It’s a crisp fall day in Rochester, New York, and Master Gardener Mary Walsh is moving her perennials to a site with better drainage. She wants to protect the plants from the extreme rains that have become more frequent. Walsh says it’s just one of many ways changes in the weather are affecting gardeners:


Walsh: “In my area of New York State, the buds have been coming out earlier by almost a week.”

Walsh is also seeing more weeds, and new pests like the pine bark beetle. To adapt, she says it’s important to keep records of rain and snowfall, time of bud break, frost dates, and new pests.

Walsh: “And then to experiment and to discover what works and what doesn’t.”

For example, this fall, Walsh is cutting back her lavender to try to prevent damage from extreme weather. But in addition to adapting, gardeners can be part of the solution. Walsh recommends growing native plants that support pollinators, composting, and storing rainwater.

Walsh: “We care so much about the environment. If you ever talk to a gardener, I think you can see the commitment and real love they have, gardeners can really play a very key role in their communities in addressing climate change.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Copyright protected.

More Resources
Gardeners Adapting to Weather Changes
Protect Your Backyard Garden from Climate Chaos!
My Climate Change Garden
Cornell University Gardening fact sheets

Sara Peach is the editor-in-chief of Yale Climate Connections. She is an environmental journalist whose work has appeared in National Geographic, Scientific American, Environmental Health News, Grist,...