Welcome to Climate Gardens and Homes

Climate Gardens stimulates debate about the power of gardens to change lives by encouraging personal low carbon choices with the potential to leave lasting legacies.

We design and deliver innovative public climate engagement projects targeting the UK’s 30 million gardeners with a focus on over 50s, who make up 20 million people (Centre for Aging Better).

A yellow rudbekia flower in the foreground with more flowers and the front of a house in the background

We are keen to share our achievements to date plus future seeds we are planting

RHS Gold Medal Garden at Hampton Court Flower Show

Our Gold Medal Near Future Garden at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show was supported by celebrities who donated their footprints to our Carbon Path feature. Each celebrity wanted to highlight how easy it is to make simple sustainable life choices that can deliver a collective low carbon future.

Near Future Garden focused on the renewable energies of solar, wind and water that already power our gardens and are now being used to future-proof our homes with sustainable energy.

BBC TV Gardeners World created a 4 minute film about NFG which was seen by 1.5 million viewers. Our Climate Garden was visited by 10,000 people sharing their climate change garden and home experiences whilst walking on The Carbon Path embedded with celebrity footprints over 6 days at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.

Jon Snow smiling into the camera with the text "I've given my footprint, will you?"
Monty Don at the Near Future Garden show garden
Julia Bradbury at the Near Future Garden pointing at her foot which is painted orange to make a footprint
Deborah Scott Anderson in the foreground with the Near Future Garden in the background

Sustainable Gardening Workshops

A series of over 50s workshops at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex combined inspiring speakers with interactive coaching to deliver ongoing optimism that individual #climate action can make a difference to the #futurewechoose. These experiences created feelings of positivity and empowerment, instead of the confusion and fear that is often associated with climate change.

During these interactive events we were able to provide ideas for personal low carbon actions to inspire each participant to explore making their own lives more sustainable.

After the workshops, 95% of guests said they were eager to explore their choices relating to a range of sustainable choices. These included only using peat free compost and being sustainable in their gardens, buying electric cars, switching to renewable energies, buying heat/air pumps or sourcing sustainable travel options as easy low carbon changes to their lives.

These engagement projects provided a unique opportunity for conversations with over 50s into their attitudes and behaviours around climate change. The results of this extensive face to face research, at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show and our Future Workshops, have radically influenced and evolved our Future Communications Strategy

Echineacea flowers in Herstmonceux Castle garden with the lawn and castle in the background

Future Seeds to Grow Over 50s Online Community

A key request from our public engagement projects with the over 50’s has been the need for an online interactive engagement platform.

Over 50s have a strong desire to be part of a community that is experiencing climate extremes in their gardens but, also in their homes. They are keen to share their personal stories, their concerns and, most importantly, connect with others who are thinking about what climate change means for their own and their children’s futures. Legacy and Community are popular themes in our over 50’s research findings and inspired the idea for launching climategardensandhomes.com

Our Future Gardening workshops confirmed that 85 % of 50s over want to make sustainable life choices for their families’ future but they feel unsure and confused about how to do this successfully.

In addition recent research from Climate Talk by DEFRA confirms 80% of homeowners over 50 want to take #ClimateAction but they need help to achieve this.

What is Climate Gardens and Homes and why is this needed now?

Climate Gardens and Homes will provide a unique interactive online platform for gardeners to chat over the internet as they face the increasing challenges of shifting seasons and extreme weather as a result of climate change.

For centuries gardeners have exchanged information about their gardens over the fence. They have used stories to share advice and insights about growing plants, flowers and produce. Using the latest AI and innovative technology, we will recreate this “sharing experience” online whilst expanding understanding of climate change and motivation to consider a range of sustainable living choices.

The Climate Change Collaboration confirmed: “the right story can build the public appetite needed to catalyse change. Decades of research and experience shows how personal stories can shift how people think and feel. They can make important actions feel right, normal and inevitable. Intentionally changing the story has shifted attitudes to things like tobacco control and equal marriage.”

