Climate Change is Making Gardening Way Harder
Here are four types of gardens that are climate-controlled.
Garden Media Group recently released their 2018 Garden Trends report, and one of the more interesting findings was related to climate change and gardening. As a gardener, have you ever thought twice about changing heat and rain patterns? If you've been gardening for decades, have you noticed a difference in the way certain plants grow? Well, the shifting nature of our weather may have a lot to do with the success of your plants.
In the GTR, David Wolfe of Cornell University's Department of Agriculture says, "We are in the unfortunate situation of being the first generation of gardeners, ever, who cannot rely on historical weather records to tell us what our climate is, or tell us what to expect in the future."
His words come as no surprise when you factor in the detail that 16 of the past 17 years have been the warmest on record. Unpredictable weather patterns such as mild winters, floods, hail storms, wildfires, heat waves, droughts, and intense thunderstorms all have had a harrowing effect on our ecosystems. Mother Nature is having a hard time coping!
So, to combat our climate's unreliability, the 2018 GTR suggests building climate-controlled gardens featuring weather-hardy and resistant plants that can stand up to extreme conditions like those mentioned above.
4 Types of Gardens That Will Thrive in Extreme Climates
High winds are a big issue for weakly rooted plants, not to mention that they spread diseases and increase water loss.
What to plant: Choose plants with flexible stems and narrow leaves that won't take hold to a hefty gust. Lavender, yarrow, stonecrop, evergreen trees, and native grasses are recommended. Plus, you can plant large shrubs and trees to serve as wind blocks for your smaller friends, just remember to add extra mulch and small retaining walls to keep the soil and water in place.
In areas with frequent droughts and dry weather, plants will get hot and thirsty while their leaves become wilted or scorched.
What to plant: Go for plants that are drought- and salt-tolerant and prefer rocky, well-draining soil. Instead of succulents and cacti that take a long time to grow and need native landscapes to truly thrive, try planting euphorbia, date palms, fennel, irises, and poppies. To provide shade, plant taller varieties such as acacia, mesquite, and desert willow.
On the opposite side of the spectrum are areas that receive too much moisture, which can over-saturate soil, suffocating plant roots and attracting pests.
What to plant: Water-resistant native plants will be your best bet. Some options are black chokeberry, meadow-sweet shrubs, Joe-Pye weed, Colorado blue spruce, ferns, bayberry, and winterberry. Also, ensure your plants receive enough drainage by using porous surfaces, absorbent soils, and creating paths of sand or rocks in low-lying areas.
When the temperatures drop below freezing, plant roots can lose water when branches break. Frost can also cause your leaves to shrivel, brown, or black, but your plants may still be able to be salvaged.
What to plant: Cold-hardy trees such as spruce, birch, Douglas fir, and maples will be resilient. As for plants, try hostas, hellebores, and sedges. To protect roots during cold spells, add a blanket of mulch, compost, and leaves. Also be sure to shake your snowy plants very gently, and don't use salt too close to garden beds.