RHS Calls on Garden Lovers to Take Part in Unique Climate Change Study

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Research could help future generations meet the challenges of gardening in more unpredictable weather

Scientists from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the University of Reading are asking anyone interested in gardens and gardening, whether allotment holders or those who enjoy visiting gardens, to take part in a unique survey designed to improve understanding of how climate change may affect gardens and green spaces in the future.

The information gathered will enable the RHS to gain valuable insights into gardeners’ awareness and expectations of climate change, in the light of the recent bitterly cold winters, record rainfall levels, floods, and severe droughts.

The RHS believes the information gained from the survey will help UK horticulture to prepare for the challenges and opportunities of gardening in a changing climate that may include:

• managing drier soils in summer and wetter soils in winter
• maintaining historic gardens as they adapt to a changing climate
• dealing with storms and floods
• an intensification of both native and alien pest and diseases
• changes in flowering times that affect pollinators and other wildlife
• northward shift of optimum growing conditions for some plants

Speaking about the research, RHS Acting Head of Science John David said: “In the battle to understand better the challenges and opportunities that climate change presents, the most valuable resource we have is the millions of people who care about their gardens and the green spaces around them.
“We therefore urge anyone who values our gardens and parks and is concerned about their long-term sustainability to take the time to complete the questionnaire* and contribute to the future of gardening in the UK.”

It has been a decade since the implications of climate change on gardening has been examined in such detail, and much has changed since then. In 2002 the RHS and others contributed to the ‘Gardening in the Global Greenhouse’ report which drew on climate models that indicated a general warming of the UK weather.

The projections at the time led to the general understanding of a future trend of increased temperatures, less frost and snow and decreased summer rainfall for the UK. It has now become apparent, based on more recent data and climate models, that the scenarios projected in that report are in need of updating, as both the nature and rate of change are significantly different.

*To complete the survey please visit: http://www.survey.bris.ac.uk/reading/climate3


Notes to editors

For more information please contact Garfield Myrie in the RHS Press Office: 020 7821 3060/ 01483 212 330 garfieldmyrie@rhs.org.uk

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity.

Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 209 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join  

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262


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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262