Global Warming in the Garden


Is global warming wreaking havoc on gardeners’ planting schemes?  Will climate zones have to be redrawn?  Should gardeners tear up their old gardening books because their advice is no longer useful?  Simon Busch weighs in on the pages of the Financial Times–and quotes our very own charming and witty Michele Owens.

Boon, though, or bane? The fertile gardening blogging scene reflects
this dilemma of how to react to climate change. Should you don a
hairshirt and bemoan mankind’s meddling with the seasons? Or, in the
words of one blogger, Michele Owens, on, join the
“fiddling-while-Rome-burns camp”? She describes “delighting in every
moment of [the] peculiarly warm winter and making bold plans regarding
magnolias and sweet cherries”. “Hey, you cynical and self-serving auto
and power industries,” she adds, “we . . . gardeners owe you one!”

Personally, I think all this talk about how global warming will change the way we garden is premature and overwrought.  Mind you, I’m not one of those global warming skeptics.  I’m convinced.  I just think that gardening is inherently risky.  Just when you think you’ve got the perennial border all sorted out, along comes the worst drought in twenty years. As soon as you coax a tropical vine into blooming, the hardest freeze on record will hit.

Floods, high winds, horrifying bug infestations–show me a gardener who has not experienced some weather-related calamity! If we can’t blame the weather for the state of our gardens, who do we blame?  Ourselves? Never.

And for god’s sake, let’s not tear up old gardening books.  Send them to me if you can’t bear to look at them anymore.

Again, it’s not that I don’t think global warming is real.  It’s just that our time and energy could be better spent making real changes to reverse the effects of climate change, not redrawing hardiness zone maps or lamenting the fact that our tulips aren’t blooming on schedule. They never bloomed on
schedule anyway.