Famous for its damp, grey skies and low-hanging mist, London is difficult to imagine as a future home to sun-loving citrus and exotic fruit.
At least that was until a Zurich University study found that the impact of global warming could be such, by the middle of the next century, that the climate in the UK's capital could be warm enough to grow fruit like lemons, clementines, mangoes, pomegranates and avocados.
To highlight the effects of climate change, a hothouse reminiscent of a Victorian conservatory has been created at International Quarter in Stratford, as part of the London Design Festival. It houses an array of exotic fruits, which scientists predict could be grown in the capital by 2050.
Speaking of the project, the garden designer Tom Massey says: "The rate at which global warming is happening, you could see avocados growing in Hackney, or mangoes growing in Kensington."
Step inside the hothouse in the BBC video below:
"It is kind of exciting and slightly kind of futuristic thinking about what we could grow, but at the same time it is absolutely terrifying to think that the climate is changing so fast," says Massey.
Crops that will be grown and monitored over the year of the project include guava, orange, gourd, chia seed, avocado, pomegranate, quinoa, mango, sweet potato, lemon, sugarcane, chickpea, loquat and pineapple.Je Ahn from Studio Weave says it's not all meant to be doom and gloom, with the lush garden actually designed to inspire visitors and incite positive change. He tells the Financial Times: “I’m quite obsessed with pineapples. It’s notoriously difficult to grow [them] in the UK.” Pineapples were once so exotic, they could be rented for dinner parties in 19th century London, but soon they might easily be grown there if temperatures continue to rise.
David Attenborough, the English broadcaster, writer, and naturalist, has also highlighted the plight of the planet and global warming in his witness statement, David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet, in a bid to save the planet at a moment when humanity is at what he calls "a crossroads."
The London Design Festival landmark piece, designed by Studio Weave and Tom Massey, is available to visit at Redman Place, International Quarter London, London E20 1JQW until September 2021.