Gardeners to get new mild winter blackcurrants

As with a number of fruits, blackcurrants often need a period of low temperature in winter in order to grow properly in summer.

However, Brits could soon get their hands on seeds for varieties that do not need such a chilling, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) revealed.

GlaxoSmithKline recently funded a Scottish Crops Research Institute study into blackcurrant growth which suggested that certain varieties could still flourish after a mild winter.

Species such as Ben Vane and Ben Klibrick are currently only available to commercial growers but it is understood that other similar varieties are in development with a view to being released to the general public.

Meanwhile, Chris Atkinson, head of science at East Malling Research, suggested that it may be beneficial to investigate how fruit will cope with the recent harsh winter.

The RHS recently reported that a survey of the UKs garden ponds found that just one in ten was living up to its potential as a habitat for animals.