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BBC Peddle RHS Climate Lies

April 30, 2017

By Paul Homewood




The Royal Horticultural Society has just published a 45 page report “Gardening in a Changing Climate”. I strongly suspect that most gardeners will get most value out of it by putting it in the compost bin!

It has been written by Dr Eleanor Webster, who is employed by the RHS as a climate scientist. Quite why they feel they should be wasting members fees on a climate scientist is beyond me.


The BBC report gives a feel for the rubbish it contains:



Artificial lawns, plants from arid countries and flower beds designed to cope with floods are among future features of UK gardens outlined in a major new report.

As the world warms and weather patterns shift, the study by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) concludes that British gardens will need to adapt.

Traditional designs with “immaculate, well-watered lawns” and “Edwardian” borders may be too hard to maintain if the weather becomes more volatile.

The report warns that climate change looks set to bring more extremes and more erratic weather with stronger storms, heavier downpours and more intense heatwaves potentially damaging plants and eroding soil.

But the authors also welcome the prospect of longer growing seasons and say there are new opportunities to use more varied plants in wider areas of the country.

They identify a sharp divide across the UK with climate change bringing contrasting prospects to different regions.

Dr Eleanor Webster, who coordinated the RHS report, told the BBC: “The key thing is that the south of England is going to be hotter and drier throughout the year with some heavy rain showers and then the north of England is going to be certainly milder but it is also going to be wetter in the summer and in the winter.

“The south of England is going to mainly be about water conservation and the north of England is going to be about managing a wet and warm environment.”

The report points to the most recent decade being 0.9C warmer than the period 1961-1990 and to an increase in rainfall over Scotland and the north of England over the past century.


Before we look at the detail, there are two fundamental reasons why this study belongs in the bin:

1) British climate is notoriously volatile, and this volatility on a year to year, month to month, and even day to day basis drowns out any tiny climatic signal that there may be.

Indeed, there is no such thing as a “normal” or “average” climate in Britain.

Gardens have survived decades of this “weather”, and certainly won’t be inconvenienced any climate change.

This can easily be seen in the annual temperature and rainfall records for England:


England Mean daily maximum temp - Annual

England Rainfall - Annual


2) Gardeners won’t be in the least bit interested in what their descendants might be growing in 50 or 100 years time. So why waste money on this report now?



Let’s now look at some of the claims made in the study. It is worth pointing out that, although it talks of future projections, the report is clear that these things are already occurring.


1) The report warns that climate change looks set to bring more extremes and more erratic weather with stronger storms, heavier downpours

We are back to the “extreme rainfall” myth, so it is time to demolish it once and for all.

Below is an analysis of the wettest months in England since 1910. Contrary to Met Office spin, these were much more common in the past, though we again see the comparative dearth in the 1970s and 80s.

The wettest month of all was December 1914.




2) The report warns that climate change looks set to bring more intense heatwaves.

To which the answer is Cobblers.


England Mean daily maximum temp - Summer


3) The south of England is going to be hotter and drier throughout the year

The Met Office divides England into two regions.




According to their data, there has been no significant change in day time temperatures in the south, since 1990. There is no evidence whatsoever that temperatures will rise in coming decades.




Since 1910, annual rainfall has been notable for its volatility.

The wettest year was 1960, and the driest in 1921.

Again, there is absolutely no evidence that the south will become drier.




4) The north of England is going to be certainly milder but it is also going to be wetter in the summer and in the winter.

As with the south, temperatures show no signs of rising.




As for rainfall, apart from 2012, which was clearly an outlier, annual rainfall in recent years has not been unusual, and is within the bounds of normal variability.




5) The scenario for East Anglia envisages an average temperature 5C warmer than now. Lawns will be replaced by synthetic grass.

Downpipes will channel the limited summer rain to underground tanks. Garden centres will precondition plants to become used to drought. And shade will come from almond, peach and olive trees.

East Anglia tends to be the driest corner of the country, and climate alarmists often paint a picture of it turning into a drought ridden dustbowl.

In reality, rainfall patterns there have not changed since 1910.






Unsurprisingly the BBC give the report top billing, with David Shukman calling it a major new report.

He uncritically lists its findings, apparently under the misapprehension that it is a serious study, and concludes that what we think of as a classic British garden will look very different in the decades ahead.

I only wish I could say the same about the BBC!





