Abbotsbury

BOOKING OPEN: PlantNetwork Conference 2019


Climate Change and Gardens: PlantNetwork Conference 2019

8-9 May 2019 at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Dorset

Climate change can be a politically divisive subject. Irrespective of the causes of climate change, horticulturists in Britain and Ireland are undoubtedly seeing the effects of a changing climate in their gardens, arboreta and plant collections. More extreme weather events, rising global temperatures, and changing rainfall patterns are just some of the challenges facing botanic and public gardens.  The PlantNetwork Climate Change Conference provides a platform to discuss some of the challenges facing gardens – and looks at opportunities that might also emerge.

With speakers presenting across a range of different issues from invasive ornamentals and plant health to planting choices and water management, the PlantNetwork Conference will address topical issues and showcase the latest research.

Speakers include:

  • Peter Gibbs, Weather Forecaster and Chair of BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time
  • Dr Helen Hoyle, Senior Lecturer in Healthy Built Environments at the University of the West of England : “Evolution in action? Public perception of non-native planting in the designed urban landscape.”
  • Stephen Griffith, Curator of Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens: “Climate change and Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens”
  • Tomos Jones, NERC SCENARIO PhD student, University of Reading: “Ornamental plants: a threat to the environment due to climate change?”
  • Richard Baines, Curator of Logan Botanic Garden, RBGE: “Challenges of a changing environment”
  • Simon Toomer, National Specialist for Plant Conservation at the National Trust: “Using plant and tree selection in historical and designed landscapes to better adapt to climate change”
  • Dr Mark McCarthy, Science Manager of the National Climate Information Centre (NCIC) at the Met Office: “Strawberries at Christmas? Variability and change in UK Climate”
  • Julian Ives, Dragonfli Ltd: “New innovations & challenges for Biological control at garden sites”
  • Augusta Grand, Head of Policy, Eden Project: “Doing your bit in the climate crisis”
  • John Edmiston, Tropical Britain: “Plant Choices in a Changing Climate – Conservation, Environment & Horticulture”
  • Mark Broadmeadow, Principal Adviser for Climate Change with the Forestry Commission: “Resilient trees: planning for the future”
  • Lightning Talks speakers announced!

Conference booking open! Click below to register.

From 21st March till 1st May 2019, standard conference rates apply:

  • PlantNetwork members: £295
  • Non-member: £345
  • One-day (members): £150
  • One-day (non-members): £190

Booking closes on 1st May 2019.

For help identifying accommodation for the conference, have a look at the Accommodation List.

Selected Speaker Biographies

Dr Helen Hoyle

“Evolution in action? Public perception of non-native planting in the designed urban landscape.”

Helen is Senior Lecturer in Healthy Built Environments at the University of the West of England, Bristol. She has a background in Geography and Landscape Architecture and previously conducted award-winning research culminating in the delivery of the London 2012 Olympic meadows. She has since applied findings to ordinary urban spaces in Bedfordshire, working with local authority partners on an urban meadows experiment. Helen believes strongly in the need to produce urban planting design which is attractive to the public, biodiverse and adapted to a changing climate. She conducted some of her PhD research at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens (2012-14) and in summer 2018 collaborated with Matthew Pottage at RHS Wisley to gauge public reaction to the new Exotic Garden.


Stephen Griffith

“Climate change and Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens”

An experienced horticulturalist who has held the post of Curator at Abbotsbury SubTropical gardens since 1990 where he has been responsible for the restoration and development of this once neglected historic garden. Here he has amassed a considerable collection of rare and unusual plant taxa from around the world all growing in this very special woodland valley micro-climate only a short distance from the Chesil Beach. He is also gardens advisor to Melbury House, a gardening lecturer, an author, and tour leader for special interest holidays. He is a member of the Institute of Horticulture, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellow, and has been on the Royal Horticultural Society Woody plants Committee.


Tomos Jones

“Ornamental plants: a threat to the environment due to climate change?”

Tomos is a NERC SCENARIO PhD student at the University of Reading. He studied Geography at Bangor University before an MSc in Sustainability at the University of Leeds. Between his studies, he worked as a gardener at Treborth Botanic Garden in North Wales. This combination of geographical and horticultural interest led to his current PhD research on the invasion potential of ornamental plants; focusing on the role of gardeners in preventing and managing future invasions.


Richard Baines

“Challenges of a changing environment”

Richard Baines is Curator of Logan Botanic Garden, RBGE, a position he has held for 12 years.  An experienced plantsman, he has participated in many overseas plant collecting expeditions, field research and lecture tours. He has a particular interest in Rhododendrons, Magnolias and southern hemisphere exotics and is an experienced broadcaster and author in his field.


Simon Toomer

“Using plant and tree selection in historical and designed landscapes to better adapt to climate change”

Simon is the National Specialist for Plant Conservation at the National Trust. Originally trained in environmental biology and forestry, Simon Toomer has worked as a forester, land management advisor and arboriculturalist in private, local authority and charity sectors. Simon previously worked for 15 years as Curator and Director at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum. He is Chair of PlantNetwork, a member of the Plant Conservation Committee of Plant Heritage and a profession member of the Arboricultural Association.


Dr Mark McCarthy

“Strawberries at Christmas? Variability and change in UK Climate”

Dr Mark McCarthy is science manager of the National Climate Information Centre (NCIC) at the Met Office . He provides monitoring and analysis of UK climate variability and change to help UK society better understand the challenges, risks and opportunities that result from our variable and changing climate. A physicist by training, Mark joined the Met Office in 1999 and his research interests over that time have included water vapour in the upper atmosphere, the Indian monsson, the interaction between land-use and climate, urban micro-climates, and historical climatology. He provided consultation and peer-review of the climate content for the recent RHS Gardening in a Changing Climate report.


John Edmiston

‘Plant Choices in a Changing Climate – Conservation, Environment & Horticulture’

John Edmiston is a Director of Tropical Britain, an online plant
nursery that specialises in hardy exotics with a focus on the changing climate.
A self-confessed plantaholic, he built his first glasshouse at the age of
twelve and has been unable to stop growing plants ever since. John is a strong
believer in the part that both gardeners and nurseries can play in botanical
conservation.


Julian Ives

‘New innovations & challenges for Biological control at garden sites’

Julian is the founder of Dragonfli Ltd,
which specializes in the supply, application and development of biological
control products. He has spent the majority of his career working in the
Biological Control sector, spending over 10 years with the leading producer of
beneficial insects,  Koppert Biological Systems. Here he worked closely
with growers developing integrated pest management systems before moving into
management at Koppert. Julian left Koppert to work in the mail order business
developing retail forms of biological control products that gardeners could
access before forming Dragonfli in 2009. Dragonfli provide biological control
solutions for both amateur and professional gardeners in the amenity sector.


Mark Broadmeadow

‘Resilient trees: planning for the future’

Mark Broadmeadow is the Forestry Commission’s Principal Adviser for Climate Change in England, currently leading their woodland creation programme. His role covers the development of policy and its application to delivery for both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Prior to transferring to Forestry Commission England in 2006, Mark led Forest Research’s Environmental Change Research Group, covering forest monitoring and climate change adaptation/ mitigation research programmes. He is a plant physiologist by training.


The conference will include four broad sessions:

  • climate change in the UK: what do horticulturists need to know?;
  • planting choices in a changing climate;
  • building resilience in gardens; and,
  • plant issues in a changing climate: health and management.

A programme is now available.

To find out about some of the confirmed conference speakers, please see speaker biographies.