Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

BBC Worldwide Press Releases

Climate change divides UK gardeners, finds Gardeners' World magazine survey

Gardening problems are increasingly split along regional lines, and our changing climate is causing the rift, according to new evidence from British gardeners. The findings from 7,500 gardeners responding to a Gardeners' World Magazine survey, has found an increasingly North-South horticultural divide in the problems faced, with gardeners further south battling different weeds, insects and growing conditions to those in the north. The full results are available in the magazine, on sale now, £3.50.

It seems the notion of England's 'green and pleasant land' could soon be consigned to the history books - at least in southern counties - where gardeners are increasingly giving up the struggle to keep their lawns from browning. Gardeners in more temperate Scotland, however, still prize a good-looking lawn, more so than any other part of the UK.

The survey, one of the biggest barometers of gardening worries in the past decade, found warmer winters and hotter summers in the south and east of England appear to have led to a population explosion in two unwelcome immigrants: the scarlet lily beetle and the vine weevil. In the South-East region, 26 per cent of readers named the dreaded vine weevil as their worst gardening pest, while the highest incidence of lily beetle was in East Anglia where 21 per cent of respondents cited this as their worst pest.

Nationwide, weeds beat all other gardening complaints as the worst problem in 2009, but there’s a huge variation in what is invading gardens at a local level. Bindweed, which thrives in warmer weather, was named as the number one weed by a massive 41 per cent of gardeners in the South-West, but was only registered as a problem by seven per cent of Scottish gardeners. In Scotland, readers voted their worst weed as ground elder, an invasive pot herb introduced by the Romans, which has clearly been more successful north of the English border than the Romans were.

The survey found that pests are the biggest problem in London and the South, ahead of weeds and soil. In the Midlands almost one in five gardeners reported soil as their worst problem and more Midlanders complained about their neighbours’ gardens and gardening activities than anywhere else in the country.

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, although 27 per cent of gardeners voted weeds as the worst problem, this was the only place in the UK where respondents didn’t complain about their neighbours.

According to David Hurrion, Gardeners' World magazine's horticulture editor and meteorologist: "This is the most comprehensive survey we have ever done and it is fascinating to see how gardeners throughout the country deal with such an array of problems. Gardening is such a unique and enjoyable activity partly because of the challenge of adapting to different conditions, working with those you have, and triumphing. It will be interesting to see whether regionalised conditions become even more marked as our climate changes still further."

Other key findings:

  • Free-seeding dandelion is the worst weed in the North of England;
  • Nettles are the commonest weed in East Anglia – probably a legacy of farming methods;
  • The Welsh are least tolerant of neighbours’ trees, hedges and plants;
  • Soil knocked weeds into second place as the worst problem for northern gardeners.

About the Survey

The survey was part of the inaugural Gardeners' World awards which gave members of the public a chance to vote for all their gardening loves and hates.

About Gardeners' World magazine
Gardeners' World is the UK's market leading-gardening magazine that provides readers with key practical advice and tips on gardening. The title has an ABC (Jul-Dec 08) of 221,180.

Toby Hicks

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