The Garden is located in the heart of St Andrews and shares the challenges and opportunities experienced by the majority of gardeners in Scotland: as important as our rural habitats are, front and back gardens, street trees, school grounds and cemeteries all add up to play an essential role in providing niches for our wild and naturalised plants. The effects of climate change are perhaps most visible in our urban areas, which are warmer than rural areas not only during the peak growing season but earlier in the season too, meaning that a wide range of plants can grow and reproduce in our towns but not in the countryside. However, it is important to approach these challenges by seeing where there are opportunities: for example, street trees may have to survive in increasingly drought-prone conditions but they also play an increasingly important role in providing habitat, whilst green roofs in Fife are also the perfect conditions for growing alpine plants from southern Europe due to the subtle microclimate changes that result from their free-draining soils and reflected heat.
As well as the environmental importance of urban habitats, urban green spaces such as the St Andrews Botanic Garden are essential for our physical and mental health. The experiences of the Coronavirus show us just how important it is to have places where you can exercise, relax and meet others, and the Garden will always support everyone who wishes to visit, whether they are able to do so or not. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn more about how your garden can support the environment or how we can support those living in isolation for health reasons.