RHS gardens in a changing climate

                                                On April 1st I attended the RHS Spring Fair in London on a beautiful sunny day. 

The blossom was out and the warm sunshine helped everyone think that the heavy downpours of Winter 2014 might finally be over. This event heralds the start of the growing season and is guaranteed to encourage gardening inspiration to flow and seed packets to rattle in anticipation of good gardening weather.

For the first time this event in the beautiful  RHS Lindley Hall  featured a full programme of talks entitled “Gardening in a changing climate “ .These  delivered fascinating insights into themany issues facing UK gardeners as the climate changes and well defined seasons become more confused due to extreme weather events.

The talks were introduced by Dr John David, Chief Scientist at the RHS who heads up the scientific team responsible for producing the new report on Gardening in a Changing Climate to be published in May 2014.

As the UK’s leading horticultural charity as well as an international expert on issues facing gardens and gardeners, the RHS is collaborating with the University of Reading regarding research data and a national online survey which follows on from the 2002 report ‘Gardening in the Global Greenhouse’. Since then, our understanding of how climate change is affecting Britain has changed.

Dr Claudia Bernardini, a climate change plant scientist at the University of Reading and RHS, explains:

“Over the past three winters many optimistic gardeners have seen borderline hardy plants such as the Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis), Soft tree fern (Dicksonia antarctica) and Hardy banana (Musa basjoo) killed by severe frosts and snow. Yet, despite this, climate models continue to predict a warming of the climate and we are told to prepare for much hotter summers in the medium term.

The Royal Horticultural Society with the University of Reading recently launched a survey to better understand how individual gardeners are reacting to these difficult growing seasons and to discover whether they have been provided with the knowledge they need to plan their gardening for the future.

The latest projections indicate that the climate is likely to affect gardens and gardening in a significantly different way than that predicted in 2002. The new RHS resport will seek to explain what gardeners might expect and more importantly, how they can prepare their gardens for an uncertain future.

The results of the survey will help researchers understand the perceived effects of climate change and the individual’s response to those changes. They will be used alongside the latest climate models to produce a new report to support British gardeners and the horticulture industry.”








Climate Gardens recently ran an online survey which revealed 40% of gardeners think their garden is affected by climate change in the past 2 years compared with 20% 5 years ago, and 4%, 10 years ago. 

Follow Climate Gardens on Facebook and Twitter.

The RHS have excellent information on all topics relating to the possibilities of what may happen in a changing climate – from gardening in drought situations to dealing with water-logging and flooding, saving and using water plus how certain groups of plants will cope with changing conditions.   http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Sustainable-gardening/Gardening-in-a-changing-climate/Advice

These changes have seriously affected gardeners on both sides of the Atlantic during Winter 2014 . Water-logging and flooding has been a key issue for thousands of UK gardens after the record rainfall.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/plants/trees/10683870/Storms-and-floods-have-your-trees-been-damaged.html

Whilst in the USA, consistently low and freezing temperatures have seriously damaged or destroyed many plants, affecting millions of gardens and seriously delaying the start of spring 2014 for many in the USA. http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/spring-outlook-six-more-weeks/22312537

This post was written by:

- who has written 872 posts on My Climate Change Garden.

I am not an experienced gardener - more of an enthusiastic amateur who learns by trial and error and who is keen to "manage" the effects of shifting weather patterns on my garden. Writing this blog is my passion and it has evolved over 12 years to inspire engagement with climate change outside our back doors, in our personal gardens and green spaces. My mission is to fertilise and expand this platform to grow a community of global gardeners communicating about the effects of climate change on our plants and exploring how each individual can make small changes in our lives to become more sustainable. The future of our gardens and #OurPlanet is in our hands - please plant your own seeds for our collective sustainable future.

Contact the author

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Debbie Says:

    Hi Rod – Apologies for delay in responding – check out the RHS and Met Office talks onGardening in a Changing Climate organised by Eleanor Webster Climate Scientist at RHS. Do contact her at RHS Wisley.https://www.rmets.org/events/gardening-changing-climate-mmu-rhs-joint-meeting