Gardeners turn to desert gardens at flower shows due to climate change

To combat this, this year’s Royal Horticultural Society Hampton Court flower show will feature drought-tolerant planting schemes and landscaping techniques for managing water use. They will demonstrate how gardeners can all adapt their gardening practises to help make outdoor spaces more climate resilient, preventing blooms being scorched.

The show, which is held in July, had problems last year with plants coming into bloom too early, wilting and then having to be swapped out for new ones.

An RHS spokesperson said: “Whilst the heat did pose challenges, the designers managed to keep on top of it. The drought-tolerant gardens are a reaction to last year’s heat.

“Caroline and Peter Clayton, who designed a garden called Nurturing Nature in the City, have used drought-tolerant planting as a means to create more resilient gardens and to reduce the need for water.”

Last year, with the extreme heats, many areas were placed in a hosepipe ban, causing lots of garden flowers and plants to die.

At the show last year, designers had to install a new ventilation system to help cool down the tents, which often trap warm air during the day.

Due to climate change, many gardeners and designers alike are having to change the plants they use, opting for ones which are drought-tolerant.

One new garden, America’s Wild, will feature planting conditions varying from dry and arid, using succulents in the desert area, aspen trees for woodland planting in the forest area, and grasses and wilder perennial planting representing the prairie.

The Claytons’ garden, Nurturing Nature in the City, will feature drought-tolerant plants such as echinacea, verbena and achillea and will be mulching the soil.

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Mulching the soil helps to lock in the moisture as well as prevent weeds from growing, ideal for warmer weather climates.

After last year’s drought and ongoing hot weather, many designers are expected to showcase creative ways to lock moisture into the soil, whether that be through water butts or ponds.

Nurturing Nature in the City takes inspiration from the High Line in New York as well as the Parkland Walk in Highgate London, and distils ideas from these projects into a space where home gardeners on a budget could replicate something similar.

It will include plenty of habitats, including gabion walls, mini wildflower strips, pollinator planting, ponds and nest pockets wrapped around a central seating area.

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Another garden, The Inghams Working with Nature, features resilient planting for wet and dry periods and will utilise a dry, shallow creek to collect water runoff and divert it into the plants to reduce reliance on mains water.

The garden will also feature drought-tolerant plants at its highest points, from which the water will naturally drain away.

Helena Pettit, RHS Director of Gardens & Shows said: “Climatic extremes are becoming increasingly common in the UK and our green spaces will need to adapt to weather them.

“The gardens at RHS Hampton Court provide plenty of inspiration for visitors to try at home to help make their own gardens more resilient.”

According to the experts at RHS, many drought-tolerant plants have silver or grey-green leaves, and their light leaf colour helps to reflect the harsh rays of the sun.

Others have a coating of fine hairs on their leaves or stems, helping to trap moisture around the plant tissues.

Some examples of these plants include the pretty, pink palm-like shrub called cordyline australis which is ideal for growing in containers.

Gardeners could also opt for conifers like juniperus, which come in a variety of heights and sizes, ideal for any gardener.

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