The RHS report is here:



  1. 1saveenergy permalink
    April 30, 2017 7:15 pm

    There was a short (doom & gloom) report about it on gardeners question time this afternoon

  2. HotScot permalink
    April 30, 2017 7:19 pm

    We were told this rubbish 30 years ago. In the forlorn hope it would happen, I planted a nice fig tree in my garden.

    I have yet to see a ripe fig from it before our perennially short summers end.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      May 1, 2017 9:35 am

      Just another typical BBC article for the fake news sick bucket – it’s rather full.

  3. 1saveenergy permalink
    April 30, 2017 7:23 pm

    Last week I attended my local science café meeting entitled:
    “Why we should trust projections of global warming by climate models”
    by Prof Tom Anderson from the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

    The speaker started with pictures of backlit cooling towers, an emaciated cow on dried mud, flooded streets & the ubiquitous polar bear on melting ice.

    He referenced works of Fourier, Tyndall, Arrhenius, but ‘forgot’ to say the Arrhenius greenhouse theory was disproved by Robert Wood in 1909. He went on to describe the 1930s work of Guy Stewart Callendar but also ‘forgot’ to say that just before his death in 1964 Callendar realised he’d made a mistake on CO2; (sadly Callendars book was never published).

    The speaker showed some very crude graphs with distorted axis as ‘proof’ the models were correct but wouldn’t discuss the fact that observed satellite & balloon data didn’t agree.
    He refused to look at data someone had brought showing the divergence of the models from observation.
    He wouldn’t discuss the fact that similar temperature changes had occurred without CO2 (as he “wasn’t an expert in historical temperatures”)
    He wouldn’t discuss the fact that Ice Ages had occurred without a CO2 signal (as he “wasn’t an expert”).
    He wouldn’t accept the Medieval, Roman & Minoan Warm periods were hotter than present (as he “wasn’t an expert in historical temperatures”)
    Even though he’s from the National Oceanography Centre he was unable to discus hydrates, ‘acid seas’ or methane. He did mention the seas had a high heat capacity & that the balance could be affected by a rise in atmospheric temperature, but couldn’t explain how or why…. (“Not his field” !! )

    When asked about feedbacks & latent heat energy transfer being a negative feedback, he said “its all in the model & that comes out as a positive feedback”

    I‘m saddened at the lack of scientific rigour applied to these ‘models’– no hind casting, no real validation, no comparison with observations; & as the only signal looked for was CO2….the answer was CO2 !!

    When asked several times, where we could obtain the model assumptions/parameters, he failed to answer.
    When asked what the temperature would be in 2100, he suggested 4-5 C warmer than present, (so a 0.8C rise over 137yrs will suddenly accelerate to ~ 4.5C over 83yrs !!… right).

    The other great howler of the night was his belief that the current population of the earth was only 2.5 billion! & that would increase to 10 or 12 billion in the next 83 yrs.
    If he can’t check his data on a simple fact like population, it’s probable that his climate model data is also incorrect. GIGO, garbage in garbage out !
    [But as he repeated many times in his presentation he’s “not an expert” ]

    I am appalled that climate science has been reduced to this level of snake oil salesmanship & unquestioning belief; HH Lamb must be turning in his grave.

    • May 1, 2017 6:54 am

      This charlatan is only typical of those that have prevailed now for 30 years. What is far more appalling is that such mountebanks have the backing of The Royal Society and of academia at large. Many should be in prison but, even emptied of its existing populations, there would be a shortage of space in the system.

    • bea permalink
      May 1, 2017 7:55 am

      He thought the population of the earth was 2.5 billion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      And nobody immediately walked out at that poiint?

  4. John F. Hultquist permalink
    April 30, 2017 8:19 pm

    Taxpayers can hope “Gardening in a Changing Climate” is printed on acid-free paper. Otherwise, it will self-compost long before it becomes relevant — as if it ever will.

  5. TinyCO2 permalink
    April 30, 2017 8:20 pm

    The RHS had a big push on climate change in 2006. Lots of cactus and highly unsuitable plants for the UK. I’m assumng the theme for this years shows will be the Sahara and Noah’s flood.

  6. Graeme No.3 permalink
    April 30, 2017 8:47 pm

    Paul O/T but as Chris Booker refers to this blog perhaps his attention (and Phillip Bratby’s?)
    could be drawn to this method of giving potential wind farm builders second thought.

