Virtual Gardener Spring 2011: Climate Change and Your Garden

Over the past year, the Virtual Gardener has found that nothing can bring a pleasant dinner conversation with relatives to a halting stop like the utterance of the phrase "climate change."

I will not say another word on the subject but offer these websites for you to explore.

First, to www.pewclimate.org for an excellent glossary.

Understand something my brother-in-law does not - the difference between climate and weather at: http://www.noaa.gov/features/02_monitoring/snowstorms.html.

Read what the EPA has to say at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange.

Even my brother-in-law could not find Cornell University to be a wacky, fringe group at: http://www.climateandfarming.org/pdfs/FactSheets/I.1Science.pdf.

National Geographic takes on "climategate" at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/12/1206_041206_global_warming.html.

An interesting article that would really make my brother–in-law angry is at: http://www.rodale.com/climate-change-facts.

Botanic Garden Conservation International has some good materials at: http://www.bgci.org/climate/.

"For heaven’s sake," I would like to have told my brother-in-law, "even the Chelsea Flower Show acknowledged climate change" at: http://historicroses.org/index.php?id=78.

Whilst you are picking new plants for your garden, it would be of value to consult: http://www.ahs.org/publications/heat_zone_map.htm.

You can use the AHS Plant Heat-Zone Map in the same way that you do the Hardiness Map.

Mother has something to say about that map at: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/2008-04-01/Hardiness-Zone-Changes.aspx.

You and my brother-in-law can see the change at: http://www.arborday.org/media/zones.cfm.

To learn more about climate and your garden, I recommend "The Climate Conscious Gardener." which we have a copy of in our library. This step-by-step guide to offsetting climate change through gardens and landscaping explains what happens when the atmospheric balance of carbon and nitrogen goes awry, and how plants, soil, and synthetic gardening aids (such as fertilizer and pesticides) affect climate. Chapters include: A Gardener’s Guide to Climate Change, Reducing Your Garden’s Climate Footprint, A Guide to Landscape Materials and Product, Offsetting Carbon Emissions in Your Garden Landscaping for Home Energy Efficiency, The Climate Footprint of Homegrown Food, Turning Your Landscape into a Carbon Sink, Carbon Sequestration in Soil, Carbon Sequestration in Plants.