Red flowers on a patio outside a house with large windows and yellow garden chairs outside
A view of a garden with pink roses from behind a sash window and frame

Personal stories that are exchanged between home owners and gardeners about how they experiencing the changing climate outside their back doors can encourage action and a sense of “What can we do to help?” from the over 50s.

Climategardensandhomes.com will build a community that encourages the sharing of personal photos and stories of frustrations with shifting weather patterns that empower over 50s to focus on effective low carbon living choices for their families’ future. Our strategy is to inspire over 50s to think seriously about the uncertain climatic future facing their children and encourage them to examine and reduce their high carbon consumer habits. #TimeisNow

This exchange of stories also has the potential to help over 50s become more resilient and able to deal with the range of climate scenarios they and their families will certainly face in the future.

Why are over 50’s a key target audience for Climate Gardens and Homes ?

Adults aged 50 to 64

have the highest UK carbon footprint compared to other age groups. (Greening the Greys, Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York)

Baby boomers born in post war Britain

are the first generation of consumerism with a carbon footprint of 13.52 tonnes of carbon dioxide per capita per year compared to 11.81 tonnes for the average UK citizen. Wealthier than ever before, they emit 1.69 tonnes on consumables, 15 per cent higher than the national average with the highest emissions for travel by car and plane at 2.51 tonnes of CO2 which is 28 per cent higher than the average UK citizen.

Over 50s hold 68.3% of all UK household wealth (£7.8 trillion)

77.3% of all financial wealth (£1.2 trillion) and 66.2% of allproperty wealth (£2.5 trillion). Source:The Saga Study, commissioned from the independent Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR). Lifetime mortgages provide options to unlock wealth, but, only 39% of equity release customers are using funds from lifetime mortgages for home improvements, with just 13% spending it on sustainable choices.(Legal and General)

The large majority own their own homes and gardens

where they regularly experience unpredictable weather patterns caused by climate change outside their own back doors.

Over 94% of visitors to our Gold Medal RHS Hampton Court Garden

said these increasing experiences of climate change in their own gardens helps them realise that extreme weather events and confused seasons are now a daily and ever increasing challenge in their lives and their children’s

Over 50’s spend 114 hours a year planting their gardens to enjoy in the future.

Transferring over 50’s vision for the future of their gardens into making regular sustainable living choices is the next step on their path to creating a future low carbon legacy for their children and grandchildren.

A grandparent and child kneeling and gardening together in a walled vegetable garden

How is climate change affecting our gardens?

Shifting Seasons

Daffodils flowering in December, seedlings destroyed by record rainfall during winter 2024 plus regular summer droughts highlight that extreme weather and shifting seasons are now everyday challenges for UK gardeners. The devastating impacts of climate change are happening every day in the UK, outside our back doors, in our gardens.

Longer Autumn Growing Season

Although the UK growing season lenghtening by 30 days over the past 10 years is seen as an advantage to gardeners, the increase in extreme weather events as a result of our shifting climate is a top concern for over 50s gardens and home owners.

Lack or Abundance of Water

is definitely a key concern. WaterAid research has revealed that a third (35%) of garden enthusiasts have struggled with water shortages and more than a third (38%) have experienced increased heat stress. One in eight UK adults with gardens ( 5.4 million) have experienced flooding in their green spaces. ( Flood RE). Innovative water management techniques are now key to creating and maintaining a beautiful but sustainable garden.

Lack of Winter Frosts

The number of days of air frost (when the air temperature drops below 0.0 °C) has reduced on average by 11.1 days in recent years ( Met Office)

Agile house from outside with tree leaves in the foreground
Deborah Scott Anderson watering plants on an allotment
Grandparents and a grandchild planting strawberry plants in the ground
Dahlias of different colours in the foreground and a brick house in the background
An over 50's couple smiling and gardening together
Arit Anderson and Deborah Scott Anderson holding an RHS Hampton Court Gold Award and smiling

UK Gardeners over 50 increasingly observe and have to manage extreme weather events as a result of climate change affecting their gardens and homes.