    • April 30, 2017 9:07 pm

      Graeme: I was involved in the Jane and Julian Davis case and there is ongoing noise monitoring by the residents near the Cotton Farm Wind Farm, against which I gave evidence at the public inquiry. I am aware of two other wind farms in England where the residents may do their own noise monitoring. The problem is that it is an expensive and time-consuming process for residents to successfully bring and win a noise nuisance claim against a wind farm operator. And of course the wind industry, being corrupt from top to bottom, will do anything it can to maintain its profits.

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        April 30, 2017 11:50 pm

        Thanks for your reply, but I thought that in view of the recent case in Ireland that there may be increased uneasiness among the wouldbe snouters.

  7. April 30, 2017 8:55 pm

    As a result of the RHS producing that report, I informed them that I am not renewing my membership, as I don’t want it being wasted on propaganda based on false science. I await their response, which they said I would get within 7 days.

    That means I have now saved a lot of money, having cancelled membership of the RSPB, the NT and now the RHS.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      April 30, 2017 9:47 pm

      Thanks Phillip for reminding me that I have another Freepost membership leaflet for the NT to return with a note demanding the removal of Ghosh with a conservative. I have never been a member of the RHS and won’t be anytime soon. I quit the RSPB with a letter to the president which drew a response full of lies. I was at a local show today and visited an interesting stand. If you want to give something back to nature then the Countryside Restoration Trust is worth a look. There are two words that might help you in this. Robin. Page.

      • May 1, 2017 6:07 am

        I cancelled my NT membership with a letter telling them exactly, why I was doing so and under what circumstances I would rejoin (getting rid of Ghosh for starters). A few months letter I got one of their freepost offers to join which I sent back with a note asking why they had wasted money sending me the offer in the light of my statement as to why I had cancelled my membership in the first place. I also asked them not to waste money sending me more offers until they had got rid of Ghosh.

    • May 5, 2017 2:33 pm

      My response from the RHS:

      “Dear Dr Bratby,

      Thank you for your email. As you are a valued member, we are sorry that you have felt the need to cancel your membership with us. The RHS Gardening in a Changing Climate report was developed in recognition of the compelling scientific and anecdotal evidence that climate change is having an impact on the planet, and cites evidence from peer reviewed scientific literature.

      Our focus as a charity, and the reason we developed the Gardening in a Changing Climate report, is to make gardeners aware of both the opportunities and challenges that gardening today and in the future will bring.

      We are committed to helping more people enjoy the many benefits of gardening and for them to have access to the latest information on how to garden successfully.

      Please allow us to take this opportunity to thank you for your membership, and for supporting us in our charitable work.”

      • quaesoveritas permalink
        May 5, 2017 2:43 pm

        “we are sorry that you have felt the need to cancel your membership with us”
        Quite obviously they don’t care why you cancelled your membership,
        They may hope to get more new members from “believers”.

  8. Vanessa permalink
    April 30, 2017 9:28 pm

    It is, and always has been, an excuse to steal our money. None of these idiotic stories is based on sound science. They wouldn’t know what that was if it came and hit them in the face!

  9. Annie permalink
    April 30, 2017 11:15 pm

    The RHS is producing the same sort of gardening crack-pottery as our dear Louise Gray of the Daily Telegraph did a few years back. She said we wouldn’t be able to grow roses in England because of global warming! News for Louise and co: our roses here in Victoria survived days and days of mid 40’s and drought in the lead up to the 2009 Firestorm. Luckily for us the fires stopped just short of us but even in poor Marysville oaks and other deciduous trees survived, albeit a bit knocked about.

    Our last winters in England were pretty cold and there was lots of the white stuff around and every morning I walked to get the paper there were flurries of snow (in North Yorkshire) in April and a fair chunk of May (2013).

    What strange planet are these people living on? They should start enjoying this one instead.

    BTW…we are enjoying lots of apples and pears grown at home and just finished our figs. The grapes would be good except that the wasps have found them. Our temperatures the last two years have been up to about 39C whereas we would expect the odd day to be 40C plus. Two winters ago we had it cold with sharp frost and last year winter was milder and wetter. This year there have been early cold spells and some snow up the mountains. Seasons change from year to year and that’s perfectly normal. So, global warmists/climate change bullies, get real!

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      April 30, 2017 11:48 pm

      The Australian National Rose Garden is in Adelaide where summer temperatures can reach 42-43℃ and the roses thrive. There are very rare frosts in Adelaide city but in the Hills roses are popular even though temperatures can drop below -5℃ in winter and summer temperatures are only 2-3℃ below that in the city.
      It is obvious that Louise Gray nor the RHS bother to check facts.

