Impact of climate change on our gardens

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What could the impact of climate change be on our gardens in the UK? if any.

Keep calm and keep weeding
Keep calm and keep weeding


Gardeners have already had a taste of what global warming could mean with heavy rainfall and summer drought and the impact on what we plant and how we maintain our gardens.

Green lawn man must have thought the world had ended, when told he would have to stop wasting water and couldn't stop his green lawn turning brown for a few weeks.

He's probably just as browned off now his lawn is under water.


If  the scientists predicting climate change, with more rain and warmer weather are right,  gardeners especially in the South east of England are in for an interesting time. 

In recent years they seem to be spot on with drought orders and floods


But, is it global warming or could it be nothing to do with climate change? here are a few gardener's tips Just in case it is .

climate change and our gardens


The effects of global warming look like they are going to be both good and bad for our gardens.

A short Winter with an early Spring will mean earlier spring bulb displays and deciduous trees coming into leaf a few weeks early, and good news for  frost-tender plants.  It could also make conditions for growing exotic fruits and sub-tropical plants, such as citrus and cannas easier. But increased rainfall will make growing Mediterranean species, like many herbs, which dislike water logging, more difficult.

Garden plants that could be in trouble especially in the South east.
Some of our cottage garden favourites such as delphiniums and lupins, that need fertile, moisture retentive soil will struggle in the drier summers, climate change could bring. Spring bulbs and tuberous plants won't like the wetter winters.
Plants that could thrive with climate change.
Grapevines, pomegranates, loquats, citrus, apricots, nectarines and figs, plus a wider range of palm trees.
Rising temperatures would almost certainly bring about a increase  in garden pests.
Warmer temperatures combined with more rainfall, just the climate slugs and snails thrive in, would mean a explosion in the population of slugs and snails and the problems that brings for gardeners.

Probably more serious though, that is until we learn to control it, would be the threat of climate change creating ideal conditions for garden pests like the lily beetle, rosemary beetle, berberis sawfly, red spider mite and new vine weevil species. 

Fungal diseases would also thrive in the wet winter conditions changes in our climate could bring. Phytophthora is already bad news for some our historic yew hedges.

Lawns will be at risk from the red-thread (Laetisaria fuciformis) disease, which thrives in warm, wet conditions.

Something to think about

One study shows that climate change so far in Britain has generally had a positive on our  plant life, with most species extending their habitats.
More of Britain's plant life and wildflower meadows are under threat from the use of fertilisers by landowners, artificially raising the level of nutrients in soils to grow whatever crop they are being subsided for this year, at the expense of, and leading to the die-off of less hardy species, mostly our wild plant life.
What can gardeners do ?
There are several actions we can take, most of us are probably already doing some of them and nothing at all to do with climate change.  like  garden drainage, planting to suit our type of soil, planting  drought tolerant plants.
The effects of global warming might not be felt in our life time, if ever, depends who you listen to, but if you are a believer, their are actions you can start taking. ( the links lead to other articles on my site)
  • Plant for the future, using trees, shrubs and hedges that are drought tolerant.
  • Planting  windbreaks will protect venerable plants from stormy weather, most of us living on the coast already do this.
  • Prepare soil for better drainage by adding organic matter, gravel or grit or install drainage channels.
  • Save and store rainwater, ready for the next time the water companies panic and introduce hose pipe bans. Water shortage is likely to have most serious impact, with an increase in rainfall during winter, and summers likely to become drier.
  • Create wildlife gardens with ponds and water features for our wildlife in hot dry summers.
  • On slopes, clear plants that cause erosion and encourage plants that help stop erosion.
  • Choose plants that suit your gardening environment, drought-tolerant or damp-loving plants, depending on the conditions.


A warmer Britain will present both challenges and opportunities. If you are a believer, climate change is likely to lead to reduced frosts, earlier springs, higher average temperatures all year round,  increased winter rainfall with flooding. Hotter, drier summers leading to drought. 


Over the next 50 to 80 years, green lawn man could be particularly effected with the traditional British lawn become difficult and expensive to maintain.  They may have to accept its going to turn brown in dry weather and back to green when it rains.