There have been some winners – slugs in particular have relished the largely damp conditions – and it has been a triumphant year for orchids.
But flora and fauna, ranging from apple trees to badgers (even though the cull of the latter was postponed) have endured a rotten time.
Matthew Oates, naturalist at the National Trust, said: "This has been a highly polarised year, with wildlife doing either remarkably well or incredibly badly. In general, plants and slugs were the winners, andinsects the big losers."
The year began mildly, prompting magnolias to flower in January in some places, and snowdrops and crocuses to pop up earlier than usual.
But by spring it was all starting to go awry. The warmest March since 1910 led to some drought orders being imposed.
Then hard on the dry spell's heels came the wettest April on record, playing havoc with blossom and leading to a terrible year for all sorts of fruit.
A drizzly summer made it a tough time for insects including bees,butterflies and hoverflies.
There were a few highlights, including sightings of the supposedly extinct large tortoiseshell butterfly on the Isle of Wight, while the rare large blue butterfly laid a record number of eggs at Collard Hill in Somerset.
There was good news for picnickers who were prepared to risk the showers – there were hardly any common wasps flying around.
The damp, warmish, conditions in the summer meant grasses tended to grow quickly and lushly; not such good news for humans who dislike mowing and worse for smaller plants such as the bastard toadflax and insects such as grasshoppers which need a few bare patches to thrive.
Oates reckoned the biggest winner of 2012 was the slug. The common and garden ones thrived but there was also excitement in the press at the idea of an invasion by the giant super Spanish slug (which according to one tabloid newspaper feasts on dead rabbits).
A more glamorous victor was the orchid. There were spectacular displays of bee orchids as far afield as Norfolk and Pembrokeshire, while fly orchids did particularly well on Dunstable Downs in the Chilterns.
But Oates said it had been a "very patchy breeding year" for birds, with many nests abandoned due to bad weather and shortage of food, even in gardens. The storms and floods of November also made it tricky for birds which nest on cliffs or along riverbanks.
Water vole holes and otter holts were washed away in the torrents. Animal sanctuaries are being inundated with underfed hedgehogs, while dormice also had a poor breeding season.
Oates is hoping for a decent summer in 2013. "Our wildlife, farmers, horticulturalists and rural tourism and recreation industries are all long overdue a good summer, having suffered poor ones since 2006. Surely we are due a good one next year?"
• This was a fantastic month for orchids, especially bee orchids, with particularly spectacular displays at Blakeney on the Norfolk coast, and Stackpole Warren, in Pembrokeshire, and hundreds of fly orchids onDunstable Downs in the Chilterns.
• Despite the poor weather, large blue butterflies emerged in good numbers and laid a record number of eggs at the National Trust's Collard Hill in Somerset.
• Sandwich and little terns had spectacular breeding success at Blakeney Point, Norfolk, though terns failed to breed at Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland.
• A very wet month, with over 150% of normal rainfall widely. In parts of eastern Scotland it was one of the wettest on record.