We need to see things differently as we act to future-proof Torbay’s parks and gardens

Graham Stephenson and community volunteers helping plant drought-tolerant plants

Graham Stephenson and community volunteers at the entrance to Beacon Cove helping plant drought-tolerant plants grown as part of the Sustainable Growing project started by Tim Eley - Credit: Groundwork South

The first frost of the season has been and gone in South Devon.

What was just a chilly start to the day for most may have been a morning of waking up to concern for gardeners, as they worried about any damage more delicate plants may have suffered. 

A little further north, in Glasgow, those attending the Cop26 summit probably weren’t worrying about frosts despite Scotland being a bit cooler than Torbay. 

What they are concerned about is how to deal with the climate emergency, as are millions of people around the world. 

Yet, while much of the conversation is about reducing emissions and limiting activities that contribute to global climate change, those attending the summit are also considering how to address impacts already being felt. 

Here in the South West we are experiencing wetter winters and higher summer temperatures and we know that green spaces can help us adapt to these changes, but this knowledge comes with questions…

With increased pressure on natural resources, how will use of more drought-tolerant plants change the appearance of Tessier Gardens?

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What trees should we be looking to plant as part of the Tree Warden Scheme and how will using species that will thrive in the predicted warmer climate change the landscape around the Bay? 

With the hotter summer temperatures anticipated, leaving grass longer through drier periods will reduce unsightly brown areas of turf and benefit wildlife, but what will changing practices such as this mean for budgets and resource planning for councils and communities? 

Warmer temperatures may result in a shift towards more outdoor recreation and tourism, increasing pressure on spaces like King George V Playing Fields.

Princess Gardens, Torquay

Do we need to rethink our ideas and expectations about neat flower beds and mown grass for green spaces if they are to help us adapt to climate change? - Credit: Groundwork South

Does this mean providing alternative spaces for exercise and socialising? 

The solutions that will ensure our green spaces contribute towards reducing the impacts of climate change do exist, but we need to be prepared to do and see things differently as we act to future-proof Torbay’s parks, gardens, and more.

To find out more about how you can get involved in caring for Torbay Green Spaces, please contact Hannah Worthington on 07940510616 or email hannah.worthington@groundwork.org.uk