With 82% noticing their garden being affected by hotter summers and prolonged heavy rainfall, and 60% being concerned about how climate change might impact their outdoor spaces in the future, this is a unique opportunity for effective ‘ownership’ of this pressing environmental issue.

This ‘ownership’ of climate change was clearly evidenced when 10,000 visitors walked on Climate Gardens RHS Gold Medal Garden at Hampton Court Flower Show to share their personal stories of how their gardens are affected by a changing climate. We spoke directly to hundreds of visitors – many over 50s – all eager to understand how they can help the climate crisis by embedding sustainability into their everyday living – both in and out of their gardens.

How can gardens and gardening change behaviour?

A woman in a garden, wearing a sun hat, looking at lillies

Behavioural science reveals that ‘ ONLY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES’ can provide ‘OWNERSHIP’ of an issue and a strong motivation to change entrenched behaviour. Sadly reporting of climate change is often alarmist and characterized by images and words of catastrophe (Ereaut & Segnit 2006) As a result, powerful images of melting Artic ice caps, severe drought in Africa or flooding in India have failed to empower over 50s living in the UK to make sustainable life changes.

The enormous passion for gardening felt by many over 50s combined with an obsession for growing and caring for their plants, can be translated into their personal ‘ Low Carbon Climate Action’.

Climate Gardens and Homes.com will harness these ‘personal climate experiences’ and ‘concerns about gardening in a changing climate’ into positive engagement with planning for their families’ future by making more sustainability life choices now.

Share Your Experiences

Share your personal experienced of climate change outside your window, in your garden. How does this make you feel?

Useful Resources

Weather to Garden Podcast

Listen to our Weather to Garden podcast with Peter Gibbs from Radio 4 Gardeners Question Time. Discover how climate change is driving UKs extreme weather and what this means for the collective future of our gardens and homes.

Greeing the Greys Research Paper

Read the Greening the Greys research paper from University of York, which provides evidence in support of the strategy for ClimateGardensAndHomes.com

Deborah Scott Anderson – Founder of Climate Gardens & Homes

With a professional background in Communications and training as a Climate Coach, I fully understand the many challenges of inspiring positivity that leads to #Climateactionnow.

Over the past 10 years, I have observed rapidly shifting seasons and extreme weather in many UK gardens , talked to hundreds of gardeners about their personal experiences of climate change plus connected with a range of UK and international climate experts .

Apart from creating Climate Gardens in 2013, I have writed 900 posts on myclimatechangegarden.com, plus have been involved in the publication of various articles and podcasts. These include a podcast with Peter Gibbs, BBC Weatherman and host of BBC Radio 4 Gardeners Question Time plus an interview with the Yale Communications Centre for Climate Communication.

In 2024 I became an Agile Homes Associate to expand a personal passion for sustainable living. Agile Homes are based in Bristol where they design, make and deliver Low Carbon Homes to support the UK transition to sustainable living. This exciting role combines my passion for and knowledge of #climateaction with extensive professional communications experience to promote homes that are both sustainable and affordable.

All of these personal and professional experiences have inspired this mission to launch Climate Gardens and Homes. I am determined to encourage over 50s retirees to create a sustainable future that leaves a lasting low carbon legacy for their children and grandchildren.

Many over 50s have grandchildren combined with the highest UK carbon footprint. They often also have the available time, and increasingly, extensive private funds, to change their passion for gardening into simple life choices that leave a low carbon legacy for their family.

For further information contact deborah.climategardensandhomes@gmail.com

Deborah Scott Anderson sat outdoors next to ferns and smiling into the camera
Rudbeckia flowers in the foreground and a wooden house and grass and a blue sky in the background