    • May 1, 2017 12:11 pm

      There is a rose garden on the Mall in Washington, DC and also one at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL. There are other “must see” rose gardens in NC, SC, VA, FL, LA & MS–hot and humid areas all. I still remember the “bronze” stem on the tree walk in Kew Gardens I saw in 2015 which proclaimed that buds were bursting early due to climate change.

  10. bea permalink
    May 1, 2017 8:00 am

    Did the BBC repeort the fusillade of bullets into the office building of John Christy and Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama, on “Riot for Science Day”?

    • May 1, 2017 8:19 am

      bea: I assume that is a rhetorical question that needs no answer!

      • Glyn Palmer permalink
        May 1, 2017 1:28 pm

        “AQTWTAIN” (A Question To Which The Answer Is No is the technical term, I believe.)

  11. quaesoveritas permalink
    May 1, 2017 8:50 am

    Of course, the RHS and BBC would argue that this report is based on future model projections and therefore cannot be disproved merely by using actual past data.
    I am afraid that predicting future effects of climate change is going to provide a lot of jobs for the foreseeable future.

  12. Europeanonion permalink
    May 1, 2017 9:01 am

    It was not too long ago that the BBC, for one, was taken-up with the creation of gardens for arid conditions with Diarmuid Gavin using gravel and mirrors to facilitate what they then saw as the outcome for our climate. It looks as though this move by the RHS is another case of hasty reverse engineering. Whether this particular initiative is down to ‘we should have a policy’ or whether it is part of the central initiative to give credence to someone’s aberrant notion, what we see is someone given a proposition and then extrapolating from that a possible scenario using abstract variables, to be filed along side that other useless sentiment, the mission statement. So much of Capability Brown is still in existence what will be the legacy of this fashionable trade?

    The methodology is rife especially now when so much about the actual outcome, the apparent stasis of the evolution of the climate, a climate standing at one minute to midnight that could swing any which way, is open to such interventions. The ‘what if’ in our lives is terribly susceptible to romantic language and although climate is a scientific issue the romance is a fantastic tool for grabbing attention when the facts are (as Paul shows us with every entry here) difficult to grasp, have the feeling of a lottery in a world that demands certainty.

    How anyone in Britain can view the weather with any sort of certainty is ludicrous when, as we know, we can experience all the elements here in one day on any given day. But it is essentially a triumph of the emotions ably aided and supported by the Internet. The emotional is a far more accessible estimation than dry figures and words, in the right hands, can induce fear and dread where no such possibility exists, the Bram Stoker school of darkness. Where a scientist can be held to account (eventually) the scribe proselytiser has no such account and shouting fire in the Internet theatre has no repercussions but massive influences.

    What we see in this ability to publish any contrivance so readily is the way that politics latches-on to the emotional to demonstrate its efficacy at so little cost to itself; this ethereal subject bent to whatever will and fancifulness but always with the promotion of care for the constituency. One would have thought that our continuance is in as much jeopardy from the climate as from atomic war. The proliferation of weapons, which has got out of the hands of procedure, is supplanted by some other purpose for politics to demonstrate its effectiveness and keeps so many seemingly well provided for people in the continuance of their trade in semantics. In Britain, the budget for the armed forces and protection against hostile and challenging ideologies is diminishing while the budget for climate measures is showing exponential growth. The climate is thought of tractable for some reason while safety from war is seemingly a lost cause, is beyond us.

  13. Bloke down the pub permalink
    May 1, 2017 9:29 am

    So let’s see now, the RHS pay for a scientist to research the effects of climate change on the UK’s gardens, said scientist then produces a report that says that climate change will be bad for gardens. What springs to mind is ‘she would say that, wouldn’t she?’

  14. May 1, 2017 9:58 am

    Might have found the growing season index at last. Now have to register to access the data…

    Growing degree days The day-by-day sum of the mean number of degrees by which the air temperature is more than a value of 5.5 °C (see FAQ 7 for further details).

  15. May 1, 2017 10:29 am

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    If I’d followed this advice my garden would be a Mediterranean wasteland. I went for hardy and never looked back.

  16. Ex-expat Colin permalink
    May 1, 2017 10:32 am

    Exec Summary …first bullet:
    “Green your living space. Trees and plants remove heat–
    trapping CO2 from the atmosphere, reduce the risk of flooding,
    and some species can even capture particulate pollution”.

