Climate change and Gardeners

IMG 8160 Beth Chatto Gdn Essex

(C) Howard Drury Beth Chatto's Garden at Elmstead Market, Essex

Climate Change and Gardeners

By Howard Drury


I am now offering a new lecture around the title of Climate Change and Gardeners and as part of my extensive research I have found many items of interest, many very good scientifically backed papers but at the same time a worrying number contain very inaccurate information. Below are links to some better information only. This will be a continuously updated lecture but if you would like to book Howard's new talk on Gardeners and Climate Change click here

Below is a summary of parts of the lecture (For personal use only please!)


Garden Features

Please see lecture

Wetter Winter Problems

Waterlogged soil depleted in oxygen

Ethylene gas is injurious to plants

Waterlogging can induce secondary factors

Can become worse if ground then freezes

Use contouring and high planting

Careful choice of more tolerant plants

Soil cultivation tips and improvement

Choice of Trees

Autumn planting when ground is moist

Trees to suffer Acer palmatum, A. rubrum, Alnus, Betula, Populus, Sorbus, and certain Abies, Larix and Picea spp.

Trees to hold own  Acer platanoides, A. pseudoplatanus, Castanea  sativa,  Pinus  nigra  and  P.  Sylvestris

Better to plant  Carpinus,  Cercis,  Cupressus,  Ginkgo, Gleditsia, Hippophae, Rhamnus, Robinia and Pinus pinea.

Shrubby Stalwarts

Amelanchier, Berberis, Buddleia,  Cotinus, Forsythia, Hypericum, Lavatera, Magnolia stellata, Philadelphus,  Potentilla,  Ribes,  Sambucus,  Spirea,  Viburnum tinus  and  V.  opulus,  as  well  as  climbers  such  as  Clematis montana, Hedera, Lonicera, Parthenocissus and Solanum crispum

Resilient Herbaceous

Resilient  herbaceous  plants  include  Aquilegia,  Aruncus,  Aster, Bergenia, Eupatorium, Euphorbia, Filipendula, Geranium, Helleborus, Hemerocallis, Hesperis, Leucanthemum, Lychnis, Papaver, Persicaria, Salvia, Solidago and Stachys

Re-Cycling, Upcycling, Re-Using

Please see lecture

LED Lighting

Please see lecture

Climate Change Pests and Diseases

Please see lecture

Our Future Food Supplies

Please see lecture

Future UK Climate Predictions

Temperatures across all seasons to rise

Greater warming in summer than winter

Warming greatest in South East

2080 Winters 1-5c warmer Summer 1-6.5C

Increased rainfall in winter

Increase in intensity of rainfall

Most marked in southern England

Climate Change Effects on Our Gardens

Please see lecture

Climate Change and Our Plants

Please see lecture

Gardeners Way Forward

Please see lecture

Changes in Garden Management

An increase in home composting

More sustainable energy sources, Solar powered mowers to replace petrol models

More  targeted use of captured rainfall

Greater restrictions on hosepipes, power washers

Implementation of water efficient drip watering systems

All Pots to be biodegradable or recyclable?

Reduction /banning of peat products

Ethically sourced timber from sustainable sources

Is locally sourced plant material greener?

Peat Alternatives

Vital EarthVital EarthVital Earth (Green waste based) Now branded as Supagrow, not to be confused with Ashwood Nurseries Supagro

Miracle Gro (Green waste / forest waste)

Dalefoot (Wool based)

New Horizon (No green waste)

Bulrush Professional (Including bark & clay) See online retailers for Professional composts

Melcourt SylvaGrow (Forest bark)

John Innes (7:3:2, loam, peat and sand) A national formula made by several compost manufacturers

Hydroponics and LEDs as a way forward

Changes in Garden Styles

Please see lecture

Designing With Changing Climates

Xeriscape gardens

Mediterranean style in Sheffield or Glasgow?

Native style garden design (of interest?) Buddleja davidii, Convallaria majalis, Cotoneaster horizontalis, Euonymus fortunei, Helleborus niger, Prunus  laurocerasus,  P.  lusitanica,  Ribes  nigrum,  Rosa  glauca, R. rugosa, Sedum spectabile and Vinca major.

Grasses and grass gardens

Weather resilient plantings

Managing the water in your garden

Watering key points, which plants should receive water and when for best results

Water Collecting and storage

Lawn care and droughts, putting up with what appears to be dead grass

Vegetable growing in hot, drought conditions

Rain Gardens (planning your garden to soak up excessive rains)

Gravel Gardens such as seen at Beth Chatto's garden in Essex

Drought resistant gardening principles and techniques

Drought resistant plants

RHS Climate Report includes guidance on:

Greening your living space

Growing a diverse plant range in your garden for the benefit of all

New ways of gardening such as roof and vertical gardening

Careful water management (neutral)

Composting wherever possible

Adopt the 4 R’s, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Reinvest

Avoid where possible, the use of all chemicals, including pesticides and fertilizers

Manage any possible invasive garden plants

Links and Further Information

Bogs Not Bags

This is the RHS catchphrase on this important subject

Climate Friendly Gardening

From the well-respected site Wikipedia, with masses of sound information and facts.

Climate Friendly Garden (Wildlife Trust)

There are plenty of ways you can take action against climate change in your own backyard, garden or local green space.

Countryfile: Plant Britain

Plant Britain is all about encouraging community gardens and planting wildflowers in a two-year initiative to help combat climate change, help wildlife and pollinators and transform our own wellbeing.

Climate change plants: extreme Planting

Dr Eleanor Webster suggests plants that can survive wet winters and summer drought

Climate change: the UK’s wild flowers are on the move

Over the last five years, 15,000 surveys by volunteer citizen scientists have been submitted and analysed by a partnership of botanists working for Plantlife, the Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland (BSBI), the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), DAERA (NIEA) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).

Climate change: 'Our gardens, plots and even pots can make a difference

A major new climate change report has been described as 'a code red for humanity'.

Gardening in the Global Greenhouse

The UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) is based at the University of Oxford and funded by DEFRA to coordinate an assessment of how climate change will affect the UK, and help organizations assess how they might be affected

Gardening in a Changing Climate

Fifteen years after Gardening in the Global Greenhouse, the RHS launched Gardening in a Changing Climate – an update of the original document – on 26 April 2017. The new report has been written in collaboration with researchers from the University of Sheffield and University of Reading. The report presents the results of an extensive survey of amateur gardeners and interviews with industry professionals.

Gardens, wildlife and climate change

This is a very important topic. While there is a consensus that human induced climate change is happening, its predicted effects on UK weather are full of uncertainties. The UK’s climate and weather patterns will change, and appear already to be changing.  We are commissioning a full review of how climate change could affect garden wildlife, this page sets out some basic information and pointers.

Image is designed and maintained by Darren Hodson © 2022, The Drurys