RHS Chelsea 2023 gardening in a changing climate

The 2023 Chelsea Flower Show has confirmed the growing commitment of the RHS to communicate sustainability gardening messages and put the environment first when we garden.

The trend towards naturalistic planting was particularly evident in 2023 with many Show Gardens suggesting that weeds are just plants in the wrong place and they can enhance a garden when planted in the right location, despite negativity from more traditional gardeners.

The best Sustainability quote of Chelsea has to be from Matthew Pottage, curator of RHS Garden Wisley, says: “We are having a climate crisis. We do need to garden environmentally sensitively. Is this the place to be showing that? It’s arguably the world’s best flower show, so this is the place.”

Highlights and trends from RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023: sustainability, wildlife and weeds (msn.com)

This approach aligns with an RHS report launched in 2017 to help gardeners adapt to climate change as the seasons shift and UK weather becomes more extreme.

The report was written in collaboration with researchers from the University of Sheffield and University of Reading. The report presented the results of an extensive survey of amateur gardeners and interviews with industry professionals. It highlighted the importance of gardens in terms of their interaction with the natural environment and provided recommendations on how gardeners can adapt to climate change through plant choice and garden design. The report also outlined ways in which gardeners can manage their garden to enhance carbon sequestration and flood alleviation.

Since the original 2002 RHS report looking at the impact of climate change on gardening, Gardening in a Global Greenhouse, the global climate has undergone dramatic change, with 2016 proving to be the warmest year on record.

Today, confidence in global climate models has increased and we now know that extreme weather events are the most likely conditions to be experienced by the UK. The impact of these events, such as flash flooding and periods of drought, is likely to be compounded by increased housing pressure, meaning that gardens will become more critical in providing services formerly delivered by the natural environment – services such as flood alleviation, carbon sequestration and the provision of habitats for wildlife – that will be lost to development.

Sustainability must now be at the heart of every garden and gardeners have an opportunity to embrace new ways of gardening to ensure that our gardens contribute and do not harm our natural environment. Sustainability is  now the main focus of RHS strategies which is crucial as  this influential organisation can sew the seeds for a sustainable gardening revolution, Visit RHS Gardening in a changing world  for more information




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.

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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Labeyrie Says:

    I just discovered your blog. Felicitations! Having worked for 40 years on climate change, now retired, I feel very important tha

  2. Labeyrie Says:

    that gardeners do exchange observations and experience for emphasing the role of gardens for education on climate change, biodiversity reservoir, “local source of pleasure” and test for plants adaptation for future climate channges, risks of disequilibrium (development of invasive species) etc..
    I develop with my wife in coastal southern Brittany an experimental salvia collection to get information on these points

  3. Marie Says:

    It’s so true that the changing climate is having an impact on our gardens. Anyway, thanks for sharing this article!