    I’ve spent the last 15 years getting rid of trees and have some neighbours. Huge things at 60 feet high in some cases. Just imagine those things around the rabbit hutches being built today thanks to Prescott. They shade the place and look nice i suppose, the smaller versions, but the roots will dry out the surface areas big time and deny other plants of light.. Trees don’t belong in urban areas so that was a stupid thing to glibly suggest.

    I am currently suffering in UK with lack of adequate light for seedlings and using my hydroponics lamp a lot. Clouds, constant freaking clouds! And its very cold out there to boot.

  17. May 1, 2017 12:54 pm

    There is a history of Societies dismissing the work of those who are not one of their “high school clique.” The example I cite to people is of Beatrix Potter. Not only was she one of the foremost children’s authors, she was a scientist. Early on she became interested in fungi and their spore germination. Through this and her observations of lichens, she was the first one to realize they were an organism of a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and a photosynthetic algae.

    As a woman, Beatrix was not allowed to present her findings in a paper to the Linnean Society. Her 1897 paper was presented by George Masse, a Kew Gardens botanist and member of the Society. It was nearly 40 years later that the “scientific community” caught up to her work. Her success with the children’s books led her away from her scientific pursuits.

    I have been a collector of things Beatrix Potter since I began with the little figurines and books in graduate school. In August, 1988, the Pierpont Morgan Library in NYC brought her “little paintings” for an exhibit. I was able to travel there and see the marvelous little jewels for myself. Included were a number of her paintings of lichens and fungi. Her theories and conclusions were based on careful observation and experimentation. It is time the learned societies took a page from Beatrix Potter and returned to the reporting of scientific fact instead of model fantasy.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      May 2, 2017 4:19 pm

      Very interesting comment on the macho world: hopefully truly improved now?
      Experimental and observational science have been killed off by the ease of generation of theoretical papers where no real experiment is carried-out: global warming is an extreme case of “believe the computer …. it cannot be wrong, be wrong, be wrong….”

      • nigel permalink
        May 4, 2017 7:52 am

        Marie Curie was an exact contemporary of Potter and yet she received two Nobel Prizes (Physics in 1903 with husband, and Chemistry in 1911 without husband.) So, it was possible for a woman to be recognised as competent at that time – provided she had the work habits of a man, and was prepared to move around (in her case, to Paris.)

        Marie Curie said something which is still relevant today:

        “There are sadistic scientists who hurry to hunt down errors rather than establish the truth.”

  18. John Fuller permalink
    May 1, 2017 1:02 pm

    I was just wondering whether to renew my RHS membership. I’ve just decided. No.

  19. nigel permalink
    May 1, 2017 8:38 pm

    The neighbour was actually using one of those last week to dig a trench for a sewer pipe. I was not allowed by the wife to import it it, as my instructions were of a more delicate nature – namely, to find last year’s clematis plants, which were buried somewhere in the shrubbery, and save them.

  20. May 1, 2017 9:46 pm

    ‘the authors also welcome the prospect of longer growing seasons’ — dream on.

    UK weather: Swathes of Britain hit by snow – how long will April’s cold snap last?
    25 APRIL 2017 • 12:47PM
    A band of late wintry weather has brought snow flurries to parts of England as an Arctic blast moved south from Scotland.

    Towns as far south as Norwich, as well as many parts of the North of England and the Midlands, reported waking to a smattering of snow on Tuesday morning.

  21. Jack Broughton permalink
    May 3, 2017 10:23 am

    BBC radio 4 this morning interview about 50 % UK-wine crop failure due to frosts: the wine man was emphasising that they expect weather variations and live with these effects, but the beeb man had to get in that this was probably related to climate change! To his credit the wine industry man did not respond to this nonsense.

  22. Jack Broughton permalink
    May 3, 2017 1:06 pm

    After 8 am, was only a crude interjection by the reporter to try an get some brownie points!

    • quaesoveritas permalink
      May 3, 2017 4:39 pm

      I think that was Justin Webb, son of the late Peter Woods.
      I suppose that the fact that he thought that frost in April in the UK was caused by climate change, is indicative of the extent to which BBC journalists have been indoctrinated by there own propaganda.
      I thought it was interesting that in the UK and even in France they use artificial heating to keep frost at bay, adding to CO2 emissions of course.

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