ADJUST DATES TO YOUR TOWN
First, click on your country below:
|IRELAND (N. & S.)|
After you have set your frost date, check it out by looking near the top right of any page in GardenFocused. If it’s set correctly then you know we have set all dates to suit your area.
Occasionally your settings can get lost over time although this is unusual. If this happens then simply return to this page, select your country and reset your town.
Below we define “last frost date” as used in this website and the effects it has on your growing conditions.
There is no clear definition of what a “last frost date” is and this explains why dates can differ by a week or two for the same location. Our “last frost dates” are designed to be a practical guide for gardeners. They have been researched to be correct in six out of every seven years. Occasionally a late frost will occur and in several years the last frost date will be slightly earlier.
Other sources may define the “last frost date” as the average date. This means that, on average, in half of the years the last frost will occur after the given date and in the other half of the years the last frost will occur before the given date. We don’t believe this is the best estimate for gardeners because in half the years your tender plants, if outside, will be damaged or killed by frost.
Another definition gives the last frost date as the last recorded frost date for a given location over a much longer period, in some cases the last frost date ever recorded. Using this definition will give you a date that is far too late for practical gardening purposes in almost all years.
A final complication is the span of dates given. Our dates refer to a specific week, other sources may refer to a time span of two or three weeks. Other sources may simply refer to a month which is not particularly helpful for gardeners.
MORE ABOUT THE EFFECTS OF FROST IN YOUR GARDEN
At the end of this page we have begun compiling a list of recent weather predictions for the UK in winter, most of which turned out to be a whole pile of sensation seeking rubbish! Read this article to the end and see those predictions. We will add to them in the future.
Weather affects the plants in your garden in many ways. Possibly one of the most obvious is the effect of a late frost on tender plants and vegetables – it can kill them overnight. The more you know about the weather in your area, the better chance you have of raising healthy plants. This article examines how frost forms, where it forms and how the effects can be minimised. Towards the middle of this page is a map of England, Scotland and Wales which attempts to identify the last frost date in your area.
It’s easy to confuse the effects of the last frost date and the lowest average temperature on the plants in your garden. In general terms the last frost date will effect when you can plant tender, annual plants and vegetables. The lowest average temperature however will effect which types of non-annual plants you can grow in your garden. For example, if the last frost in your garden is late spring, you will be able to plant out tomato plants a week or so later.
If the same garden has a lowest average temperature of -15°C / 32°F then some shrubs will be killed by that lowest temperature because, although they are frost hardy, they are not fully hardy. An example of such a shrub is Cistus. So it is easily possible that your garden is ideal for growing annual tomatoes but is not suitable for growing shrubs which are only partially frost hardy.
When using the map above be aware that the last frost date can vary quite significantly even in the same town. Factors which can affect the last frost date include slopes and hills, nearby presence of large bodies of water and others. The frost dates associated with each town above are generally accurate in six out of seven years but occasionally a late frost can catch even the experts out. However what is is very clear is that different parts of the UK do have very different last frost dates, a fact which most gardening websites and books simply ignore. This site attempts to address this problem by asking you where you live and then adjusting all dates to match the likely weather conditions in your area.
UK WEATHER PREDICTIONS
PREDICTION 1 – The Daily Express November 26th 2014.
“WEATHER forecasters have in the past few hours issued the terrifying warning that devastating snowstorms which crippled parts of America will rip into Britain IN DAYS …….. A set of freak circumstances will collide to trigger a perfect storm of conditions capable of sparking a near NATIONWIDE whiteout.
The weather over the next two weeks was about average with only average snowfalls in the North of England and Scotland. Our rating of this prediction 0 / 10.
PREDICTION 2 – The Mirror October 29th 2014
“And that could mean the gates are open to a freezing influx of air that could engulf the UK – similar to what happened in 1947 when average temperatures plummeted to -2.7C. The worst of the weather is predicted to arrive around the middle of November and could again mean nightmare travelling conditions on the roads and chaos at British airports.
The UK weather in November 2014 was about average. Our rating of this prediction 0 / 10.
PREDICTION 3 – The Daily Mail January 8th 2017
“Look what’s heading our way! Britain to shiver from Arctic blast with four inches of snow and minus 10C temperatures as deep freeze grips Europe
Let’s see what happens over the next few days. Our guess is that temperatures for early to mid January will be about normal – but then we are a bit cynical about these things.
January 11th – lowest UK minimum temperature +1.1C in Dalwhinnie (average January low in Dalwhinnie is -3.1C).
January 12th – the Daily Mail publishes this headline:
‘There’s snow in Fife – quick, cancel flights at Heathrow!’ Airport bosses are slammed for axeing 80 flights before whiteout arrives’.
The Met Office issued only “Be Aware” weather warnings, no “Be Prepared” or “Take Action” warnings were issued today.
January 13th – the snow failed to arrive except for a few flurries in Northern areas. The surpise was that the forecast on the 8th totally misread some really bad weather. Floods in the east of England which led to several villages in the area being evacuated. Even the floods did not materialise sufficiently to cause any problems.
Our rating of this prediction minus 2 / 10!
PREDICTION 4 – The Daily Mail June 13th 2017
“Britain braces itself for month-long heat wave as temperatures soar to 82F with giant jellyfish invading and hay fever victims set to suffer”
Well, we don’t even need to wait to see what happens because the quoted Met Office actually says this about the next four weeks:
“At the end of this weekend we will probably see a north – south spilt in the weather. Dry and warm, or locally hot, conditions are likely to continue in the south including a good deal of sunshine at times, with light winds. Further north, cloud, rain or showers and stronger winds are more likely at times, especially in the northwest, but also some dry and brighter spells. Confidence is currently low from next Tuesday, until the end of the period. Conditions will probably remain settled for most of us at first, but there are signs of more cloud, rain and showers later in the week, especially in the northwest, perhaps with some thunderstorms in the south. However, it will probably stay fairly warm, but become cooler with time.”
What planet is the Daily Mail on?
Our rating of this prediction 4 / 10 – the warm weather did appear but for the vast majority of the UK it went away just over a week later. See also the next tabloid prediction which gives a very big lie to the “month-long heat wave”.
The Daily Mail 22 June 2107
“Here comes the RAIN: Record-breaking June heat wave is cut short as storms roll in across Britain amid warnings of torrential downpours and even hailstones”.
It didn’t happen. The weather was relatively dry over most of the UK.
Our Rating of this prediction 0 / 10.
PREDICTION 6 The Daily Mail 13 November 2107
“First SNOW of winter will fall in southern Britain this weekend – as homeowners are warned plunging temperatures will see thousands of venomous false widow spiders seeking shelter in our warm houses “.
It’s always good when the newspapers start mentioning vaguely specific areas like southern Britain. I’ll report back in a couple of days if the snow appeared. And if the predicted invasion of enomous false spiders happens you can be sure the Daily Mail will report it. Let’s wait and see!