Traditional gardens will change as growers learn to adapt

Climate-resilient garden in a London Housing estate. Image: Lucy Millson-Watkins

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has published a report advising how amateur and professional gardeners can respond to climate change.

According to Gardening in a Changing Climate, the factors most likely to affect gardeners are: extremes of both wet and dry weather; increased temperatures, with the possibility of parts of the UK becoming frost-free; and stronger winds and storms. At the same time, gardeners are set to enjoy a longer growing season.

The report highlights strong regional differences in climate change, giving geographically specific advice. For example, using raised beds helps with drainage in Northern England, while growers in East Anglia are already favouring drought-tolerant plants over more traditional garden flowers, and replacing browning lawns with lower-maintenance dry meadows.

In addition, gardeners are also encouraged to minimise their own negative impact on the environment and maximise the positive through measures such as green roofs and walls, planting trees and shrubs, using kitchen waste as compost, and reducing use of petrol-powered tools.

The report has been welcomed by the Society of Garden Designers who said:¬†‘SGD members create and plant private and public green spaces that provide recognised holistic health benefits to users, as well as habitats and food sources for wildlife. Critically these spaces can also alleviate flood risk and generally reduce localised environmental impacts of climate change.’

Download the full RHS report here.


  1. I wonder to what extent the climate change report has taken account of the very real threat of the loss of the gulf stream, which is largely responsible for our mild temperate climate? Given the dramatic reduction in the summer ice cap in the arctic which is fuelling it own demise, we can expect to see serious disruptions to the gulf stream, which depends on the arctic waters being sufficiently cold. We are potentially faced with its complete shutdown in the foreseeable future. The implications for this will be massive but ‘frost free’ gardening certainly won’t be something we will be considering.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here