regularly, too, even when the weather isn't hot: plants that have been watered consistently are healthier and more resilient during extreme weather conditions. That, of course, though will put a strain on our reservoirs and result in hosepipe bans.
Wildlife would also suffer from another bout of hot weather, and – regardless of what the summer will bring – more of us will need to look at making gardens wildlife friendly by providing water bowls and veggies (or cat food) for hedgehogs, a bee hotel for the bees, and creating shady spots for frogs, newts, and birds to get a respite from the heat.
Time, perhaps for the UK's gardeners to reconsider the way we design our gardens, with drought-friendly, low maintenance plants at the top of any garden shopping list for 2019.