Mary Mark’s Gardening Advice: Dealing With Climate Change

Since 2003 the Rendez-vous aux jardins have been renovated with a different theme, with the aim of educating visitors about the importance of preserving, restoring, creating and adapting the gardens to global warming.

One of the most obvious consequences of this climate change is the disruption of the rhythm of the seasons. Increasingly, prolonged periods of heat and drought, heavy rains causing terrible floods, and increasingly mild winters, depriving some species of plant rest, which led to early flowering, and then were destroyed by late frosts …


The theme chosen by the Ministry of Culture for Rendez-vous aux jardins 2022 will focus on “Gardens in the face of climate change” (read below). How do you consider managing private or public parks in light of climate change? Because “to deal with the limitations of nature rather than to constrain it” turns out to be the most consistent and virtuous behavior to adopt, we will have to adapt.

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Mary Mark’s gardening tip: It’s time to adapt to the climate

Thus, species naturally present on our lands such as boulots, lemon trees or oaks, are weakening … Should they be replaced by other, more drought-resistant species, such as mulberry trees, gleditsia, hackberries of Provence, umbrella pine?

Solutions exist. Below are some of them practiced in the region. When replanting the banks of the Canal du Midi, specialists made sure to replace the 28,000 diseased or dead trees with more drought-resistant species, such as Turkey oak.

A group of trees weakened by drought is actually more likely to be attacked by insects or disease victims.

At the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, hundreds of chestnut trees have been replaced by trees better suited to dry and hot weather, while maintaining the size and consistency of the original design. The Tuileries Garden in Paris is another example of management pursuing a policy of adaptation: in the face of the difficulties of horse chestnut trees, weakened by soil pressure and successive droughts, garden managers are introducing more rural areas, such as cherries, trumpets, elms or even elderberries.
In the face of long droughts, a dry garden (without watering other than water from the sky) is an increasingly popular choice for gardeners and garden architects.

Gardening tip from Mary Mark: The golden yellow blooms of Laburnum

Some species and cultivars thrive well despite little or no rainfall. As evidence of this, the plants are naturally equipped to reflect light, thanks to the gray foliage, covered with a little bit of white fuzz.
The creation of gardens adapted to the greenhouse begins, in fact, with the selection of the plants that make up them, native and acclimatized.

Do with the limitations of nature
Instead of restricting nature…

Those who visited the Jardin de Marie, my former garden, were able to discover the “dry garden” inspired by the shrubs of my childhood, planted with thyme, santolina, hypercum, helicrese, quessetus, lavender … This graphic installation is a good example of the adaptability of plants, Provided, of course, that it is provided with well-drained soil, close to the original soil.

Regarding the central question of watering, it is important to water abundantly without accustoming the plants to constant watering. By letting it dry between two large volumes of water, the root system is encouraged to go deeper into the soil and establish itself there. Finally, less frequent mowing and less severe pruning can preserve the characteristics of the environment and make it more resilient.

Mary Mark

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