Climate Change Monitoring Garden

climate change monitoring garden
climate change monitoring garden

Click here to see the current weather at the garden, as reported by its weather station.

The Climate Change Monitoring Garden at Wellesley College is one of the first pilot sites in the United States. An initiative of the Chicago Botanic Garden, this garden is designed to provide a positive and active context for understanding climate change and its impacts. It is a 16' x 16' bed planted with identical clones of seven different plant species, each represented by specimens from four different climate zones. Observations of leaf-out, bud burst and other life-cycle events are collected and compared with past years and data from the other monitoring gardens.  Currently, there are 12 garden locations (Wellesley, Washington DC, North Carolina, Iowa, four in Chicago, and four in Seattle).

Plant species being monitored:

Aster novae-angliae, New England aster, blooms August- September
Baptisia australis, blue wild false indigo, blooms May-June
Monarda fistulosa, wild bergamot or bee balm, blooms  July-September
Panicum virgatum, switchgrass, blooms  July-February
Penstemon digitalis, beardtongue, blooms  April-June
Physostegia virginiana, obedient plant, blooms  June to September
Schizachrium scoparium, little bluestem, blooms  August-February

The study of these life-cycle events is known as phenology, and valuable observations can be made by anyone with an active interest and engagement with nature.  Click here to learn about Project Budburst, a network of people across the United States who monitor plants as the seasons change. Participants have included school groups, backyard naturalists, gardeners, seniors in retirement communities, scout troops, college professors and their students, hikers, professional botanists -- anyone interested in contributing to a better understanding of plants and climate change.